Life Aboard


Financing a boat is a big decision. If you’ve used the boat payment calculator and have some more questions, here are a few things worth considering.

What Factors Affect My Rate?

Our boat payment calculator takes into account the interest rate, loan amount, and loan term you provide to calculate your estimated monthly cost. However, the rate and term you are offered will ultimately be determined based on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and other financial factors. You should obtain a quote from several boat loan lenders to get an idea of the loan rates you’re eligible for.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Get a Boat Loan?

Boat loans may be available to borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 to 550 but you will pay a higher interest rate. Boat loans with the most affordable terms usually go to borrowers with applicants who have good to excellent credit—generally, scores of around 690 or higher.

How Long Will My Repayment Term Be?

Boat loan terms vary by lender and are determined by the amount you borrow, your desired monthly payment, and your creditworthiness. It is possible to finance costly boats with loans that are repaid over terms as long as 20 years. However, with interest rates being equal, the longer your loan term, the more interest you’ll pay and the higher your total costs will be.

Is a Boat Loan Similar to a Mortgage?

If you are financing a very large boat that could double as a residence, such as a yacht, local laws may mandate your boat is registered with the Coast Guard or with other federal marine authorities. In these cases, a formal boat mortgage may be required.

However, most people using our boat loan calculator won’t need this type of loan. Instead, most borrowers will take out an installment loan. While mortgages are also a type of installment loan, boat loans require much less paperwork and are treated more like a standard personal loan or auto loan.

Does Your Boat Loan Calculator Pre-Approve Me for a Loan?

Our boat financing calculator is for informational purposes only, so entering your desired loan information won’t pre-approve you for a loan. However, you can either get pre-approved or submit a full application to the lenders shown above after entering a few additional pieces of info.

How Long Will It Take to Get My Loan?

The length of time it takes to get approved for a boat loan will vary by lender. Some lenders provide decisions within minutes and funding within a few business days. But it is common to wait for two to four days for a decision, and it can take an additional week or longer to get your funds after approval, depending on the lender.


Calculate your boat loan payments here: Boat Loan Calculator

Copper Sink on a Boat

When you think of a boats head, the sink probably doesn’t stand out as a key accent piece. That’s because they are usually made out of some cheap plastic or something that is hidden out of the way where it won’t be noticed. Popular materials for boat sinks are plastic or stainless steel; not because these are exceptionally stunning materials, but simply because they last a long time in the harsh marine environment.

When we refit our head, we decided to take our sink in a different direction:

Copper sink! Pretty!! But will it last? Copper is rarely used on a boat in favor of bronze because copper will corrode away in no time flat! Copper, when exposed to the marine environment will turn into green dust and blow away with the wind. Putting it in a marine head where it is constantly exposed to shower water, waves that come through the hatch, and the dampness of a shower in high latitudes sounds like a death sentence.

We chose to rise to this challenge and see if it could be done! Why? Because copper sinks are pretty! I know that is a dumb reason to try something out, but being a vessel sink, we could always remove it if it died on us and replace it with anything else! This meant that if the test was a failure, we would simply have to buy a new sink; but if the test was a success, we would have a beautiful accent piece in our head!

Challenge accepted! We purchased this sink on Amazon and it arrived ridiculously quickly. We the got it installed in the new head and everything was ready to roll. Let the test begin; slowly.

The sink has now lived in the boat for 5 months and is still looking fine. We have yet to develop any signs of corrosion in the form of green powder, even though we have taken many a wave over the deck with the hatch in the head open. Salt water has been pouring over the copper sink and it has managed not to tarnish!

How? Well, to call this a copper sink would be the same as calling a house “wooden”. The sink is made of copper, but the outer surface is not copper. The outer surface is covered with coatings that isolate the copper from the world around it. This means that if moist air were to rest on the outside of the sink, nothing would happen.

Naturally, over time, these coatings will wear down and the sink will start to pour out green dust of decay, but that is only if we do absolutely nothing to the sink! Metal polish with protective waxes in them will help keep the copper bright while also protecting it from the harsh marine environment.

Our sink has been in use for a while so far and is working very nicely, regret is the last feeling in my heart when I give someone a tour of the boat and show them the head!

The Costs of Cruising

When people wonder about the costs of going cruising, they often limit their thoughts to just the monetary costs of cruising. How much will it cost to…? Everything is focused on money, the cost of buying a boat, the cost of maintaining a boat, the cost of fuel, the cost of food, the cost of everything! Forget about the costs.

Everyday you live costs money! You don’t think about “can I afford to live the way that I do?” Instead you simply live based on how much money you have, and the same will happen when you are cruising. If you can afford it, you will do it, if you can’t afford it, you won’t do it. It’s that simple!

The real costs that are overlooked are the emotional costs. These really hit me recently and were rather expensive.

When we set off to go cruising, I said goodbye to the world that I knew. Never again would any of this be the same. When I returned from cruising, the world will be different and the place that I departed from will no longer exist. This might sound dramatic but it is the truth.

Friends that you had as neighbors will move away or die, so where you once lived will not be the same upon your return. Family will get older, cousins will grow up, and everything will change.

I thought this was a preposterous concept when I was leaving. Nothing ever changes in my world. I have had the same neighbors for 5 years, my friends live their lives of routine, and my parents are very resistant to change.

In the short time that we have been gone, our old neighbor sold their boat and moved from Maryland to South Carolina. Our other neighbor went cruising, returned from cruising, and is selling their boat to move onto land somewhere. My parents sold their boat that they used every weekend because they thought they wanted to upgrade to a larger boat, only to realize that they really loved their boat and selling it was a mistake. I now have a nephew who is able to walk around (he didn’t even exist when we set off to go cruising). The area around my parents town is almost double in size, with new stores, shopping centers, and streets that make the place look completely different. Lastly, but most importantly, Sammy is no longer around. My pet bird that was attached to me for the past decade is no longer waiting for me to come home. Being how birds are famous for living forever, I figured that I would just leave her in the good care of my parents (they also have pet birds, so they know what they are doing) and go cruising for a few years. I just reached the Portuguese coast and have the entire Mediterranean to sail, but I was already making plans to pick her up as soon as we made it into Floridian waters. Sammy loved boat life because I never had to go to work which meant she never had to be away from me. I knew she would have loved the Florida Keys with their warm weather and fresh fruits! All that is a pipe dream now.

People often said that we would just slip out of the world, cruise around, and then slip back into the world where we left off without anything being different. Nothing ever changes while you are here so nothing will change while you are not here.

I feel like I have returned to an alternate dimension. One that looks similar to where I left from but is just off enough to make me question the very validity of its location in space.

Cruising is a wonderful life experience, it will open your eyes to the whole world that is just beyond your comfort zone. You will be the outsider everywhere you go with stories to tell of your travels across the seas and of distant lands, but those distant lands will be your home when you make your return. When you set off cruising, be prepared to say goodbye to everything because you may never see it again.


Sammy was so much more than a bird, she was a part of me.


I have had Sammy since she hatched in 2006, and she was rarely in a cage. When I was in undergraduate, she would frequently sneak into class with me. In dental school, she would spend many a lecture hidden under my shirt.


She lived inside my shirt and would remain there quietly without making a peep! This means that I could easily take her places where pets are not allowed. All I had to do was tell her to “go in my shirt” and she would dive down my collar! This worked out great because now she had a wonderful vantage point of the world around here without actually being exposed to any harm. Nothing could swoop down and steal her off my shoulder and a loud noise wouldn’t make her jump off of me. She was safe and content and spent most of her life right there.


This worked out great while I was a student and still a dirt dweller. When I graduated in 2012 from dental school, I had big plans to live aboard a sailboat and sail the world! Obviously, Sammy was part of the plan. Sammy adapted well to boat life because she didn’t care where I was, as long as she was on me. She did have herself a small cage inside where she would eat and where she would ride out bad weather (I didn’t want her getting blown overboard).


In all her years, the only time she fell in the water was when a kid jumped really hard on an aluminum section of the pier at a marina. Sammy was in my shoulder and about to go into my shirt when the loud bang scared her to flight (but she couldn’t fly) and she fell into the water right at the waters edge. I quickly scooped her up and all was well. In all her years, that was the only time she fell in the water; that is a pretty good track record!

Living aboard in a marina really isn’t all that different from living in a small apartment; the only difference is the view is much better! The big change came when Maddie and I decided to go cruising (oh yes, Sammy was around long before I met my wife). We set out and cruised down the Chesapeake Bay with our pets still aboard. When we got to the mouth of the bay, Sammy now 11 years old, went to live with my parents. Maddie and I decided that it would be safer for our pets (Morty and Sammy) if they lived with our parents instead of on an ocean going sailboat. My parents drove down to Deltaville, VA to pick up Sammy, beginning her life on shore once again.

Sammy enjoyed being at my parents house, and she got plenty of time out of her cage on their shoulders, but this phase of her life was short lived.

Sammy died on the June 8th, 2019. I was in the Azores at the time. I would fly home for a month at a time every few months and spend the majority of that time with Sammy who I missed so much. I had just flown back to the Azores to sail to mainland Portugal a few days before. We were getting the boat ready to sail to Portugal and return again in August to see Sammy again.

The voyage started off as a wonderful time with Sammy, who had always been a literal part of me. She was either on my shoulder or in my shirt for over a decade! Then we made the decision to leave them in the care and safety of my parents, but this was such a hard thing to do. I cried so much when my parents picked her up because I felt like if I was saying goodbye. Sammy always slept right next to me in her little bed, right by my bed. At night, the last thing I did before getting in bed was put her in hers; the first thing I did when I got up in the morning was get her out of her bed. To make the conscious decision to become separated from her was grueling!

I still remember coming home to visit the first time. Sammy was so excited to see me that she fell off her perch! As soon as I was home, the old routine was restored and she spent every moment attached to me. We visited as often as we could and for as long as we could, mainly because we missed our pets, but also to see our family.

I felt so sad when I left this last time because I wanted to spend more time with her. I told her that I was leaving again and that I would be back in about two months. As I arrived in the Azores, Wisdom was still on the hard and we were finished with our refit. We were splashing and setting sail to Portugal so that we could fly home for a family reunion in August. When my parents called, I was destroyed.

Suddenly, the dream of sailing across the ocean merely became a delivery to get me to the airport in Portugal so that I could fly home. A part of me had died and sadness poured into the necrotic hole in my soul.

Sammy loved strawberries. She would go berserk at the sight of the red fruit! She would always take a huge bite out of the fruit and mash it up with her beak, only eating a small portion of the original bite, then fling the red mash everywhere to clean her beak before the next bite. If you didn’t know, strawberry mash will stain everything it lands on, so I was always very cautious with how big of a bite she would take and promptly wipe her beak clean before she would shake her head with expert flinging motion.

Her love of strawberries didn’t just reach the fruit itself, she loved anything with strawberries in it! Strawberry ice cream, strawberry yogurt, even dried strawberries in cereal!

Since she loved strawberries so much, I decided to bury her in a planter with strawberry plants, wrapped up in one of my shirts. I might have not been there with her at the end, but she always loved being in the collar of my shirt, and while I wasn’t there with her at the end in person, this way a part of me will always be holding onto her forever. I figure that with time, a bit of her might end up in the strawberries, and that other birds might be able to take a bit of her with them. It really is a dumb idea, but it makes me feel better to think that she can still have her strawberries, even if it means her becoming strawberries!

And why the planter? Well, being how we live on a boat that is currently in Portugal, and being how I don’t want to leave her behind, I figured a planter was the best choice. Eventually, we will sail back into the Chesapeake Bay and our journey will come to an end. We plan to become dirt dwellers once more and have a home on land. If I were to bury Sammy somewhere in the Earth, that would be where she would remain. Somewhere far from where I am, and never somewhere I am going to be; so I decided to bury Sammy in a planter that way when we come back and settle down somewhere, Sammy can come along and be with me once again.

How to Be Ready When Faced with an Emergency Home Repair

Emergency home repairs come for every homeowner. It may be a failed water heater, a crack in your foundation, or a sinking roof, but whatever it is, you will eventually need to fork out the money for costly fixes. Though unexpected repairs never come at a good time, doing a little preparation can keep your stress levels down when the day does come. If you’re a homeowner, these tips can help you plan for the major repairs you will need to pay for.

Build your savings

The ideal financial situation is to be able to pay for major home repairs on the spot. That way, you’re not piling up debt through high-interest credit card payments. The best way to achieve this is by starting an emergency repair fund, or building your fund up if you already have one. 

A good starting point is to set aside at least one percent of your home’s value for repairs every year. For example, if your home is valued at $500,000, you should save at least $5,000 in your repair fund each year. Some experts suggest building an emergency fund until you can cover three to eight months of monthly expenses. However, since you can always count on big-ticket components of your home (e.g., foundation, roof, siding, sewer line) eventually needing to be fixed or replaced, planning to contribute to your fund indefinitely may keep you in the best financial position. 

Use your home equity 

Sometimes, an emergency repair is needed before someone has their fund built up enough to cover the cost. If this happens to you, consider using your home equity to access the cash you need. For relatively low out-of-pocket costs, look to a cash-out refinance to pay for home improvements or repairs. How much equity you have in your home will determine whether you need a conventional or FHA cash-out, so do your homework to learn more about your options. Cash out refinancing will not only supply the money you need for repairs, it can even result in better terms than your current loan. 

Explore personal loans 

Another option for paying for emergency repairs is to take out a personal or home improvement loan. There are many loans available that begin with an interest rate below 5 percent. While it’s not ideal, it’s still much cheaper than swiping your credit card. Search online for the various home improvement and personal loans and compare so that you can choose the best one for your situation. For many loans, you can easily apply online. 

Be picky with your contractors

Lastly, the contractor you pick for each home improvement or repair can make a significant difference in how much you pay. Choosing a qualified contractor that fits within your budget is the best way to go. It’s important to remember that just because a contractor charges higher fees doesn’t mean they do the best work. On the other side of the coin, if you hire a contractor because they charge the least, you could end up with more to fix than you started with. For example, there’s a reason mold removal costs most homeowners an average of $2,000 - $6,000; if you suddenly find your basement covered in fungus or discover growths in your HVAC system, a true pro will not only do heavy cleaning, but likely drywall replacement and appliance repair, respectively. If a prospective contractor gives you a bid well under that national average, they may not be doing the quality work you need to remediate and keep the problem away.

Make a point to get referrals from friends and neighbors, interview three or more candidates, check each candidate’s licensing and insurance, and research their previous work. Ask each contractor for an estimate, and consider your options before committing to and signing the contract. 

Being financially prepared for emergency home repairs can save you a lot of stress and money. Start contributing to a repair fund as soon as possible, and look into cash-out refinancing and personal or home improvement loans as other options. Last but not least, be especially selective when hiring a contractor. The sooner you start planning for the inevitable, the sooner you will gain the peace of mind of knowing you’re covered. 

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