How much is this ship going to cost?

I have being researching a LOT about how much we are going to need to save in order to buy and refit a seaworthy boat. Firstly, I want our boat to be as sustainable as possible, so wind power, solar power, and a water maker are priorities, although this will increase the upfront cost. I also read about a composting toilet, which I love the thought of, since I was hoping to be able to grow herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes on board. The issue with gardening on board though, from what I have read, is that you cannot transport soil through customs in many countries. I am curious if a composting toilet could get around this, but that will be a post for another day. With these 4 extras in mind, here is the rough budget I have come up with based on budgets I have come across.

Overall Budget                                                 Estimated
Boat                                                                     $30,000.00
Engine Room                                                    $14,000.00
Boat Yard                                                              $6,000.00
Electrical                                                              $6,000.00
Plumbing                                                              $2,000.00
Galley/Propane                                                    $3,000.00
Dinghy                                                                   $3,000.00
Anchors/Chain                                                     $3,500.00
Navigation Gear                                                    $1,500.00
Boat Equipment                                                    $2,000.00
Safety Gear                                                              $4,000.00
Tools                                                                           $1,000.00
Materials                                                                      $500.00
Cleaning                                                                     $1300.00
Spares                                                                           $500.00
Fridge                                                                          $1,200.00
Wind Generator                                                       $1,500.00
Rigging                                                                      $20,000.00
Lighting                                                                         $500.00
Charts                                                                         $3,000.00
Chart Plotter                                                             $2,000.00
Life Raft                                                                      $3,000.00
Miscellaneous                                                            $1,500.00
Survey                                                                              $500.00
Solar Power                                                                 $8,000.00
AC Unit                                                                            $500.00
Water Maker                                                              $6,000.00
Total Refit Cost                                                   $126,000.00

This is definitely achievable if we save $600 every month for the next 20 years, but we also want to have money saved for us to live off of.

If we call it quits on land and are living entirely on our savings, we need a large amount of money stored up! Dani and Tate, who write the blog Sundowner Sails Again (, Jon and Sue from The Hacking Family (, and Pat and Ali from Bumfuzzle ( all estimated (or documented) approximately $3000 – $3100 a month on average needed for operating expenses and unexpected costs.

For us to take a 5 year expedition at $3000 a month, we would need $180000 saved up. That comes out to $750 a month for the next 20 years. At minimum, we need $1350 saved every month for 20 years to meet these goals, but more is better and a more solid number is just easier, so I am going to try to have our goal set at $1500 per month.

Now we just need to work on how to get that much money each month and make sure we save it, preferably in two separate accounts so that the money for the refit is spent on the refit and we don’t mess with the actual operating savings. I am thinking a long term CD is our best option for the operating cost, since we can’t touch it and it earns high interest! Stay tuned for any developments on how we are going to make this happen!


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