Cost To Sail Around The World

Cost To Sail Around The World | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

May 16, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Expect to pay around $10,000 or more per person to sail around the world modestly
  • The monthly average will vary based on many factors including food and maintenance
  • A boat purchase is the biggest of upfront costs for preparing for circumnavigation
  • Excursion costs can add up quickly when exploring the land in various locations
  • You should circumnavigate with a bigger boat around 35 feet or more

Many sailors dream of sailing around the world and seeing everything in between. But what is the cost to sail around the world?

The cost to sail around the world can range between $10,000 and $100,000 or more. You can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500 a month on average in expenses in addition to the cost of your boat. Prices also vary quite a bit depending on how many people are on board.

Through a detailed analysis, the cost  to sail around the world can be cut significantly if you sail in less popular areas or choose alternative methods to get there. The amount of people on board and size of your boat will also play a huge role.


Table of contents

The True Cost of Sailing Around the World

If you have the time and resources to sail around the world you might be surprised at the true cost. Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is going to be different and having a boat that can handle the voyage will be key.

The United States is one of the most expensive countries to sail but others may come close depending on where you visit. Monthly expenses can be toggled based on how many resources you typically use or how many people are involved.

Average Cost for Circumnavigation

You can expect to pay between $25,000 to $75,000 to circumnavigate. This does not include food or any other expenses. Monthly costs can vary if you are able to conserve resources and never leave your boat.

Cost of Sailboat

This is going to be the biggest cost of all when planning to sail around the world. A quality sailboat meant for circumnavigation can range up to $50,000 or more. Others have been able to sail on much less expensive boats but that is completely up to you.

You could also spend money refitting an older boat which could cost up to $20,000. If you do not have the money outright to buy one with cash you are likely going to need a boat loan and pay monthly payments.


Food costs can range up to $500 a month or potentially less depending on how many people you have on board. Different regions you visit will have fluctuations in prices so this cost can dramatically go up or down.

Eating out will also cause the price to go up in spending. Be sure to bring fishing gear so that you can eat along the way.

Maintenance Costs

Boat maintenance is something you should do routinely regardless of traveling around the world or not. Maintenance costs will likely eat up parts of your budget up to $700 a month. Buying spare parts will also take up room and some of the budget for this.

A good rule of thumb is to account for 15% of your boat’s value and use that number for boat maintenance. If you have a newer boat then your boat maintenance will likely be a lot less. Just remember to plan the best you can in advance and do the maintenance by hand if you can without hiring the need for a professional (unless it requires it).

Internet and Phone

If you are wanting mobile internet and calling solutions you are likely going to spend around $100 a month. This is assuming you are using a cost effective mobile phone or satellite phone.

If you are attempting to install a long range radio it can cost you around $6,000. While these costs vary it it important to have some way of communication in the event of emergencies and with navigation.

Boat Insurance and Health Insurance

Some boaters opt to not have boat insurance to save money. Whether or not you believe that is a good idea is up to you and your budget goals.

You can expect to pay up to $200 a month for insurance on your boat especially since you will be navigating around the world and premiums might rise. As for health insurance the same idea applies to saving money. You can expect to pay around the same amount but it matters on how many people you have on your plan.

Fuel Costs

The cost of fueling your boat could significantly vary over or under $100 depending on how much fuel you use and the current prices upon refueling. If you are able to rely on wind most of the time then you should be able to save money here.

Administration Costs

If you plan to stop often along the way in places such as the Panama Canal or Ecuador then you will have to pay fees just to enter. Going through the Panama Canal for example will cost up to $800 for boats that are less than 50 feet.

Docking and Mooring Fees

Docking and mooring fees will vary quite a bit also compared to other variables you have read so far. On average you can expect to pay around $200 a month in this category.

That is a lowball figure since you are likely going to find places that you can anchor or moor for the night. If you have to stay at marinas along the way this will greatly increase the price. Different countries will also vary greatly in price.

Exploring at Stops

You can ultimately spend a ton of money or as little as you want in popular sailing locations around the world. Most people that want to sail around the world typically want to visit places on land that are known tourist attractions. You could spend $200 or more a month easily if you plan to travel a bit on land or eat out before heading back to your boat.

How to Sail Around the World with Little Expenses

If you do not have the money or the proper boat to sail around the world then you could look for alternative ways to make it happen. You also do not have to have a lot of sailing experience in order to complete the journey but having some is recommended. In some cases you can sail around the world for nearly free.

Solar Panels

Having enough solar panels can help give you power to the battery and other parts of your boat. This means you do not have to stop as much to charge or power your devices.

Volunteer Your Time

If you have valuable sailing experience you could look to join a crew that is planning to sail around the world or close to it. The fact that you are volunteering labor could help your case if they offer you free food and travel. You could also join a friend that has a boat or someone you know that wants to sail around the world and make the experience easier.

Split Costs with Friends

While the costs of sailing around the world could be high it can help if you split costs with others. You will likely need anywhere between $10,000 to $15,000 per person as a good rule of thumb.

Work for a Ship

A lot of research ships or companies need various workers to keep a ship running smooth. These could be a cook or a deckhand and you might even be paid a decent salary to travel the world.

Pay to Join a Crew

Some crews might be looking for an extra hand and need someone to help split the costs of sailing. The costs over the long haul could become expensive but it is considerably cheaper than buying a boat to handle the job.

These cruising fees associated with joining a crew could range up to $70 a day. Make sure you are not paying too much more than that because you are likely getting scammed or giving the crew a profit.

Cost To Sail Around The World
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.

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