Top 10: The Good and Bad of Being a Live-Aboard Newlywed

28 Apr


Rachel and I in Sadie

People said we were nuts when we got married then hopped on a boat together literally the day after getting married.(Setting sail the morning after our wedding from the eastern shore of Maryland) I feel like the internet is littered with stories of marriages and relationships not surviving the first year cruising, I thought we should share a positive tale for a change.  Here’s our list of the best and worst aspects of living on board when being newlywed.

1. Learning quickly to respect each other’s space – I’ve come to the decision that every newlywed should be put through a test of living together on a boat, or in a similar remote small space together. When a couple is placed in these living conditions it’s simply impossible to just walk into the other room and not come out for hours, go for a walk/drive around the neighborhood, make plans with friends, etc. Every part of the day has to be planned together. Mostly because the only way off the boat is your single “car”, also known as your dingy. As a couple you quickly start to realize the space each other needs. From there you not only understand when your “other half” needs that space but you start to respect it. This is key to any relationship and being forced to understand it I think is one of the best parts of being a live-aboard newlywed.

2. Learning the minimum each other needs to be content – Satori has fully become our home over the past 8 months of living aboard but she is also still in fact a sailboat. Sometimes with sailing a simple mechanical failure can downgrade the living situation to “boat camping” quickly. This is when you learn exactly what each other needs to be 100% content. Satori has been very good to us over the past few months with continual hot showers, ice for our drinks, etc., but I have still learned that if you have some chocolate for Lee after dinner he will always have a smile on his face before bed.

3. Making new memories and experiences together – Each day out here is exciting, different and full of new memories & experiences. Not only are you taking in each moment, but you’re lucky enough to be experiencing it all together. You’ll remember both the good and bad for years to come and really isn’t that what marriage is all about?

4. Not having to plan time to see each other – This might be an interesting one to list under the best column but Lee & I come from years of a long distant relationship. I also see a ton of newlyweds being engrossed by their jobs and other commitments that they rarely get to have time just the two of them. Out here, we are all each other has and there is no having to go through each other’s calendars and plan exactly when we are going to find time to be together. After all those years of schedules and traveling, it’s refreshing to be able to relax in each other’s company whenever we want.

5. Problem solving – It’s said that cruising is working on boats in exotic locations. We’ve found as time has passed we now solve problems as a unit. Whether it’s just listening to each other and following instructions to fix a problem with the boat or tackling a new country that doesn’t speak English, we’re figuring it out together.

6. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – Sometimes living on a boat is extremely challenging and can be downright scary.  This life is transient and uncertain. By working through these challenges together, I feel like we’ve level set our expectations for the future. Problems back on land don’t seem nearly as dire as they did before. I think our experiences should make the rest of our marriage stronger .


Worst –>

1. Phone a friend – Taking in everything I said in the best column, it’s just the two of you out here. No matter how much you love each other and learn to respect each other’s space, it’s nice to have some time with friends. This is why I believe that cruisers tend to stick together in anchorages and enjoy happy hours together almost every night. If we’re in a crowded anchorage our social calendar can get more packed then at home it seems. These days with technology and being able to talk to our friends on iMessage or Facebook chat, it has eased this feeling a little bit but there are still times when I say to myself, anybody else out there?!

2. Alone time – Adding to the point above, there are also times when you just want to be alone. Not just sitting together respecting each other space in silence, but 100% alone blasting the most embarrassing music and fulfilling all your guilty pleasures. Most people know that even at my young age I get gray hair and usually dye it once a month. This had become my “me” time at home and I looked forward to doing it on nights when Lee was otherwise engaged. Not because I didn’t want him to see me dying my hair but because it was my time to myself. There are ways to get this time out here but they are few and far between and either need to be planned or embraced when it comes about — such as when Lee goes fishing with other cruisers or when I was doing Yoga every morning in George Town.

3. Knowing a little too much – When living in such a small space, we find that we now know a little too much about each other’s habits – at any one time we’re never more than 6 feet away from the head. It’s one of the realities that we’ve already touched upon. Its like that children’s book “everybody poops”  – I’ll leave it at that.

4. Confronting issues when they arise – It’s another unique aspect to living on a boat, in a argument in a normal house, you can slam the door and sleep downstairs on the couch. When we get into arguments we need to confront the issue and resolve it – we don’t have the space to go and sulk.

So looks like thats 6 great points and 4 that are less than stellar. We’ve made it the first 6 months and plan on staying married!


This article was syndicated from Cruising – Beautiful Crazy Happiness


  1. Doreen Purcell

    very good and insightful article. Sounds like you two have it all together. Love plays a big part in marriage but as you point out there is much more to marriage than ‘google eyes.Good Luck to you both.

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