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Couple Living Small in a 46ft Boat!

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This is the story of a couple who bought a 46ft boat to live in it!

On Black Friday 2017, while most of our friends and family were braving holiday sales, recovering from Turkey hangovers, or #optingout with a hike, my husband and I were loading our scant belongings onto a 46′ motor yacht.

Their story is continued below. Enjoy!

Couple Living in a 46ft Boat

Living Tiny in a 46ft Boat Wife Aquatic 001

Images © Wife Aquatic

And no, we’re not some Silicon Valley elites living out lifestyles of the rich and famous. We’re just some California natives who love adventure and couldn’t afford to buy a traditional home.

Living Tiny in a 46ft Boat Wife Aquatic 002

Buying and living aboard a small yacht with my husband and our little dachshund would have sounded absolutely insane to me a couple of years ago. But, with minimalism, airstreams, and tiny houses growing in popularity, the idea had started to sound much more appealing.

After trying in vain to find a condo we could actually afford (and driving our realtor crazy), we’d concluded that we were officially priced out of the housing market. Ugh. Even with high salaries by national standards, we weren’t saving any money renting, either. We had to do something. Thinking outside the box seemed to be our only option.

Living Tiny in a 46ft Boat Wife Aquatic 003

So, we took the plunge. We bought a 46′ Carver, sold or donated almost all of our belongings, and moved aboard. It hasn’t always been easy – managing electricity and water is tricky, the toilets clog easily, and neither of us had ever lived aboard before – but, this is without a doubt the best decision we’ve ever made.

Life is simpler, now. We have less stuff to take care of; we wake up to views of the harbor every morning. Our salty neighbors are awesome and have been incredibly understanding as we learn to drive this thing (don’t worry, we’re taking lessons from a captain). We were even able to take our families out for a Christmas Day cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. Getting to enjoy the bay, the place we love the most, from an entirely new perspective has been life-changing. I’d make this choice again in a heartbeat.

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Images © Wife Aquatic

You can find some shots of our life aboard here: www.wifeaquatic.com.


  1. More photos
  2. Wife Aquatic on Instagram

Our big thanks to Wife Aquatic for sharing!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • jerry
    May 1, 2018, 5:44 pm

    Sorry but a 46′ powerboat is not a tiny house but a rather large high maintenance one.
    While costs might be ok in Cal in big cities, any other place would be too expensive. Even a dock would cost $1k+/month.
    Next boats need to be worked on constantly in this size.
    And needs to be hauled out 1/yr which like most boat costs, is by the foot of boat.
    I’d stick to under 30′ boats and be very careful which you buy.
    Moving on a boat is a great way but only get the boat you need, nothing larger as it’ll own you rather than you owning it.

    • James D.
      May 2, 2018, 2:53 am

      Keeping it under 30′ is a generally good advice and people should only get what they need. I’d also add that when setting a budget that no more than 60% of it should be towards the purchase of the boat as the rest should be reserved to cover the maintenance and other costs of ownership.. It also pays to get a quote on the insurance first to help factor it into the total budget as boating insurance is harder to get and generally costs a lot more than car insurance…

      That said, I think we have to remember that what’s appropriate can be very different for different people.

      This couple’s choice is certainly not for everyone but its doesn’t mean it wasn’t right for them…

      There’s always trade offs and a long list of things to consider as to whether anything is right for any given person or not…

      After all, we mustn’t forget how diverse people can be in what kind of lifestyles they want to have, what budgets they have to work with, what options and abilities they have that can influence their decisions, etc.

      Living on a boat isn’t for everyone but there are other factors to consider…

      Like someone who wants to travel the world and use the boat to cross oceans is generally going to need a bigger boat than someone who only needs a place to live and may never go very far from shore.

      Such considerations cover safety, durability, longevity, flexibility, and cover whether it actually helps the owner achieve the life they want to have or not…

      So what’s most appropriate and ideal may vary considerably from one person to the next…

  • Robert Aulicky
    May 2, 2018, 9:10 am

    Hi Folks,

    If I could only swim…

    Question about the toilets clogging? Are they grinders?


    • James D.
      May 3, 2018, 12:07 am

      For toilets they would be called maserator pumps…

  • Michael
    May 2, 2018, 7:23 pm

    An alternative to a THOW for those who loves to be at shoreline or on the water.
    Here in FL its easier to dock a boat than park a THOW if you don’t like trailer or mobile home parks.
    There is in fact higher maintenance but that’s the price for being so close to an ocean environment. A beach house has higher maintenance cost than a one in land.
    James, a boat below 30′ doesn’t provide the interior space of a 30′ THOW. When you like to have some comfort the 40′ to 50′ range is the way to go. Beside that a power boat of this size is hardly capable to cross oceans because payload isn’t sufficient to carry the fuel to do so. This is the reason that long distance traveller go for a sailboat. I agree that its not for everyone similar to a THOW which isn’t for everybody, too.

    • James D.
      May 2, 2018, 11:58 pm

      Yes, boats can have less space than a equivalent length size THOW but not always… Mind, not all boats are designed as just boats and there are many different types with some that allow for wider designs, double and triple hull boats for example, and can have more than one level… There are limits to which docks will accept a given type and size boat but there’s generally less strict restrictions on size versus road legal limitations.

      There’s also cross over because some people can choose to just put a Tiny House on a motorized floating platform and call it a boat house and there are a range of what would be considered house boats.

      Heck, there’s even companies that will build Class A’s that can float and be used as fresh water river boats but still be used as regular RV’s the rest of the time. So that could certainly be done to a THOW as well…

      But such considerations and range of choices is one of the reasons I pointed out that how it will be used matters… Since it won’t be always a simple choice and there can be many, many, many things to consider…

      As for range, yes… Sailing is preferred for range and long term costs but a 46′ yacht still has a significant fuel capacity, anywhere from 480 to 590 gallons depending on the specific model on this one, and most boats can have additional fuel tanks added for extended range… It would just be very costly to do it that way…

      But, given it can reach at least 27 knots means it has a pretty good range that can allow it to reach quite a few destinations without needing to cross the entire ocean in one go but there are ways to do even that without needing a sail or massive fuel reserves… Provided you have enough supplies for the longer travel times it will require…

      Though, such options are not for the novice… But sailing the oceans can require a bit of skill and experience too to do safely…

      Going a little bigger to 55’ to 60’ would be preferable for world traveling motor boat but as long as you can reach the nearest refueling port then you can skip along until you reach your destination and you would be mainly limited by what path/courses you can take to get there and some remote destinations may not be options… but there are always trade offs and the big enough to go anywhere boats tend to easily exceed into the millions price range…

    • Eric
      May 7, 2018, 10:34 pm

      It’s still a THOW… just in this case it stands for Tiny House On Water.

      And yes, just like convention THOW’s it isn’t for everyone. And, if you can afford it, why not?

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