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Living on board a boat may come across as a simple way of living (and it can be!) but there’s more to it than just buying any boat and berthing it somewhere. In order to enjoy the freedoms and unique lifestyle that come with living on a boat, there’s a few things you need to consider before you get onboard.

If you're thinking about swapping the land for sea, we've put together a list of useful tips (with the help of some of our liveaboards) for living on the water…

Tip #1. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

The first step is finding the perfect boat for you, you don’t necessarily need to know a specific model straight away but it would be useful to know what size and style of vessel you’re looking for. Don’t forget that marinas tend to charge on length, so you’ll need to factor your berthing fees into the equation.

Talking about fees, it's good to plan all potential costs incurred with living on a boat, this can include the cost of the boat itself, boat insurance, berthing fees, boat maintenance, lifting costs, electricity and council tax.

If you’re downsizing from a house or flat, the reduction in space may turn out to be more of an obstacle than first realised, especially if you’re planning on living with others. It’s better to be realistic with how much space and storage you'll need when choosing the right size boat, so you won’t end up sharing your bed with kitchen utensils and half your wardrobe.

Tip #2. Don’t learn safety by accident

When living on a boat it’s imperative that safety takes the front seat (lifejackets are a must!). Even if you’re a complete novice to the world of boating, a good start would be to learn the basic boating knots like a bowline, clove hitch and cleat hitch.

In order to keep yourself and others safe you should install a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and a gas detector if possible (remember to turn off gas bottles when they’re not in use). Be sure to keep an eye on your boat’s basic functions such as the battery as well as the bilge levels.

Although you’re surrounded by water, fire safety is just as important, you should have fire extinguishers and make sure you check them frequently!

We also suggest keeping a basic toolbox, torch and first aid kit on board as you’ll never know when they might come in handy.

If you feel something isn’t quite right with your boat, it’s always best to speak with a professional. At Milford Marina we have a variety of on-site marine services, perfect for all your boat maintenance needs.

For more information on safety, you can find helpful advice and guidance on the RYA website.

Tip #3. Your home should be a living space, not a storage space

During the warmer months, having a small space may not even cross your mind as you'll most likely spend most of your time outdoors (boats can get pretty hot), but you could have a shock during the winter season, as suddenly it feels like your living area has shrunk in half as you spend more time below deck.

It’s best to thin out your belongings before you move and if you can't part with some items that won’t fit on board, you can always rent out a storage unit. By keeping clothes in airtight bags, you can help maximise your storage space and minimise dampness but make sure your laundry is completely dry before you do so! If you’ve already used up all the built-in storage on your boat, storage boxes/bins and pockets are perfect for storing and organising produce, clothing and other small items.

If you’re struggling to fit some of your essential electric appliances on board, why not invest in miniature versions such as a hand-held hoover or a mini kettle, this will help reduce space and you can still make yourself a cuppa!

Tip #4. Putting a damper on things

Did you know that mildew and damp’s favourite season is winter? Poor ventilation during the colder months can cause mould, mildew, damp and ALL the smells that come with it. Although avoiding damp completely is near enough impossible, what you can do is help keep it under control.

To slow down the damp and mildew, having a dehumidifier (or multiple) on board can work wonders, as well as opening your hatches to keep the air circulating throughout the cabin, even if it’s for a few hours a day! Using mould and mildew cleaners and storing items in sealed bags can also help keep the mildew at bay. By keeping your items away from the boats hull, it helps the moisture evaporate rather than soaking all your goods and belongings.

Tip #5. Feeling hot, hot, hot!

As the weather associated with the winter season is often not so nice, we recommend investing in a suitable heater to avoid you having to sleep in a hat, gloves and most of your clothing just to keep yourself warm.

It's better to have a heater with a built-in fan as this will help circulate the heat around the cabin and having more than one heater means you can rotate to prevent the risk of it overheating!

The most popular heaters that liveaboards tend to use are either powered by electric or diesel. The electric heater tends to emit a good amount of heat but you'll need to take the cost of running one into account as they can use a lot of electricity, so your electric bill may come as a shock. Another type of heater which is common is the diesel heater, they're cheaper to run than electric but be sure to keep an eye on your diesel levels.


We hope you find these liveaboard tips helpful but please note this list is not exhaustive, check out our liveaboard checklist and FAQs for more information.

With over 40 liveaboards residing at Milford Marina, the marina has become a vibrant, close-knit community for all berth holders. At Milford Marina we take your safety and security seriously, so you can rest assured that you’ll be covered by CCTV, gated access to the pontoons, and the Marina Team keeping a watchful eye over your boat 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our marina provides you with fantastic amenities and facilities whilst staying on board, including clean toilets and showers (including disabled facilities), waste disposal, laundry facilities, 24hr lock schedule and fuelling, complimentary Wi-Fi, electric hook-up, water and more! At Milford Marina we strive to make your time with us as effortless and enjoyable as we can.

For more information on liveaboard berthing, please use our easy Quote Calculator to receive a no obligation quote instantly or give us a call on 01646 696312 and a member of the team will be happy to help!

*Please note there is currently a waiting list for berths in operation.

Nikki, Zeetone

I‘m lucky enough to live at the 4 Gold Anchor awarded Milford Marina, located in the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire. Around the marina itself, there are plenty of restaurants and clothing shops that cover a fantastic range that I often indulge in! There is a lovely family atmosphere here at the marina and the Marina Staff are always very friendly and helpful. As a liveaboard, here are a few tips I follow to help with living on the water… You’ll need to vent your vessel to help reduce condensation getting into electrics and other delicate items, I always have my middle hatch locked on first lock to help fresh air circulate throughout and to protect my interior woodwork, I use beeswax polish. General maintenance is always a good feeling for me, as I think if I look after my yacht, she will look after me. To help keep away musty odours out of bedding and clothing, I find that putting a tumble dryer sheet in with my items keep them smelling fresh for longer. It’s important not to have too much clutter on board! I'm getting better at this, but I've still got quite a way to go, to help the process I pick a cupboard each week and throw away anything I don’t need. Safety on board a vessel is very much like a house. I have all the alarms mentioned above, a fire blanket by my cooker and a fire extinguisher in my fore cabin and saloon. My lifejacket is always by the hatch ready to be worn each time I leave my yacht to walk along the pontoons and for anytime I’m out sailing. Do I love being a live aboard? YES!!! Would I recommend it? YES!!!

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