Erica and Scott Magdalein and their two boys, Dyess and Lucas, have been living on a boat for over a year, according to Curbed. Now, they’re sharing their boating lifestyle experiences and tips with other boating enthusiasts.
The Boat Fam purchased their boat on Craigslist. Built in 1979, the 43-foot trawler began its excursion in Florida and hasn’t stopped since, save for an eight-month renovation period. Called The Wanderer, the vessel certainly lives up to its name.
About 37% of families say that vacations make them happy, making it the activity that makes families most happy, and The Boat Fam’s first tip is all about making the most of the space you have, whether you’re taking a nautical vacation or making it a lifestyle.
Making a Boat a Liveaboard Home
The Wanderer has about 258 square feet of space, and nestled within it is plenty of room, including two bedrooms with sliding doors. The living room features a loft that’s used as a play area for the children with Legos and other toys. Finally, under the loft is the combination kitchen and living room, which Scott and Erica often use for their own personal space.
One of the many renovations The Wanderer received was a full overhaul of one of its two bathrooms. The Boat Fam took the initiative to turn it into a full laundry room, since doing laundry at marinas costs, on average, $6 per load.
Also redesigned during the renovation process was the old, clunky table that got replaced with a smooth and space-saving sliding table that can come out of one of the counters. With such a versatile space, it’s evident that The Boat Fam sees ample living area as a priority.
Stocking up to Live on a Boat
Another tip The Boat Fam recommends for long-term boaters is to coordinate when and where you’ll stop to pick up some essentials. Scott and Erica frequent Florida flea markets, but for those who don’t live near boat-specific markets, they recommend what they call the ‘Walmart of the boat world’: West Marine.
It’s also important for all long-term boat dwellers to plan for their medical needs. Emergency room visits now number approximately 110 million annually, so in addition to keeping a well-stocked first aid kit on deck, having a real-life medical plan in the event of an emergency is essential to achieving the true peace of mind that comes with boat living.
While seasoned boaters are generally well-prepared, many novices forget to bring other medical essentials, such as sunscreen. Boaters undoubtedly spend countless hours in the sun, and sun protection on a boat is critical, especially for young children and infants. Babies can be exposed to sunlight once they are six months old, but it’s imperative to apply sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 all over exposed skin least 30 minutes before going outside.
The Boat Fam’s final tip comes in the form of expressing appreciation and getting comfortable with the ones you’re experiencing your adventure with. They admit that it can be tough to feel confined to such a small living space.
“In a small apartment, you can always quickly head outside and go for a walk. On a boat that’s a little more difficult,” said Scott.
However, the rewards seem well worth it. While a study by the Institute of Education at Plymouth University found that 98% of parents said outdoor activities such as camping makes their kids appreciate and connect with nature, living on a boat is arguably one of the best ways to get the full wilderness experience that even camping can’t provide.
Scott and Erica have been married for 12 years, and they say that living on a boat as a family has helped them grow stronger and closer together.
“Taking a step away from your normal life gives you perspective. It forces you to reevaluate what you want from life and what you don’t want,” The Boat Fam wrote in a recent post.
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