Living Aboard: The First Six Months


When I looked at the calendar this morning, I couldn’t believe it. An entire six months has passed since we moved aboard The Catalina Wine Mixer. And time has flown by (because we’re having so much fun, duh)! In a way, it feels like we’ve always lived aboard. I think that’s because this boat just feels like home.



I was really anxious about making this move, but within the first week, living on a boat started to feel surprisingly normal. And now I can’t picture us living anywhere else… well, I guess I could picture us living in an exotic tropical location. But, we’d still be on a boat!

In honor of this milestone, I decided to make a list of my favorite (and least favorite) things about living aboard.


  • Everything. I’m being totally serious! There isn’t really anything I don’t like about living on the boat. Sure, maintenance is annoying, and I don’t like cleaning, but that’s stuff that we’d have to deal with in a regular house, too.


  • The flybridge. It’s sunny and enclosed and always at least 10 degrees warmer than outside. I love hanging out up there and reading a book or drinking a margarita. And the view is pretty awesome, too!
  • Waking up to a view of the water and Mount Tamalpais. Enough said.


  • Being surrounded by things I love. When we decided to “go tiny,” it forced us to be really thoughtful about what we wanted to bring aboard. There isn’t a lot of space on the boat, so we were really selective. Everything in our home is here because it serves a daily purpose or because we really love it. And that gives me a surprising amount of peace!


  • Life is simpler. There’s less stuff to clean, organize and take care of. If the boat is messy, it only takes about 15 minutes to clean up. Things just get less cluttered. And I don’t have a bunch of different rooms to maintain.


  • Working from the boat. I love my little desk and the view from my window. It’s pretty, peaceful, and bright. The perfect space for an aspiring novelist!


  • Being close together. I know it sounds crazy, but I think the three of us (Indy included) are happier when we’re all nearby. There’s something really cozy about living in a smaller space with your favorite people (dogs are people too).


  • The layout. As much as we love being together, we all need our own space, too. And the boat is laid out perfectly for that. Our bedroom, living room, and the mid-deck can all be closed off from each other. So, if Brian’s on a phone call or I want to read, privacy is no problemo.




  • Feeling free. Even though we spend most of our time docked in the slip, just knowing that we can throw off our lines and cruise away is incredibly liberating.


  • Working towards a very low cost of living. We’re working hard to get our boat paid off, so that we can start saving up for an early retirement (and lots of trips!). Choosing to live on a boat makes becoming financially independent feel like it’s actually within reach. Why wait until we’re in our 60s? If living on a small (and totally awesome) boat can help us reach our goals sooner, I’m all for it.


  • Being kind of a rebel. And I’m not talking about rebelling just for the sake of rebelling. I’m talking about living life on our own terms because that’s what we want. Which I see as an act of rebellion. Choosing to live the way you want - not the way society expects you to - is a really fun, empowering way to stick it to the man.


  • Knowing that I love living aboard so much that I can’t even think of all the things I love about it. The list would just be too long!

Least Favorites

  • Our boat gets messy very quickly. If we cook a meal or neglect to make the bed, it looks like a disaster zone in here!


  • Limited storage. We’re using the forward cabin as a storage room for now, but it’s tough to navigate. I have to crawl over a set of plastic drawers to get to our lines. Not ideal.


  • We’re still waiting on summer. I can’t wait to start cruising around more often, but the weather hasn’t been very cooperative. I’m so ready for summer to get here!


  • Doing dishes. I really miss having a dishwasher. The kitchen sink is tiny (just like the rest of our kitchen!) so water gets everywhere when I’m washing our dishes. And it’s time-consuming. I’m just not a chores person (who is?). But, on the bright side, it’s a great excuse for me to listen to a podcast while I work!


  • Maintenance. Lots of maintenance. Our boat is in great shape, but it’s also 17 years old. So, things are going to break. So far, it’s mostly been our toilets and plumbing (leaky pipes, broken seals, old hoses, etc.) which hasn’t been a huge deal. But it’s still inconvenient.  


Six months in, I don’t have any regrets about moving onto the boat. In fact, we love this lifestyle so much that we’re already talking about what our next boat will be! But, that’s down the line. For now, we’re just going to keep enjoying our time aboard our home, The Catalina Wine Mixer.

Jaclyn Westlake