There’s something romantic about the idea of working from a sailboat – ocean swims on your lunch break, an early morning paddleboard instead of a 6 am commute, checking your weather sailing app for the forecast rather than Google maps for news of the dreaded daily traffic jams.
And what could be more freeing than being your own boss and setting your own schedule while floating on the open water?
But is it even possible to work from a sailboat? With working from home becoming more and more popular (and possible), many people have started finding alternative offices. From co-working spaces abroad to sheds in the garden, people are experimenting with work base options more than ever.
Luckily, remote working from a sailboat isn’t a new concept. People have been working from their floating offices all over the world for years, and we’re here to tell you how it’s possible and delve into some of the challenges you might face if you decide to pursue this unique lifestyle.
While it may seem like a dream come true, there are actually quite a few challenges that come with working from a sailboat. Here’s a look at some of the things you need to keep in mind if you’re considering becoming a nomad and remote working from an office that moves:
One of the most difficult aspects of working from a sailboat is that you’ll need to be completely self-sufficient. This means having your own source of reliable power to charge your devices during your work days and having a way to get the internet at sea.
Most people who work from their sailboats rely on solar panels to generate energy and this works great on sunny days. But throw in a rainy day or two and you’ll find yourself struggling to keep a laptop charged. There are several ways to overcome this problem, like having an energy mix of solar and wind generation or investing in a generator to keep up with your demands.
If you need to run a powerful laptop (or even two!) then you might find keeping up with energy demands pretty tricky. This should be a serious consideration for anyone hoping to work on their sailboat.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the weather can be a challenge when you’re working from a sailboat. As a sailor, your whole life is dictated by the weather. It determines when you can move, or which anchorages or marinas you need to be in to stay safe.
If you’re used to working in a traditional office, you’re probably not used to dealing with the constant movement and changing conditions that come with being on the water. You could start your working day in paradise, and end up rocking around in a swirling mess of water while storm clouds rage overhead.
You may need to move the boat at a moment’s notice, which can be tricky if you have scheduled calls or deadlines you have to meet. It’s important to be prepared for days when the weather is less than ideal and you may need to hunker down and ride out a storm.
It can also be tricky to keep your ‘office’ adequately heated or cooled. You’ll need decent fans for the summer months and a heater for the winter, which can be draining on your power supplies. Or you can simply work outside to catch the breeze in the summer, and huddle up in your sailing jacket over winter!
You’ll need to be pretty resourceful in order to get things done. Unfortunately, things on a sailboat tend to be a little more complicated than in a house. The constant exposure to sun, movement, and salt water means electronics need to be carefully looked after and frequently fail. This means being able to troubleshoot problems and figure out creative solutions at the drop of a hat, in order to continue your working day.
If you’re not the type of person who is comfortable with a little bit of trial and error, working from a sailboat may not be the right choice for you.
You’ll need to be flexible in order to make working from a sailboat work for you. This means being okay with having a less-than-traditional work schedule and being comfortable with the idea that your office might move around from time to time. If you’re used to working nine to five in a fixed location, it can be tough to adjust to the fluidity of life on a boat.
You might find yourself working odd hours or taking advantage of calm weather windows to get things done. This can be great if you’re the type of person who enjoys a more relaxed work schedule. But if you’re used to having rigidity in your day-to-day life, it can be tough to adjust.
Last but not least, you’ll need a strong support network in order to make working from a sailboat work for you. This includes work colleagues who are understanding of your lifestyle and the fact that they might not see you as often as they’re used to and bosses who support your unique work situation.
It also includes a network of other sailors who can offer advice and support, whether you’re dealing with a difficult work setup or trying to figure out how to fix a broken piece of equipment. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone out there and there are people who are happy to help, and many who have been in your situation before!
But with all those challenges, why would anyone want to work from a sailboat? We’ve already mentioned the lunchbreak swims and the paddleboard commute, or being able to do watersports any time you like. But here are a few more major bonuses that we think far outweigh the negatives.
One of the best things about working from a sailboat is that you’ll get to experience some of the most beautiful places on earth, all while being paid. From turquoise waters and sandy beaches to towering mountains and pristine forests, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to explore when you’re living on the water.
You can use your weekends to move the boat, and end up working somewhere completely different from one week to the next. And the evenings are the perfect time to get out and explore your new surroundings.
When you’re working from a sailboat, you have the opportunity to live a more sustainable lifestyle. This means using only energy that you’ve made, generating less waste, and having a smaller carbon footprint. You can even use a sailboat watermaker to turn your solar power into drinking water.
You become more connected to your surroundings, learning quickly which fish are invasive and best to catch and eat, seeing firsthand the impact that litter pollution is having on the sea environment, and living alongside a huge variety of wildlife.
Living and working on a sailboat is a great way to live lightly on the earth and do your part to protect our planet.
From other sailors and boaters, to locals in the places you visit, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of people from all walks of life. Your social group isn’t restricted to work drinks after a hard day in the office, but rather a huge network of people from all different walks of life, with different cultures and traditions and different skill sets.
Plus, those after-work drinks become cocktails while watching the sunset from your own private yacht. Those work perks start to add up!
When you can’t simply drive to the nearest supermarket, or turn on your tap for an endless supply of water, you start to really appreciate the small things.
Rather than complaining about your morning commute, or that someone hasn’t washed up their coffee mug, you are worried about real things like storms and sinking the boat. Those little niggles that seemed so important when you had nothing else to worry about fade into insignificance. Getting a work/life balance feels so much easier when you aren’t hung up on work dramas.
Last but not least, working from a sailboat gives you the chance to live a life less ordinary. If you’re looking for an adventure and a change of pace, this could be the perfect lifestyle for you. It’s a great way to step out of your comfort zone and experience something new.
Working from a sailboat can be a great way to live a lifestyle you love while still being productive and successful in your career. But it’s important to remember that it’s not all sunny days and gentle breezes.
There are challenges that come with this type of lifestyle, but if you’re prepared and willing to approach it with an open mind and a sense of adventure, then working from a sailboat is absolutely possible, and will be one of the best things you ever do. Hopefully, this has inspired you to step out of your comfort zone and chase that dream today!
Author Bio: Emily of Two Get Lost
Emily is a keen traveler and adventure seeker. In an attempt to follow her dreams of learning to sail she quit her full-time job as a primary school teacher, bought a sailboat in Sicily called Hot Chocolate, and now explores the world from her tiny home on the ocean. She writes travel guides and blogs about her experiences at sea and documents her adventures through film. You can find out more at twogetlost.com or follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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