“I live on a boat, this is how much money I save on rent” – Newsweek | Gmx Pharm

I’m originally from Quebec, Canada where the winters are long and cold. I couldn’t imagine living on a boat back then. I was a car salesman with no trading knowledge or sailing knowledge.

But I was dying to see the world and decided to find a job that would allow me to travel. I got a job on the west coast of Canada, working for the Navy in network infrastructure from a base in Victoria, British Columbia.

I rented my first apartment but three months after arriving I discovered that there was a community of locals living on boats. I thought it would be such a cool way to live. At that time I was constantly away from home. I was regularly posted to other parts of the world, so I was rarely in my home.

Mike Fortin and Carly Jacobson. The couple bought a 38-foot Morgan 382 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mike Fortin/Carly Jacobson

In 2014, I decided to cancel my lease and use my life savings to buy a tiny boat for $15,000. It was a really cheap way of life. The ship was only 30 feet long and there weren’t many systems on board.

I didn’t have a fridge, I had an ice box. I didn’t have an electric water pump or hot water. If I wanted hot water, I had to boil it. Luckily the marina I docked at had showers, laundry and other utilities. It was a real hippie lifestyle and it was fun.

I left the boat after two and a half years. I knew I would be home a lot more and had to save up for a nicer ship with a few more amenities. I decided to sell everything and get an apartment for a few years.

I moved into a one-bedroom apartment that rented for $1,100 a month and I was paying about $200 in bills. Luckily, Canada has laws that limit how much landlords can increase their tenants’ rent so that my payments stayed the same for five years. However, I believe renting a similar apartment in the area would now cost at least $1,800.

I met Carly in August 2020. We hit it off straight away. This happened at the same time as the world entered the COVID-19 pandemic and we found that we were very much alike. None of us handled isolation well.

Our relationship was truly instant. It just felt like every moment was an adventure. Carly had lived in her mother’s house and pursued a career that she was not passionate about. Shortly after we met, she decided to take a chance and move to the West Coast in her 20ft van.

mike fortin
mike fortin Mike lived in Quebec before joining the Canadian Navy.
Mike Fortin/Carly Jacobson

But as the pandemic continued and we became more and more isolated, we realized we didn’t want to live in the very expensive, tiny buildings we call houses that are filled with things we don’t think we need.

We really wanted to get rid of this dependency on renting or owning a home. If we both wanted to move in together, we think it would have cost up to $2,000 in rent, plus a few hundred dollars more in bills.

The thought of being on a boat and having the freedom to go where we wanted felt so liberating. And with the idea of ​​saving money every month, it just made sense to change our lifestyle.

Everything was settled within a month of the decision. We only had a few weeks to sell everything, vacate the apartment and move onto the boat. We had purchased a 38 foot Morgan 382 which had all the systems and amenities we needed.

It is a sailing boat, but the ship has a 30 hp diesel engine that allows us to sail even when there is no wind. We can use the marina to connect the boat to a power source but when we are at sea we have batteries powered by solar panels so we are completely self sufficient. There is enough electricity to run our fridge and water pumps.

Carly Jacobson and Mike Fortin
Carly Jacobson and Mike Fortin. The couple currently lives on a sailboat in Victoria, British Columbia.
Mike Fortin/Carly Jacobson

The boat cost $79,000. I paid a large part of the initial sum from my savings, but I managed to pay off the debt quickly given the money we save each month. We quickly realized that. Given the rising cost of living in Canada, we made the right choice.

Our docking fee averages $650 per month. This includes sewage, parking, post and electricity. However, only when we are docked in the marina. If we go away for a long time, which we often do, we don’t have to pay.

Maintenance is a famous question when it comes to boats. The perception is that boats are an expensive extravagance, but I don’t think that’s the case when you live on one.

We think maintenance is very important. We want to keep our home up to date. We’ve worked a lot on it, but because we want to, not because we have to. We prevent things from possibly going wrong across the board. It’s like buying an old house and replacing the plumbing and electricity. Over the year I’d say we spend about $500 a month on maintenance.

On average, we think living on the boat saves us at least $1,200 a month, but probably more. Being debt free in such an expensive area while saving on rent every month and having so much more freedom was truly a privilege.

Buying a home may be a future plan, but right now we don’t like the idea of ​​being tied to something for 25-30 years. We know too many people who are stuck in jobs or situations they don’t like but can’t get out of their situation because they have massive mortgage payments.

At the end of the day, we’d rather tell stories than show things. We always try to step out of our comfort zone and let our adventures guide us. We live life by going with the flow.

At the moment we’re happy living on the docks and saving money with full access to everything, but in the near future we plan to take the ropes off and see where the wind takes us.

Mike Fortin, 28, and Carly Jacobson, 22, live aboard a Morgan 382 that is currently docked in Canada. You can follow their journey on Instagram or TikTok at @thesaltygypsies.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

As told to Monica Greep.

Leave a Comment