The One About Day To Day Life on A Boat

When people ask me what a typical day on our boat is like, I have to laugh a little. There literally is no “typical” day. The beauty of living on a boat is that every single day can be different.

We change locations, scenery and even climates. My kids play with new friends, in new places and participate in all different activities.

Life on a boat can be drastically different from one day to the next.

That being said, we do have a little bit of a routine. I say that very loosely because on any given day the routine gets thrown completely out the window depending on circumstances or opportunities.

What I mean by that is that although I have an agenda and to-dos, we never miss out on the chance to embrace life happening around us.

For example, on a gorgeous day we might take school outside. Or we might go do an activity in the morning and do school in the afternoon. Occasionally we even skip school!

(Don’t panic by that last statement though- my kids are actually ahead of where they should be…curriculum wise.)

Despite my insistence that every single day is different, I keep getting asked to shed some light on our day to day life on a boat.

My first thought was to do a “day in the life” post. But honestly, which day would I pick? Perhaps a “week in the life” post would give a more accurate picture. But again, last week was totally different than this week. And next week will change too.

You get the point.

So, very generally speaking, here’s a glimpse into day to day life living on a boat…

Monday through Friday mornings we usually wake up in a marina. This allows Brent to maintain a very typical work schedule. And gives me and the kids a chance to explore different areas.

Miller and I get up around 7. He’s always very anxious to start school (he realized quickly that he can maximize his day by finishing school as quickly as possible.) Brent usually gets up between 7:30 and 8:30, depending on what he’s got going on work-wise. Mary Grace rolls out of bed around 9:30.

I try to make some variation of bacon and eggs (breakfast burritos, omelets, scrambles) about 3 days per week, and other mornings we eat things like cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt.

By the time I cook breakfast, Miller is usually at least half way done with school and needs a break. Sometimes we go for a walk, run errands or do a morning activity. Finishing school first always works best, but sometimes we shake up the schedule.

Mary Grace is always VERY slow to get started with her schoolwork (she’s not a morning person) but since she holds herself accountable and I never have a problem with her getting it done, I try to ignore her procrastination.

Overall, our boat mornings are very similar to how they were in a house…other than the fact that Brent is around.

Lunch on the boat typically consists of salads, sandwitches or left overs. Occasionally we break out the air fryer and make chicken wings or nuggets. And sometimes we go out to lunch.

Weekday afternoons are a big wildcard for Miller, Mary Grace and me. (Brent just goes back to work!)

Our favorite thing to do is to explore the area. I try to make sure we’re seeing highlights like national parks, museums, and other notable landmarks.

When we’re not exploring, the kids like to: swim if we have access to a pool, ride their bikes, fish, and play with other kids around the marina. Every marina has a different space for the kids to play. It forces them to be really creative.

I use the afternoon to do laundry, run errands, work, and do various boat projects. There never seems to be a lack of things to do!

All of this accounts for the 7AM to 6PM day to day weekday time frame.

If I didn’t stress this enough at the beginning of my post, our nights are ALWAYS different!

Most nights Brent is anxious to get off the boat after working all day. We try to go for a walk or to do a local activity. We cook at least 4 nights a week. The other nights we either eat out, or have leftovers. Our favorite night activity is to take a sunset cruise and eat dinner out on the water.

Sometimes we have drinks with marina friends. Often we try out local ice cream spots after dinner. One of our goals is to find the best ice cream in America. (So far the front runner is Toft’s Dairy in Sandusky, Ohio.)

Life on a boat

Weekends are a whole different ballgame!

On weekends we usually move the boat.

Moving the boat can mean that we’re traveling anywhere from 50 miles to 200 miles- it all depends on where we want to spend the next week!

There are so many variables to this, it’s very hard to paint a picture of what’s typical for us.

Just a few variables we look at and take into consideration when moving our boat:

  • Time of year: During the summer, we had 15+ hours of daylight. In the winter it was sometimes less than 10. We try to only operate the boat in daylight, if we can help it.
  • Speed of Boat: Our boat, at max speed, can go about 28 knots. Our best fuel efficiency is around 8-9 knots. We also have to take into consideration times when we have to travel at no wake speed, through locks, or in rough weather. All of these things affect how far we can travel in a day.
  • Friends Schedules: We love traveling with friends! Everyone that travels with us has been so kind to work around Brent’s work schedule. So we do our best to return the favor when our friends have schedule restrictions.

Using all of these variables, we’re occasionally able to plan fun weekend trips where we make special stops and then do the bulk of the travel late on Sunday afternoon to arrive at a new marina for the next week.

Is this day to day life on a boat explanation starting to confuse anyone?

Trust me, I’m doing my best to paint a picture. I can’t reiterate enough…every day is different!

If all of this isn’t confusing enough- let me just touch on Brent’s vacation days. His company offers a very generous amount of vacation. Sometimes we use his days off to truly relax. But more often than not, we use those days to travel long distances.

For example, last summer when we needed to transition through The Erie Canal. We did not want to have to stop part way through to spend a workweek. Brent took vacation so we could transition all the way through.

Similarly, we ran into some bad weather days on the Great Lakes. Brent needed to use his vacation days to keep us safe- traveling when the lakes were calm.

All of this to say, life on a boat is never boring!

Every single day brings new challenges, adventures and fun. We do focus on Brent’s work schedule, the kids schooling, and boat maintenance. Beyond that, we cram as much “living life” in as possible!

As always, thanks for following along on our crazy adventures! You may also enjoy reading:

The One With Our Gulf Crossing

The One Where We Decided To Live On A Boat

The One In Chicago

**PS. This is probably my least favorite blog post that I’ve ever written. I’m not sure how many ways I can say “every day is different.” It almost doesn’t feel believable. Except I’m living it. I’ve had people requesting this post for months, though, so I tried to deliver.

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12 Comments

  1. Brittany Limberakis on February 11, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    This honestly sounds a lot like the life we lived on the road when we did our 6 month road trip! I would love to live on a boat one day but I don’t think my husband could with his motion sickness lol

    • momwithamap on February 11, 2021 at 10:16 pm

      A 6 month road trip? That sounds incredible! We’re having so much fun- it’s quite an adventure. I was really worried about sea sickness, but so far we’ve only battled in a few times in very rough conditions. We stay pretty close to land on most days, and we are docked in a marina a lot. I think those factors help a lot. What was the best stop on your big road trip?

  2. Mimi on February 11, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    I used to love spending time on my dad’s boat! It was so freeing

    • momwithamap on February 11, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      How fun! What kind of boat was it?

  3. Surabhi on February 12, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    Wow this sounds so much fun. We have never stayed on a boat. But definitely want to try once.

    • momwithamap on February 13, 2021 at 3:00 am

      We have been living on board full time since May and it’s been such an incredible experience!

  4. Nadalie Bardo on February 12, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Ticket to ride, the perfect game for anywhere! Looks like a fun time on the water.

  5. Bella BEE on February 15, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Sounds similar to my time as a full-time RVer!

    • momwithamap on February 16, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      I bet! Where are you guys exploring?

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