Jan 16, 2010

How To Make Money While Cruising


Making money online is without a doubt the way to go when it comes to cruising. You can make money virtually anywhere, and often times in a location where the US dollar goes a lot further than the local currency.

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Original Post:

While we "cruised" or "lived aboard" we held numerous jobs. Looking back I don’t feel that the "adventure" was put on hold during these stops.

We met people that we will never forget. I instantly think of my job bar tending at the Crescent Yacht Club in New York. Doreen was the other bar tender at the club, and she will live forever in my memory standing at the back door to the bar, smoking a cigarette yelling in "Chad, poor me a shot of Sambucca!” Doreen had a great sense of humor, but she wouldn't take shit from anybody.

Ford Sellers was like a big brother during the summer we spent in NY. I’m sure he was the only reason I got the job bar tending in the first place. It was great walking home with him after the bar closed (we kept our boat at the dock behind his house). Frodo taught me life lessons like “if you’re been drinking always eat a piece of toast, and drink a big glass of water before you go to bed.”

Sure, there were bad days. But the friends made it worth it. My favorite cure for a bad day was to hang out with Kathy. I could always count on her for a Molson, chips and salsa, and being in a good mood by the time we left her place.

Our next "stop" from cruising was in Charleston, South Carolina. I cannot express how much I miss that city, or the friends we made there. I enjoyed living there so much I was tempted to stay for an additional year.

Because of the connections I made with sailors in Charleston, I landed a job as a paid first mate on a Trans-Atlantic boat delivery. I sailed across the ocean and came back with almost $1,000 dollars in my pocket for doing it. Not to mention the connections I made with the delivery captain, and the sailing business that organized the delivery. I was offered a job as an instructor at Charleston's Ocean Sailing Acadamy. I reluctantly let the opportunity pass me by as I was working at LongerDays.com.


  1. I've always thought a bikini waxer would be a good job to have in the islands. I enjoy the sun, I have great close up vision, steady hands and I've always enjoyed "landscaping."

  2. Just found your blog today, and I'm curious as to where in Michigan you're from! My husband and I are both from there too. We're currently living aboard our 35' Ericson and are hoping to go cruising sooner than later...we just have to sort out the finances! Luckily we're on our way - I am an indexer and currently work from home part time on my business...now I just have to make it more than part time!

    Our blog is at : http://aboardmadrigal.blogspot.com if you're interested :)

  3. Glad to see you're still posting :)

  4. Another suggestion, go to a farmer's market, get to know the coolest farmers, buy vegetables wholesale, and sell via dinghy in a crowded marina, mooring field, or anchoring.

    Check our our blog at:

  5. A lot of people when asking this question are thinking more in terms of what can be done from or in their boat; crafts,sail/canvas,bottom cleaning,mechanical. I'm one of these, do you think someone could make cruising money(not get rich), by doing odd jobs for the more affluent cruisers.

  6. It is certainly possible Charles, though... I would NOT count on it. We met people who made money here and there, as did we, but I think it would be difficult to make a reliable source of income from other cruisers.

    I think the best option is to sail to paradise, and find a job there. It's part of the adventure!

  7. If you had to guess, how much would it cost annually for a couple to cruise on a modest sailboat (under 30ft)in the carribean. I'm talking not using expensive marinas and such but just living a minimalist cruising lifestyle?

  8. $12,000. That might sound like a lot, but really, it isn't.

    A lot of that cost can be put off, but sailing a boat causes it to break, and it has to be fixed.

    People say "the wind is free." Which is true, but the sails, lines, winches, and everything else required to take a boat to a remote location is not free. You also have to eat. So I say, expect to spend about $1,000 a month. Some months you may spend very little, and others you may spend a lot.

    Living on a boat can be less expensive than living on land, so saving up that $12,000 can be a lot easier. Or sail for 6 months, then stop somewhere and work form 12 months. Cruising for 6 months sounds short, but you can fit a lot of life into a half a year when you are living each day to the fullest.

  9. For minimalist lifestyle, check out this very cool video: http://vimeo.com/15351476

    They act poor... but if you want closely you will see some really nice gear here and there on the boat. I can only assume that they either worked and used the money to buy some nice stuff, "found" it, or someone has a rich dad.

  10. you can make money doing wiring, canvas work--a good one, but in general people work and save and then try to live cheap and fun lifesytle.

  11. I think you could live cheaper than that if you started with a nice reliable boat, well stocked with spare parts.

  12. Totally agree Conrad!

    All things being equal, I think you could assume the cost is going to be the same, it's just a matter of when you are going to spend the money.

    The need for spare parts really depends on where you are heading to. Check out this post: http://www.hobosailor.com/2013/03/20-things-every-cruising-boat-needs.html

  13. Hey Chad,
    I'm 17 at the moment and since I was very young,I've dreamed of sailing the ocean but never living on a boat until now...sorta the same thing you and LeeAnn are doing now. I'm graduating this year and actually saving for a decent and livable boat for me to buy in a few years. I know the basics of sailing and have been a few times in my life. Any tips financially that would help me out?