What it’s like to live on a big boat

Even with boat sales and charters booming, yachting remains an enigma for most people.

CNBC spoke with several yacht owners who agreed to answer all questions — with no topics off limits — about the yachting lifestyle and perhaps more importantly, how much it costs.   

The owners

Nim and Fabiola Hirschhorn are in the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard Luna, their 45-foot, 2019 Lagoon 450S catamaran. The couple operates all-inclusive crewed charters in the Caribbean.

Sophie Darsy and Ryan Ellison are in the Azores on Polar Seal, a 2007 Beneteau Oceanis 40 outfitted for ocean sailing. Several years ago, the couple learned to sail, quit their corporate jobs and now chronicle their life at sea.

How much does a decent yacht cost?

A rough guide to entry-level boat purchases

Cost Size Year built What to know
$5,000-$20,00020-30 feet1960s to 1980sWill likely need maintenance that could easily cost as much as the boat
$30,000-$60,00030-40 feet1970s to 1980sUnlikely boat will be ready for cruising; budget at least 25{028e8b43b440f88d50a94b0ac799d5b93a220d942414697744f001bd74eb64d0} of the boat’s value for post-purchase repairs and upgrades
$70,000-$110,00040-50 feet1990s to 2000sAn entry-level modern boat or an older larger boat; here cost is a balance of age, size and equipment
Source: Sophie Darsy

Are there other costs to know about?

How much do you need to make — or save — to live on a yacht for a few years?

How much does location affect costs?  

How has the pandemic affected yachting?  

Is having young children compatible with living full time on a yacht? 

Is there Wi-Fi out at sea? 

Is seasickness common?

Is skinny-dipping allowed?  

What is the most common question you’re asked?

What is the biggest misconception people have about the yachting lifestyle? 

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