Can you Rent a Liveaboard Sailboat?

Can you Rent a Liveaboard Sailboat? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Renting a liveaboard sailboat is difficult, but you can rent a sailboat and stay aboard. In most cases, buying a liveaboard sailboat is more flexible.

Sailboat rentals aren't impossible to find. It's easy to find a sailboat to rent for multiple days and stay aboard. Renting a sailboat is the easiest way to decide if living on a boat is right for you, but renting to liveaboard may not be the best option.


Table of contents

Renting a Sailboat for Extended Periods

You probably won't find a sailboat rental company that will loan you for an extended period of time simply for the purpose of living aboard. That said, you might have some luck checking local rental listings in areas where liveaboards are common.

In some areas, where local regulations and housing codes don't prohibit the practice, you can find sailboat owners willing to rent out their sailboat and its slip. This will allow you to rent the boat as if it were a house, and do with it what you please.

Much of the time, these are handshake and word-of-mouth rental agreements. They trust you not to wreck their boat, and you trust them not to defraud you in any way. As a result, these deals can get a little dicey from time to time.

Finding a Liveaboard Rental

If you want to rent a boat to live aboard, ask around your local marina. First, find a marina that allows liveaboards. Many yacht clubs, especially in high-end areas, discourage the practice of living aboard your boat. These places will certainly discourage the practice of renting a boat to liveaboards.

What do you find an area that's friendly to people who live on boats, ask around the marina and see if anybody is interested in making a deal. Drop a contract and get it notarized if that makes you more confident in the deal.

With this sort of arrangement, you can get a year or so of real-life sailboat-living experience, and you can see it's a lifestyle that you can handle. You may have to work out a special deal if you want to take the boat out on the water, as insurance can make things complicated. 

How Long Can You Rent a Sailboat?

So, how long can you rent a sailboat? Technically speaking, as long as you want. But sailboat rental is expensive, and most people only rent sailboats for a couple of days or up to a week. As a result, most sailboat rental companies are only prepared to rent you a boat for about that long.

If you rent from a private party, it's a lot easier and more affordable to rent long-term. You can expect to pay around $1000 a month or less, depending on the area and the size and quality of the boat. Don't forget to take into account the cost of utilities, slip fees, and other expenses that are unique to sailing.

Cost to Rent a Sailboat

The cost to rent a sailboat from a rental company varies widely. This type of renting can be exorbitantly expensive due to high overhead costs, which include insurance, maintenance, and other expenses that are unique to sailboats.

Let's use a 30-foot sailboat as a benchmark. Most liveaboard sailboats are about this size, and so are most cruising boats that companies rent to the public. In most places, renting a boat the size will cost you about $100 per hour. That's per hour, not per day.

You may be able to find more inexpensive rates in some areas, but for the most part, renting a large and livable sailboat is going to cost you. If you split the price between family members or friends, you can greatly reduce the financial burden of renting a large boat. If it's too expensive, consider making it a group outing.

Renting a boat for a private party for a long-term living is likely to cost about the same as a decent studio apartment in the area. This also varies based on location, as areas such as San Francisco have limited space and few liveaboard-friendly marinas.

Short-Term Sailboat Rental

Short term sailboat rental is a viable way to give the sailing life a go without too much investment upfront. Most major coastal cities have sailboat rental companies that also run out of things like jet skis, powerboats, and other nautical equipment.

Small Sailboat Rental

These companies rent out many different kinds of sailboats, so it's a lot easier to find small day-sailers than large vessels. If you're stuck with a smaller boat, make use of the cabin as best you can. See how you sleep when the boat is pitching and rolling around, and try to make the most out of the limited space.

If you feel at home in the cabin of a smaller sailboat, you should have no trouble adapting to a more suitable liveaboard vessel. Small sailboats are also great fun out on the water, so you can get in some sailing experience at the same time and find a nice, pleasant anchorage to spend the night.

Large Sailboat Rental

Renting a sailboat is a lot like renting an RV. The bigger you go, the costlier it gets. This is why renting a sailboat from a rental company is not ideal for long-term living. Yet in most places, a boat rental company will happily rent you a larger sailboat, provided you have enough experience to operate it safely.

Renting a large sailboat is an excellent way to get the feel of life on the boat without relying on somebody who already owns one. It's yours for the time you rent it, and you can live aboard for a few nights and move about as you please. You can also go on extended journeys and cruises and practice storing provisions.

Benefits of Renting a Liveaboard Sailboat

What are the benefits of renting a sailboat to live on? The first and most obvious benefit of renting a sailboat is the initial cost. It is much cheaper to rent a sailboat from an owner than to buy one, assuming you only intend to use it for a limited time.

Renting a sailboat is also an excellent way to get the firsthand experience you need to decide if you actually want to live on one. There are numerous challenges to living aboard a sailboat, and you really aren't going to know how they are until you live them.

The financial benefits of renting a sailboat extend beyond the purchase cost. In most cases, it's the owner who has to haul the boat out of the water, scrape the bottom, paint it, repair broken fiberglass, and do all the other tedious maintenance tasks that are necessary to keep a sailboat afloat. You'll be responsible for cleaning, but in most cases, that's about it.

The benefits of renting a sailboat level out and begin to decline if you decide to live aboard full-time. In the grand scheme of things, purchasing a liveaboard sailboat is surprisingly affordable.

Suitable vessels sometimes cost less than $10,000, and almost always cost less than the price of the new car. Over time, you'll save more money by purchasing your own sailboat than by renting it. 

Where to Find Liveaboard Sailboat Rentals

As we mentioned previously, it is both economical and entirely possible to find a sailboat owner who is willing to rent his boat for use as a liveaboard. The challenging part of the process is finding the right landlord, so to speak.

There are a few ways to go about finding a boat for rent. The simplest method is to find a liveaboard-friendly marina and simply ask around. There's bound to be someone with a sailboat who wouldn't mind renting it out to a responsible tenant.

If you'd rather not show up in person, you can check the classified ads. Craigslist is an excellent place to find sailboat owners who are looking for tenants. You may also find a boat sharing agreement in which the owner of a sailboat leases it out to one or more parties for use on certain days or during certain times of the year.

Boat sharing agreements have drawbacks, but they're fairly common, and most people get along fine. But if you're just looking for a simple rental agreement, it's best to find a boat owner who has the same idea in mind. Don't be afraid to contact sailboat owners to pitch your idea.

Can you Rent a Liveaboard Sailboat?
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

Read more articles

by this author

Home /

Can you Rent a Liveaboard Sailboat?

Can you Rent a Liveaboard Sailboat?
7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat >>Can You Live On A Sailboat Year Round? >>

Most Recent

Important Legal Info

Similar Posts

Popular Posts

Get The Best Sailing Content

Welcome aboard! Check your email...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

(866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing
Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244
DisclaimerPrivacy Policy