8 Best Chartplotters For Long Distance Navigation

If you’re doing coastal cruising or offshore passages, it’s no longer accepted by the sailing community to merely have a map and sextant. Instead, you should be reaching for some real technology that has become remarkably cheaper over the years.

For me – it’s difficult to even consider anything other than a Chartplotter these days.

So with that in mind, I’ll be covering some of the best chartplotters for long-distance sailing and liveaboard cruising.

Let’s begin.

1. B&G Vulcan 7

The B&G Vulcan 7 is a Chartplotter with an easy-to-use 7” multi-touch screen to help with navigation while sailing. The Vulcan 7 is designed to be intuitive for sailors of every experience level, with features similar to a smartphone or tablet. 

The Vulcan 7 will safely guide sailors to their destination with clear, real-time graphics and data. It is durable, compact, and even has a convenient auto-pilot system.

2. Raymarine Axiom

The Raymarine Axiom series uses touch screen multifunction navigation displays to provide all the features necessary for easy long-distance navigation. 

Raymarine Axiom has three different display options. The Axiom 7 has a 7” display with built-in DownVision and 600W sonar. The Axiom 9 has a 9” display with built-in 3D RealVision and 600W Sonar. Finally, the Axiom 12 has a 12.1” display with built-in 3D RealVision and 600W Sonar.

3. Garmin Striker 4 

The Garmin Striker 4 has a 3.5” display with built-in, high-sensitivity GPS. The Striker 4 provides smooth navigation with features such as advanced scanning sonar technology. This CHIRP sonar technology sends a continuous sweep of frequencies to help users keep track of everything surrounding them. 

The Striker 4 also allows users to upgrade to high-performance Garmin CHIRP technology which provides clear sonar images with better resolution.

4. B&G Zeus 3S Chartplotter

The B&G Zeus 3S Chartplotter boasts several convenient features for safe and easy long-distance navigation. The Zeus 3S Chartplotter has a high-performance processor that delivers the information with a fast response. Its full, multi-touch display has top-level features for premium clarity. It works well in both bright, rainy, and windy weather conditions.

The Zeus 3S Chartplotter can also be connected with other devices such as a smartphone or tablet for screen sharing. 

5. Simrad GO7 XSE Chartplotter

The Simrad GO9 XSE Chartplotter has an easy-to-use touchscreen display. Its high brightness enables sailors to see the screen even in direct sunlight. The GO9 XSE Chartplotter has ForwardScan sonar for navigation, as well as Broadband Sounder CHIRP Sonar for fish-finding. 

This Chartplotter has four options of screen sizes, with choices of 5”, 7”, 9”, and 12” displays. Customers can also choose between three Transducer options, or none: Active Imaging 3-in-1, Med/High HDI, or TotalScan. 

6. Garmin EchoMAP With 63cv

The Garmin EchoMAP 63cv Chartplotter has a bright, 6” screen that is easy to read even in direct sunlight. It includes a GT20 transducer for Garmin CHIRP traditional sonar. With built-in ClearVU CHIRP, this Chartplotter provides clear HD images of everything surrounding the user’s boat, whether underwater or above. 

The EchoMAP 63cv can also be connected to a compatible mobile device through Garmin’s ActiveCaptain mobile app. With this tool, users can manage their marine navigation from anywhere.

7. Garmin EchoMap

The Garmin EchoMap is a neat and affordable little screen. This Chartplotter comes with a compact 6.2-inch screen with physical input buttons for navigation. They also have a quick-release ball mount for ease of access and movement and the screen works great even on the brightest days on the water.

The best part is these screens are one of the most affordable on this list.

8. Garmin GPSMap 8612xsv

The Garmin GPSMap 8612xsv is another top-level Garmin Chartplotter. It has an easy-to-use and easy-to-install system with a Chartplotter/sonar combination that delivers a multi-function display. It can be either flat-mounted or flush-mounted, either of which creates a stunning helm.

This Chartplotter is available in three different sizes, with choices of 10”, 12”, or 16” displays. It can also come with an optional Grid 20 Remote Control that provides users with remote access and control of the entire Garmin marine system.

7 Best Sailing Jackets That Won’t Cost A Fortune

A quality sailing jacket is one product that’ll make or break your perfect day out there on the water. Choosing the right one can be difficult, but we’ve made that a little easier.

Our options are best for those who routinely go sailing and need a quality wind blocker, but aren’t sailing in difficult storms or multi-day races.

We have used and recommend:

1. Helly-Hansen Seven J Sailing Jacket

The Helly-Hansen brand is reliable and typically expensive, but this option is affordable while delivering the quality this brand is known for. The seven J sailing jacket is perfect for days when it’s not too cold, and the conditions aren’t tumultuous. It consists of polyamide waterproof construction, has a reflective surface, and is specifically designed for sailing. 

This jacket is breathable, which is crucial when you start sweating in cold weather, but it is also windproof, which ensures you stay warm when it really matters. It has multiple storage pockets, is machine washable, and you can wear it underneath or on top of additional layers. 

2. Wind Rider Pro Rain Sailing Jacket

We’ll start this list of the best sailing jackets with a jacket from Wind Rider, which is a reputable brand, and the sailing products are durable. You can use the Wind Rider Pro Rain jacket in various climates and trust that you’ll get protected from harsh elements such as rain, heavy winds, and more. The jacket has a high-visibility color available and is made from reflective materials that make it easier to see in emergencies, such as calling for help or falling overboard. 

For days particularly windy and cold, sailors will appreciate the high collar, which prohibits water from gathering in the hood and seeping down the jacket. Additionally, there’s a face cover and an insulated lining on the collar. The jacket is breathable yet waterproof and has a comfortable fit that makes room for additional layers underneath (though you don’t need more layers to feel warm). 

3. Baleaf Waterproof Sailing Jacket

The Baleaf waterproof sailing jacket is lightweight and ideal for mild winter weather conditions. You can wear it underneath a dry suit or on top of other layers of fleece to keep you warm. This jacket will keep you dry in moderate rain and from the chilly ocean spray early in the mornings or during torrential winds. 

The polyester fiber is durable and also laminated. It has six pockets, some of which are on the interior and the others on the exterior. The insulated hood has a unique design to prevent water from dripping onto your face, and the jacket comes in various colors. 

4. Columbia Men’s Packable Sailing Jacket

Another one of the best sailing jackets is the Columbia Men’s sailing jacket. It is a lightweight nylon material that looks stylish, feels comfortable, and can protect you I’m cold and rainy weather. The best conditions for this jacket are chilly summer evenings out on the water. 

You wouldn’t want something terribly heavy, but you also want to protect yourself from the brisk winds. The Columbia jacket is water-resistant, comes in six colors, and has storage pockets for your essential items. 

5. Little Donkey Andy Sailing Jacket

The Little Donkey Andy sailing jacket is excellent for moderate weather on the water. It comes in multiple colors ranging from bright yellow and red to dark colors such as navy blue. It has an outer shell that is waterproof and windproof, pockets lined with fleece to keep your hands warm, and retro-reflective piping along the sleeves. 

The zippers have pull tabs, the high collar prevents water from dripping down your back from the hood, and it fits comfortably. This flexible and lightweight jacket is durable nylon material and is unisex as well. 

6. Helly-Hansen Midlayer Sailing Jacket

Another Helly-Hansen classic, the midlayer sailing jacket is the perfect offshore accessory to help you stay dry and warm. This jacket has a water repellent exterior, uses moisture management technology, has deep cargo pockets to protect your valuables, and even anti-corrosion zippers. 

The material is breathable, lightweight, and durable, so you don’t have to worry about surprise leaks while in use. The hood has an insulated lining, the collar is thermal fleece material, and a chin guard comes built into the jacket. Offshore or coastal sailing is easier when wearing the midlayer sailing jacket. 

7. 8 Fans Waterproof Sailing Jacket

If you’re going out sailing and you’ve already checked the weather and know not to expect anything too severe, the 8 fans waterproof jacket is an excellent choice. It has two large waterproof pockets, it’s wind-resistant, and consists of a breathable fabric that still traps warmth. 

You can sail confidently knowing that your torso, neck, and face will be covered in the case of moderate winds and rain, and it’s not bulky. The hood is retractable in case you want a more comfy fit, and you get pockets on the sleeves for items like a phone, keys, and more. This jacket is well-balanced and affordable. 

32 Best Sailing Books For Current and Future Yachtsmen

Heading out on a sailing adventure? Need some inspiration away from the YouTube creators we often featured? Then you’re in the right place.

We have rounded up the best books for sailing enthusiasts. You’ll find highly respected books on racing, cruising and sailboat maintenance for your next adventure on the open seas!

1. Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 69th Edition

One of the best sailing books available, the Chapman Piloting & Seamanship 69th Edition is a comprehensive book with descriptions, illustrations, and pictures for every situation.

Whether the need is a guide for it all or looking for some tips, the book has an easy-to-use index that makes it simple to find information. 

2. The Complete Sailing Manual 

The Complete Sailing Manual by Steve Sleight is a detailed book written by sailors for sailors. 

It delves into the latest advancements in sailing, keeping the reader updated and ready to handle any situation.

3. Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die

Searching for a new, exciting place to sail can be exhausting. Chris Santella has an extensive list of options to bring back that exhilaration.

The handy guide gets inspiration by asking well-known sailors and athletes about their favorite places to sail.

4. The Ultimate Book of Everyday Knots 

Every sailor needs to know how to tie a good knot, and Geoffrey Budworth has a fantastic instruction tool to start.

This book has illustrations of common knots used in sailing and other sports, with directions to ensure every tie is a success.

5. Bargain Boats and Budget Cruising 

Sailing can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. Todd Duff has expert advice to keep the cost down.

This guide goes through the process of finding an economical boat and refitting it, so you can enjoy the water without breaking the bank.

6. Illustrated Sail & Rig Tuning 

Sometimes a picture can be just what’s needed, and Ivar Dedekam has detailed illustrations for everything relating to sailing.

This handy guide explains the necessities of sailing and the theories to get the most out of any boat.

7. The Alaska Cruise Handbook 

The wild waters of Alaska are a worthy goal for any sailor. With insights from Joe Upton, planning a journey through the Alaskan coast is more than practical.

Plan ports and explore the natural beauties of Alaska from the comfort of a personal sailboat.

8. The Sailing Bible

Jeremy Evans, Pat Manley, and Barrie Smith put together an extensive work covering the basics of sailing to niche activities like racing.

Even the most seasoned sailors can find something in one of the best sailing books around to enrich their knowledge, and beginners will feel ready to hit the water.

9. World Cruising Essentials 

Taking on a long voyage can seem like a daunting task. Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Essentials makes the trip doable. This happens to be my favorite book on this list!

Learn about everything to prepare for the cruise and get crucial tips for spending the days at sea.

10. Landfalls of Paradise 

Exploring the Pacific Islands can be a dreamy escape, and Earl R. Hinz’s writing makes it a carefree journey.

This guide has updated charts and descriptions to help make any sailing through the Pacific Islands easy to plan and execute. 

11. The Voyager’s Handbook 

Extended trips are one of the most fulfilling ways to experience life on the open seas, and Beth Leonard has a handbook to achieve it. Another personal favorite!

It not only covers the essentials needed on the boat but explains practical tips for keeping boat life enjoyable.

12. The World’s Best Sailboats: Boxset Vol.1&2 

Ferenc Máté’s The World’s Best Sailboats has detailed pictures, illustrations, and descriptions of the finest boats in the world. Enjoy appreciating the fine craftsmanship while learning what makes certain boats excel.

This volume isn’t only fun to flick through as its information can be invaluable when selecting a boat.

13. The Big Book of Boat Canvas 

Customizing a boat can be a fun way to make the vessel feel like home. One option is canvas, and Karen Lipe is here to explain multiple sewing projects.

From practical objects like sail covers to interior cushions, the options are endless in this handbook.

14. Sailing: The Basics 

Newcomers will appreciate Dave Franzel’s book as it helps people get on the water and become sailors in no time. It follows his fundamental principle that time in the water is key to learning, so it gets through the essentials fast.

Get from the docks to the water in record time, and feel confident doing it.

15. The Blue Book of Sailing 

Adam Cort hopes to take the reader of any experience level and turn them into true sailing experts. Through simple lessons, it explains everything needed to sail.

Some basic knowledge of sailing can be necessary for reading, but anyone will benefit from the tips.

16. BoatSense: Lessons and Yarns from a Marine Writer’s Life Afloat 

Combining narrative and guidebook, the unique BoatSense: Lessons and Yarns from a Marine Writer’s Life Afloat gives realistic tips based on Doug Logan’s experience.

The true tales from this sailor aren’t just for fun, as they pleasantly explain crucial teachings that are usually exclusive to years of sailing.

17. The International Marine Book of Sailing 

The International Marine Book of Sailing by William Robinson is great for beginners looking to learn everything. 

This book has handy illustrations and other valuable insights neatly organized to get the reader ready to sail as soon as possible.

18. The Ashley Book of Knots 

This comprehensive book covers around 3,900 types of knots with brief descriptions, drawn guides, and other information. 

This manual not only covers basic knots but includes complex versions that can be used on the boat or to impress friends.

19. The Handbook Of Sailing 

For visual learners, Bob Bond has thousands of diagrams and color photos to explore the basic techniques of setting sail. 

The guidebook has helpful descriptions to accompany the pictures and assists the reader through any situation.

20. Sailing America 

See the beauties of the United States from coast to coast in this picture collection from Onne van der Wal. Enjoy the views from the sea without even sailing across thousands of miles.

Whether it’s for inspiration or to admire the expert photography, any sailor can appreciate the beautiful landscapes in this book.

21. The Annapolis Book of Seamanship 

Another comprehensive guide that covers everything from the basics to handling extreme conditions. John Rousmaniere is on hand to get the reader for any sailing situation.

This book progresses from the simplest tasks to the most challenging endeavors, with traditional techniques mixed with newer innovations.

22. Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of the Offshore Yachts 

Searching for a sea-worthy vessel can be a challenging task, but Steven L. Davis aims to make it much easier.

This guidebook examines trends and other information to prepare the reader for the boat market. That data will be invaluable to understanding what to look for when choosing their own.

23. Sailing Is Fun!: A Beginners Manual For Young Sailors 

Kids looking to sail can learn the basics from Charles D. Dawson. His book uses only simple terms, making it easy for children to follow.

It stresses water safety to keep youngsters safe, and it’s an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to pass on sailing traditions.

24. The Best Used Boat Notebook 

A cost-effective way to get into sailing is through a used boat, and The Best Used Boat Notebook from John Kretschmer gives every tip needed. 

This detailed guide breaks down the specifics any potential boat owner should know.

25. The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 

Explore the crystal waters of the Virgin Islands with help from Simon Scott’s experience. 

It also includes a handy chart that folds out to aid your plans for the sailing voyage.

26. Marina’s Best 

A significant portion of sailing is in marinas, and anyone hoping to manage their marina can get the knowledge necessary from Dr. Amos Raviv.

This work guides the reader through everything necessary to run a marina and ensures sailors understand the rules and regulations of marina use.

27. Crewing to Win

Racing sailboats is an intense sport, and it relies on crew teamwork. To build the best team, try reading Crewing to Win by Saskia Clark.

This handbook explains how to form a team, set goals, and keep things running smoothly out on the water.

28. Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes

Outrigger canoes are a unique and traditional form of sailing, often handmade by indigenous Hawaiians.

Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes by Gary Dierking helps explain the best way to create an outrigger canoe with contemporary methods.

29. Reeds Skipper’s Handbook 

Owning a small index of essential knowledge can be invaluable at sea, and Malcolm Pearson’s Reeds Skipper’s Handbook is just that.

This book is an indispensable guide for any experienced sailor, as it’s easy to reference and find exactly what you’re looking for.

30. The Best of Sail Trim 

This volume is a compilation of the best articles from SAIL magazine, collected for ease of access. Explore tips ranging from cruises to racing.

The information in this book is easy and enjoyable to read while giving plenty of priceless tips.

31. Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules: 2021-2024 Rules 

Get into racing with this complete guide Elvstrøm Explains the Racing Rules: 2021-2024 Rules. Written by the Olympic sailor Paul Elvstrom, learn all the ins and outs to win first place.

This book has a quick reference guide for racing flags and ways to help plan the best course.

32. Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power 

Docking a boat can be one of the most challenging tasks a sailor can undertake. Maneuver and Dock Your Sailboat Under Power by Grant Headifen prepares the reader for docking in any condition.

Feel confident sailing into the marina with one of the best sailing books focused on navigation, and never risk bumping into the docks again.

5 Best Sailing Documentaries To Inspire Your Adventurous Spirit

To inspire my soul, I’ve routinely engaged in watching sailing documentaries which have certainly inspired me to keep going towards my dream.

If you’re excited to sail around the world, or need some inspiration to motivate your significant other, then this is the list you need. Best part? Most of these are FREE to watch on YouTube right now!

Here are the best sailing documentaries of 2022:

1. Chasing Bubbles – The Documentary

There is nothing more moving and beautiful than this sailing documentary about Alex Rust. Just inspiring and a story which truly draws you in right until the end.

I won’t make any spoilers but I assure you, with more than 2.2-million views on YouTube, there is a strong reason why this documentary has captivated people’s hearts.

2. Beta Centauri

If you’re hell-belt on a circumnavigation on a boat like myself, then don’t go past Beta Centauri. It’s an incredible and one-of-a-kind adventure. It’s a little on the old side (circa 2014, and yes, that’s old by YouTube standards) but well-worth the watch!

A documentary created by Daniel Poulson, about circumnavigating the world. He and his little daughter Explorer 39 countries. They go through Savage cannibal territories. Dino meats and interviews the president of Fiji. Sailing across the Pacific Ocean with no engine. Trials and tribulations only a sailor could understand. To the purest silica beaches of the whitsunday islands. Their scientific research with the “toad cam” may prove invaluable. “Humorous” witty “intelligent” the sailing Adventure you can’t miss. Dino almost being thrown into jail in South Africa on trumped-up charges. Exploring Napoleon’s grave. Incredible two thousand mile passages,Blue Water sailing at its best!. “One of the only films of its kind” Beta Centauri the Voyager of Hadar. For the first time ever beta Centauri is being given away. A world circumnavigation documentary narrated by Patrick James written by Jay Fisher and Daniel Poulson. a documentary taking you around the world via sailboat Sail the world. A world circumnavigation documentary. In the history of humanity there’s been five World circumnavigation documentaries ever made. This is beta Centauri the Voyager of Hadar the number one film of its kind. Award-winning documentary about circumnavigating the world and raising hell as I go.lol⛵🌎. Enjoy Dino Poulson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIwiV1mJ30Y

3. Maiden

If you enjoy racing and especially around the world sailboat racing, then you’ll love this documentary. I’m a huge fan of racing especially as us Australians took the America’s Cup many years ago! Maiden is a documentary well-worth watching too.

(Unlike everything else on this page, this is merely the trailer and you’ll need to pay for the documentary)

The story of Tracy Edwards, the woman who became a skipper on the first ever all=female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxhEInUzqlE

4. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: Sailing Legend

There is nothing better than yachtsmen that have sailed the world’s oceans numerous times over. Remarkably, this man has done exactly that at a time when technology was very primitive.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston: Sailing Legend looks into the man who became the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world.

In his own words, Sir Robin explains the story behind his epic achievement over 50 years ago. Hear from Ben Ainslie Alex Thomson Racing, Sir Chris Bonington and Dee Caffari on how Sir Robin continues to inspire others to push themselves to their limits and be adventurous.

Find out what it was like to be in isolation with no communications to training ordinary people to become ocean racers.

From battling through monster waves, to being ‘lost at sea’ after losing his radio, and fighting off a shark, Sir Robin relieves the journey and shares never before seen photographs and diary entries. The documentary looks back on his remarkable life, career, legacy and his astonishing influence on the sport.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdIIYr1GdIs&t=2s

5. Relentless

I’ve saved the very best until last! If you’re a fan of the Vendée Globe like myself, then you’ll love this documentary as his passion is infectious!

You’ll love the captivating story of Alex Thomson Racing’s journey to win the previous 2016/2017 Vendée Globe. Alex also attempted in 2020 but unfortunately he had to retire early due to a broken yacht.

In Summary

There we have it! On those cold winter days when it rains non-stop, tuning into one of these documentaries is an excellent way to stay hungry for the dream.

8 Best Sailing Lifejackets Which Are Comfortable & Flexible

Here at Cruising Freedom, we’re huge advocates of safety at sea. It’s for that reason we recommend seriously dependable safety equipment.

In this list, we’re going to look at the best sailing lifejackets for coastal and offshore cruising. Whether you sail a yacht, catamaran or even a trailer sailor, this list will help you choose the right life vest for your sailing conditions.

For those short on time and simply want an easy answer, then…

We highly recommend the ➜ Mustang Survival Corp HIT Inflatable Life Jacket 👍

(It’s #2 on our list but is much more budget-friendly!)

Likewise, you can hang around on this page as we’ve covered various different life jackets ideal for cruising, sailing, racing and crossing oceans.

Let’s begin.

1. Spinlock Deckvest 6D 170N Inflatable PFD

Talk to anyone in the sailing community and they’ll often recommend the Spinlock brand for blue water cruising. Fun fact: We have spotted Spinlock life jackets on some of the most popular YouTubers we’ve covered on Cruising Freedom.

The 6D is their latest model which recently replaced the 5D model. It doesn’t come cheap but what price can you put on real and reliable safety? It’s comfortable, flexible and will last for years to come. This is the best overall, though not the best for your wallet, which is why #2 should be considered for budget cruisers who need to buy more than a couple of life vests.

2. Mustang Survival Corp HIT Inflatable Life Jacket

The 2nd life jacket for cruisers on this list is the Mustang Survival Corp HIT which has also been highly praised in the sailing community. They’re red in color as opposed to black making them more visible in the unfortunate event you have a Man Over Board incident on a passage crossing.

Again, it isn’t cheap but certainly nowhere near the price of the 6D Spinlock above. You’ll be able to buy two HIT hydrostatic inflatable lifejackets for the price of one Spinlock. If you’re a budget cruiser, this would be my pick.

3. NRS OSO Lifejacket

A mistake I often see when people seek out a new lifejacket for their yacht is thinking that they would only use it for sailing. Let’s not forget that lifejackets are often used in the dinghy as well, plus canoeing and even on a SUP in rough conditions.

That’s why the NRS OSO makes a good all-rounder. Sure – it’s not a true sailing jacket, and I’m not pretending that it is…but it sure does make up for it with the savings. There are numerous zippers for stowing your stuff such as sailing gloves and its design keeps you warm on those cold night crossings.

4. Stohlquist Edge PFD For Sailors

Stohlquist has created quite a name for themselves in the PFD industry at large and recently ventured into sailing life jackets. What they offer are similar to the NRS mentioned above but more-so orientated for casual wearing. After all, most cruisers aren’t using their lifejackets as much these days especially if they have a protected cockpit.

The ‘Edge’ model gets my pick. It’s seriously affordable and comes in a range of colors. Kids also like their designs as you they move around much more easily. That’s especially useful in tropic conditions such as the British Virgin Islands.

5. Astral V-Eight Sailing Life Jacket

Another recreation option is the Astral V-Eight which is ideal for those who rarely put on their life jacket. You might have a protected helm area or simply choose to use direct tethers. If so – throw on the Astral V-Eight when you’re going up on deck for 5 minutes.

They’re snug-fitting yet breathe surprisingly quite well. The straps can dig a little into the shoulders but this isn’t a model you’d be expecting to wear all day and night on a multi-week crossing. Just think how many extra gallons of diesel you can fuel the tank with given the savings you’ll make with this model!

6. Onyx MoveVent Dynamic Sailing Life Jacket

For the performance-orientated cruisers (Outremer and Gunboat…anyone?) then the two lifejackets above wouldn’t really be as useful. Instead, I’d aim for something tighter so the shoulder straps won’t get in the way.

The Onyx MoveVent is a good choice for moving around on the cockpit or when you need to put a reef in the main. It’s not inflatable but you’ll avoid the risk of accident inflation when actively moving around. The only thing missing is a reliable D-ring for a tether!

7. Stearns Sospenders Manual Inflatable Life Jacket

Lucky #7. Is this a coincidence? Or perhaps I’ve left the best until last. Likely it’s the later.

Stearns have one of the slimest life jackets around. Many customers have reported that they don’t even feel like it’s there! Great for night watches especially as there is a D-ring so you can stay tethered to your boat in rough seas.

8. Onyx A/M-24 Deluxe Auto/Manual Inflatable PFD

Many cruisers are sailing around the world on a true shoestring budget. For sheer value for money, it’s really hard to go past this model. It’s light, comfortable and seriously affordable too!

Now, its quality isn’t the best and I wouldn’t expect it to still be performing on a Pacific crossing in 5 years time but if you just need something to get you by for these next few years, then this is the life jacket that you’re looking for!

How Long Does It Take to Sail Across The Atlantic?

Sailing across the Atlantic is one of the best adventures that any one of us can encounter, yet you need to do a lot of planning to make it both a safe and comfortable crossing.

Crossing The Atlantic Sail Times

It takes up to 21 days to sail across the Atlantic, and these approximate sailing times needed for individual segments:

DestinationsDistanceNM
Portugal to The Azores4 to 8 Days704NM
Portugal to The Canary Islands5 to 7 Days758NM
The Canary Islands to Cape Verde5 to 8 Days853NM
The Canary Islands to The Caribbean15 to 21 Days2754NM
Bermuda to The Caribbean5 to 8 Days857NM
Bermuda to The Azores14 to 17 Days1909NM
Note: There are tidal and wind variations in the opposite direction.

You can expect a mixture of calm and relatively flat water all the way up to 5-foot swells.

Crossing the Atlantic on a 36-foot monohull was do-able but we experienced some cabin fever too.

Now, are these distances precise? Of course not! As any truly experienced sailor would know, it comes down to many variations, such as:

1. Your Boat Type and Sail Plan

We’ve heard of some Outremers and Sailwinds doing the entire crossing in a little over 2 weeks. Some professional racing teams can certainly make this trip in under 2 weeks, but a production/charter catamaran with beamy hulls is going to take several weeks at least.

2. You Get A Solid Weather Window

Planning your voyage before you depart from any of these ports should be at the top of your priority list. I’ve heard of sailors waiting weeks for the right weather window, even in the better times of year. Like they always say “Keeping a schedule is your worst enemy…”

3. Currents and Time Of Year

The currents can play a huge role in either decreasing or increasing your boat speed and thereby impacting your crossing times. It’s not just the current either as wave direction can play a huge impact, as too the amount of wind.

Best Time Of Year

It’s best to cross during the winter months where the trade winds are plentiful. This is November through to February. However, you can still cross the Atlantic at any time of year provided you’ve picked a great weather window prior and remember that it’ll be 3 to 5 days extra in those lighter wind conditions.

Route Planning

As I’ve touched on already, you’ll need to plan your route and provision your boat appropriately for the journey. This includes more water than you’ll consume (even if you have a water maker on board, as these can fail) plus food, spare parts and a consistent helm watch routine.

Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season starts in June and fizzles out in mid-November. This is when you’re far less likely to see other boats make this crossing unless they’re commercial vessels. In many instances, insurance policies won’t cover hurricane damage on personal yachts and catamarans which are sailed in hurricane season.

Tacks and Gybes

You can expect to tack and gybe multiple times on an Atlantic crossing. This is something best done during daylight hours to avoid any potential issues. During night watches, I recommend adding one reef into the mainsail to avoid any potential squalls. These are near-impossible to see even on a full-moon night.

Picking A Crew

You can always find a crew at either end of an Atlantic Crossing. From using Facebook groups to online forums such as CruisersForum, or even asking around at the local tourist hotspots, it’s pretty easy to find someone who wants a cheap ride and an adventure on the open seas.

Catch is though…you’ll want to find someone with experience for such a long crossing, a chances are too that you’ll paying a few bucks for this experience. Well worth it though, as a single-handed or 2-up crossing is tough work, even for those who have done ocean crossings before.

As a final thought: When you do land at your next port, aim to call head for a marina berth but always expect to anchor in the tourist months. Some of these anchorages can get real busy! Good thing we did the Atlantic crossing in a smaller yacht with a swing keel. 🙂

9 Best Marinas for Liveaboards on the Gold Coast

Move over #vanlife, ’cause given the rise of sailing channels like Sailing La Vagabonde over the years, #boatlife is here to stay. As a result, thousands of people are on YachtHub daily looking at the cost of a boat.

As an Australian, there is no greater place to become a liveaboard than the Gold Coast. Balmy summer days and mild waters make it the perfect spot, and it’s little wonder why I lived there for 4 years right across from the Southport Yacht Club.

I recently did some research to find some marinas on the Gold Coast that allow liveaboards, either short-term or long-term. And while you can stay on an anchorage for 7 days, sometimes you might want to stay longer to ride out an approaching storm front, restock your boat or do some necessary repairs. Or work directly from your boat!

Either way, I’ve got you covered. Here are 9 highly recommended liveaboard marinas on the Gold Coast:

1. Mariner’s Cove Marina (Main Beach)

My #1 best pick is always Mariner’s Cove Marina. Its location means you’ll have access to grocery stores, boutiques and public transport links. If you fancy catching some waves in the morning, then Main Beach and Narrowneck serves up an incredible 2-foot to 5-foot swell in the winter months.

2. Southport Yacht Club

Right next door to Mariner’s Cove is the Southport Yacht Club. Often it’s less likely that you’ll find an available berth here but alas, still worth a mention given the central location. There is nothing better than having lunch here on a weekday and catching up with the locals who all have one too many stories to tell.

3. Runaway Bay Marina (Hollywell)

The Runaway Bay Marina is still quite central and a place to spot some of the nicest waterfront homes around the Gold Coast. It can get a little crowded here so it’s worth calling up in advance to check if any of the 196 marine berths are available for temporary bookings. This is one popular spot for cruising catamarans and yachts coming in from Fiji and the rest of the South Pacific.

4. Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard

If you need some serious work done to your hull, engines or batteries, then you need to get it over to the Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard. This place is huge! Aesthetically-speaking, it isn’t the best given it’s a full-service boat-works area just like The Boat Works mentioned below, but well worth checking out regardless.

5. Calypso Bay Marina

The latest marina to open on the Gold Coast is Calypso Bay who allows liveaboards for short-term occupancy. The area is stunning and quite a distance away from the party boats and tourists of the Gold Coast. The area is still in development but you can see some real money here with the beautiful waterfront homes and upmarket dining options.

6. Tweed Marina

Fancy heading south? Across the border and into New South Wales, you’ll find Tweed Marina. They allow liveaboard cruisers for the short-term and this is the only marina you’ll find until you get down to Brunswick Heads. That said – you won’t want to leave with just how peaceful it is here at Tweed Heads with its numerous cafes and vibrant waterways worth exploring. No jet skis here and rarely do you find powerboats too!

7. Hope Island and Hope Harbour Marinas

There are two marinas here. You’ve got Hope Island Marina and Hope Harbour Marina which both allow liveaboard cruising couples needing a save haven for a little while. You can stay here year-round except for April and May where the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show comes to town.

8. The Boat Works

The Boat Works is a highly recommended place to find quality marine mechanics and upholstery experts, as well as staying in the marina. The place is quite busy and no doubt you’ll spot a few large superyachts as well. Based on Coomera, their claim is “Australia’s greatest boatyard” and I certainly would agree. Plenty of marine trades here and world-class facilities, though not always the best place to enjoy the serenity.

9. Bayview Harbour

A top spot to enjoy the quieter side of the Gold Coast is Bayview Harbour. This happens to be one of the oldest and most established marinas on the Gold Coast and you can certainly stay here as a liveaboard. Unfortunately, apart from some local cafes, there isn’t much shopping or much else to do here, so it’s really for the short-stay liveaboards.

Getting Started

And I’m done! That’s 9 great marinas worth checking into if you live aboard your boat. Of course, you’re unlikely to stay long term (several years) in these locations but you can certainly stay short-term. To get around some of the rules, you can always head off to one of the Gold Coast anchorages for a few days and then return, or head off to another one of these beautiful marinas!

How Long Does It Take to Sail Across The Pacific?

Doing a pacific crossing on a monohull or catamaran is one experience you’ll cherish for years, but one that requires a ton of prior planning.

Crossing the Pacific – Sail Times

With more than 8,000 nautical miles to sail, it takes 2.5 to 4 weeks to make the longest leg of a Pacific crossing from Galapagos Islands to The Marquesas. However, most cruisers take 3 to 6 months, or even up to 12 months, to do the entire ‘Coconut Milk Run’ from Panama to Australia, by stopping into many atolls, islands and countries along the way.

Sailing across the Pacific can be done easily in both a multihull and a monohull.

Fortunately, this long crossing typically has favourable currents and strong tradewinds, allowing both a fast and comfortable passage with many cruisers referring this to being relatively easy sailing. Mild swell, predictable and clean winds and with next to no squalls, it’s a trip that’s well within your means, and yes, even if it’s your first large crossing.

That is – provided you do some strong planning, good provisioning and have more than 2 crew members. We certainly wouldn’t recommend an Atlantic crossing for a couple unless you’ve got some serious sea miles under your belt, otherwise, you’ll arrive into French Polynesia completely and utterly exhausted.

In this guide, we’ll help you better plan the trip so you can have a safe and comfortable voyage, and you’ll see why the South Pacific especially is one of the best cruising grounds out there.

West-Bound vs East-Bound

In many cases, it’s far better to head east-bound (towards Australia) as opposed to sailing towards the Panama Canal. This is because you’ll be sailing upwind with both tides and wind working against the boat.

Not only will the ride be more uncomfortable, but you’ll be putting more stress and strain on your boat at the same time. Many cruisers like us are out there to have fun and aren’t fond of an unpleasant crossing.

Length of Voyage

As we hinted at the start, you shouldn’t focus on the length of the crossing but plan for an entire year (or 3!) to do a Pacific crossing. This is because of the epic islands, unique cultures, incredible anchorages and stunning mounts (hello Marquesas!) that you’ll find along the way.

Unlike the Mediterranean, there are thousands of protected anchorages along the way paired with many available buoys (often times free) to protect the sensitive coral reefs. When you’re cruising, who’s in a rush? Especially when it’s the trip of a lifetime for many aspiring sailors.

Route Planning

A truly first-world problem is choosing which route you’d want to take on your first Pacific crossing, and there is no one-route-fits-all approach here. It really comes down to your boat type, crew numbers, vessel weight, time of year and current experience.

We would highly recommend stopping into the Galapagos Islands and stay for 2 to 3 weeks. Quarantine here is quite strict so you’ll have to consume or dispose of any food before entering port while ensuring you arrive on a spotless hull.

A drawback towards any Pacific crossing is experiencing the doldrums. This challenge is mostly felt after leaving the Galapagos Islands en route to French Polynesia, but then again…where else would you rather be?

For the following islands, their order is based on heading eastwards on a Pacific Crossing.

French Polynesia

If time permits, we would recommend 1 to 2 months in French Polynesia if you really want to experience the culture shock and the incredible hospitality. This country is the epitome of world cruising and ‘living the dream’ with the many atolls and empty beaches where few tourists ever visit.

For those of you rushing the trip, then you can’t leave without stopping into Taumotus and The Marquesas for their incredible mountains and lush rainforests. As an added bonus, the frequent rainfalls means that you’ll be able to get that salt off your deck too!

Tahiti

If you’re anything like us, Tahiti has been at the top of your bucket list for years. It sits almost smack-bang in the middle of Australia and the United States meaning it’s both difficult and expensive for every day tourists to explore. The benefit(s) of owning a sailing vessel after all, right?

Tahiti is a part of the Society Islands and is the most popular island for cruisers. It’s certainly worth a stopover to rest, recover and restock your boat with fresh provisions.

Tonga

One of the most beautiful things about Tonga is the short hops between its 3 main anchorages. This makes for a welcome reprieve after the Pacific crossing, paired with incredible hospitality.

Unfortunately, this is also where you’ll start seeing commercial tourism at play given the daily flights between Tonga and Australia. So if you’re missing modern civilization, just remember “Things get normal again from Tonga onwards”

Fiji

Things really start to get normal from Fiji onwards with resorts, hotels and restaurants never too far away from Suva. Fortunately, Fiji is a huge cruising ground and you could spend several months here without seeing the whole lot.

While snorkeling, fishing and diving can be found in many Pacific islands, Fiji is also where you’ll find some epic places to go surfing, kite boarding and even pick up some half-decent WIFI to catch up on social media back home. Like we said….you’re almost back to normality here.

Vanuatu

Vanuatu isn’t as busy as Fiji (fortunately!) and makes for a great stopover before you do your final stretch of sailing across the pacific. We fell in love with the amazing scenery both above and below the waterline.

The local people are warm and friendly while the local festivals can’t to be missed. Some say it’s the happiest country in the world, and we certainly couldn’t disagree! It’s at this point that you’ll start to feel some angst as the end of your trip is looming.

Finishing a Pacific Crossing in Australia or New Zealand?

For many who are finishing off their Pacific crossing, it’s hard to know whether to make a bee-line for Australia and enter in Brisbane, Coffs Harbour or Sydney, or make a diversion to Auckland. This depends on what time of year you’re making the Pacific crossing.

In late autumn through to mid Summer, it’s a perfect time to check into Auckland and explore the incredible cruising grounds of New Zealand’s North Island. However, the region is very cold in the winter months paired with less predictable weather systems making a leap to Australia more challenging for a novice sailor.

So in short, aim for Auckland if you can make it, otherwise sail direct to Australia’s east coast. Sydney to Brisbane can be cruised year-round with no cyclone seasons making a perfect base in which to explore, and later head for Auckland as summer approaches once again.

257 Creative Name Ideas for New Boats and Renaming Old Boats

Naming a boat is a big deal.

Not only does a boat’s name reflect on the owner, but the ceremony of naming (and renaming…but we’ll come back to that) your boat is part of a centuries-long tradition.

If I say, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, don’t the names conjure up vivid images of other times, countries, sailors, exploration–in short, a world of naval associations? 

But choosing a name doesn’t have to be all so serious. Naming or renaming a boat is also an excellent opportunity to express yourself and your values. Though some people fondly name their cars, there’s nothing like the freedom to name your boat. Make the most of your choice!

Renaming a Boat

We want to cover the issue of renaming old boats before getting on with our boat name ideas. 

If you’ve inherited a boat or simply want to rename an existing boat, there are a few extra steps to go through. It’s common for boat owners to go through a ceremony before renaming a ship. It’s supposed to ward off Poseidon, the sea-gods, and his wrath. Although it’s totally up to you, we recommend using some of the following rules before renaming a boat.

Now that we’ve covered renaming an old boat and gotten some preliminary info out of the way, let’s get started on our list of boat name ideas!

257 Creative Name Ideas For New Boats

We split up the list into a few sections to make it a little easier to navigate or zero in on the kind of name you are already interested in.

Haven’t got a name for your new boat like this yacht? We’ve got you covered with this list!

Boat Names Using Given Names 

We’re starting the list with one of the most common ways people name boats–naming them after a loved one, celebrity, pet, or in memory of a person who has passed away.

  • Jolly Roger
  • Robin Hood
  • Harry Potter
  • Joan’s Ark
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Suzie Q
  • BlackJack
  • Simon’s Skiff
  • Long Tom
  • Hey Jude
  • Proud Mary
  • Calamity Jane
  • Next Of Ken
  • Big Bad John
  • Mad Mick
  • Carol’s Choice
  • Murphy’s Law
  • Adam’s Apple
  • Cracker Jack
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Peg ‘O My

Famous Womens’ Names For Boats

We briefly touched on the odd but still popular convention of naming boats after female figures. Looking back among history’s extended register of boats, feminine names are all over the place: Santa Maria is just one of many. The list of popular famous women’s names include:

  • Jenny
  • The African Queen
  • Andrea Gail
  • The Empress
  • My Girl
  • Queenie
  • Soul Sister
  • Island Girl
  • Belle
  • Windy Lady
  • Boss Lady
  • Ready Maid
  • Dragon Lady
  • Cover Girl
  • Southern Belle
  • Pretty Woman
  • Foxy Lady
  • Miss Taken
  • Debutante
  • My Old Lady
  • Princess
  • Liberty Belle
  • Skipper’s Girl

Boat Names Based Off Of Jobs And Hobbies 

They say that everyone’s got a job in this world–why not show off your occupation or favorite pastime on the side of your boat? Publicizing what you do on your boat is a sure conversation starter too!

  • Umpire
  • Playright
  • Stocks & Bonds
  • Tooth Ferry
  • Dogman
  • Philosophy
  • Court Jester
  • The Shrink
  • Mad Professor
  • Sportsman
  • Supermodel
  • Scribe
  • Legal Eagle
  • Bootlegger
  • The Bill Keeper
  • El Doc
  • Pill Peddler
  • Nightingale
  • Ombudsman
  • Wordsmith
  • Sealectric
  • Control Alt Delete

Boat Color Names 

Lots of people name their boat after its paint job or the color of the sea or sunset. Using color names is a classic and sophisticated choice–or you can poke fun by naming the boat after some other, random color. The options are endless!

  • Green Light
  • Red Pepper
  • Blue Steel
  • Pot ‘O Gold
  • Evergreen
  • Mellow Yellow
  • Blue Jacket
  • Lady Grey
  • Orange Peel
  • Black Diamond
  • Big Red
  • Silver Hawk
  • Tickled Pink
  • Red Tomato
  • Moody Blues
  • Fiddler’s Green
  • Lady in Red
  • Purple Dream

Birthplaces And Hometowns

Naturally, you can name your boat after your hometown or the place you call home. If you wish you lived somewhere else or dream to live there someday, use those names!

  • Flying Dutchman
  • Britz
  • Yankee Doodle
  • Spanish Eyes
  • Swiss Chocolate
  • French Knickers
  • Kiwi
  • Yellow Rose Of Texas
  • Irish Cream
  • Vienna Schnitzel
  • Brittanica
  • Tasmanian Devil
  • French Kiss
  • China Doll
  • Welsh Rabbit
  • Canada Dry
  • Aussie Battler
  • Celtic Flyer
  • Irish Rose
  • Long White Cloud
  • Big Apple
  • Born Down Under
  • Sand Groper
  • French Champagne
  • Scotland The Brave
  • Pommy Bastard
  • French Mustard
  • Spanish Fly
  • Banana Bender
  • Top End Charlie
  • Swiss Miss
  • Singapore Sling
  • Russian Blue
  • African Queen

Boat Name Ideas From Foreign Languages 

Want to add a little international flavor to your boat? Name her after a Russian novel, a Spanish phrase, or a South African swear word. Take your pick! Foreign language names are exotic, romantic, and full of past histories you can share with friends and fellow captains.

  • Menage à Trois
  • Amigo
  • Miko
  • Papillon
  • Aloha
  • Veni Vidi Vici
  • Carpe Diem
  • L’Allegro
  • Tempus
  • Inka
  • Sirocco
  • Sayonara
  • Mystic Wahine
  • Dolce Far Niente
  • La Mer
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • Alter Ego
  • Kunga Wonga
  • Nangara
  • Carte Blanche
  • Ben Trovato
  • Volver
  • Fait Accompli
  • Rooinek
  • Raison d’Etre
  • Sueno
  • Viva
  • Quo Vadis?

Famous Historical Boats You Could Use As A Boat Name

Are you a bit of a history buff? Count your boat among the list of the most famous ships of all time by choosing a historical boat name.

  • Black Pearl
  • Aquaholic
  • Liberty
  • Mayflower
  • Serenity
  • Pura Vida
  • Bismarck
  • Golden Hind
  • Noah’s Ark
  • The Queen Mary
  • SS Edmund Fitzgerald
  • USS Missouri
  • Yamato
  • Pequod
  • S.S. Minnow
  • Titanic
  • The Dawn Treader
  • The Inferno
  • Queen’s Gambit
  • HMS Victory
  • USS Arizona
  • HMS Beagle
  • RMS Lusitania
  • Niña
  • Pinta
  • Santa Maria
  • HMAV Bounty

Funny/Punny Names For Boats

Now we come to the part of the list that many boat owners might flock to. Giving your boat a unique and funny name–especially with a pun–is a good strategy if you don’t mind the added attention. What can we say? People like a good laugh.

  • Prawn Shop
  • Shakespeare Fishing
  • Seas The Moment
  • A Salt Weapon
  • Presidential DeBait
  • Sea Addicts Anonymous
  • Sea King Adventure
  • Dockter Sea
  • Ecsta-sea
  • Docked Pay
  • Off the Hook
  • Sea For Yourself
  • Playbouy
  • Fishnets
  • Nice Aft
  • Easy Catch
  • La Seavious Acts
  • Liquid Asset
  • Knot Working
  • Bail Out
  • Shore Thing
  • Get Your Fish On
  • Wish You Were Her
  • Fishers Of Men
  • Tide Pool
  • Nothing But Net
  • Ship Happens
  • Boat To Be Wild
  • Speedo Deck
  • Beach Leech
  • Fishing Nemo
  • Docked Up
  • Laguna Matata
  • Tackle Me Elmo
  • Fish Magnet
  • Poop Deck
  • Coral Reefer
  • Sea Señor

Classy Names For Luxury Boats 

To lend a timeless quality to your boat, turn to the classier names. Distinctive, sophisticated, and elegant, these names will make your boat look like it belongs in a James Bond movie.

  • Wanderlust
  • Odyssey
  • Destiny
  • Escapade
  • Bella Luna 
  • Serenity
  • Aquamarine
  • Diamond
  • Misty
  • Magnolia
  • Watercress
  • Symphony
  • The Atlantis
  • Elizabethan
  • The Duke
  • Nautilus
  • Orca
  • Black Pearl
  • Duchess
  • Aristocrat
  • Windsor
  • Peridot
  • Exodus
  • Atlas

Interesting Pop Culture Names

Finally, if you can’t get enough of millennial trends and tastemakers, internet memes, or TV, show off your love for pop culture by naming your boat after your favorite catchphrase, tweet, or ‘80s film.

  • Yer A Wizard
  • Heck Yes!
  • Killin’ Me, Smalls
  • Clever Girl
  • Make Like A Tree
  • Oh, Fudge!
  • Bigger Boat
  • To Infinity
  • Spare No Expense
  • Never Say Die
  • 88 MPH
  • Center For Ants
  • Glass Case of Emotion
  • Mom’s Basement
  • Marty Moose
  • Drawn That Way
  • Wax On, Wax Off
  • A Delicious Bass
  • Favorite Deputy
  • Atreyu
  • Big Pile Of Ship
  • Neverending Story

In Conclusion

Despite all the freedoms you have when choosing a name, we have some final tips to leave you with before the naming ceremony. They’re not hard-fast rules–more like recommendations.

  • Don’t rush in and name your boat after the first idea that comes to mind. Let it stew a while, ask friends what they think, check out the names on boats that dock near yours.
  • Female names were and still are conventional for boats. However, if you buck that trend, there won’t be any uproar. It’s just a curious tradition that keeps living on.
  • Shorter names tend to be more memorable than overly long phrase-names
  • Many people pick boat names that match their type of vessel. You’ll see a lot more yachts called Wind Seeker than houseboats named Zephyr.
  • Check out the NOAA list of registered boats to see if your name is common or one-of-a-kind. (For Canadians, click here, for the EU, click here.)

Can You Use A Pontoon Boat In The Open Ocean?

What Is a Pontoon Boat?

Pontoon boats are a lake-lover’s dream. Invented in 1951 by Ambrose Weeres, a farmer from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” aka Minnesota, he came up with the concept for a motor-propelled, large, flat deck held up by bouyant barrels on each side which allowed users greater space to stretch out and enjoy themselves on the water.

It was quite the change from your typical flat-bottom fishing boat or canoe that really only allowed one or two people to sit. And while Weeres original idea was a bit crude in design, the concept proved to be a popular one.

Since then, the pontoon has been improved on many times over making it the popular luxury craft it is today.

Why Do People Love Pontoon Boats?

One could list at least a dozen reasons why pontoon boats are so desirable. Below are but a handful:

Increased Deck Space

Pontoon boats let you move about freely allowing for greater socialization. They also provide a lot more room for accessories like lounge chairs, BBQ grills, fishing gear, coolers, or even a standing bar.

Shallow Water Navigation

Rather than cut through the water, pontoons are designed to sit on top of water and smoothly glide through it. This allows them to navigate easily in shallow waters. There is far less risk of running aground with a pontoon boat, and that also means less risk of damaging the bottom of your boat.

Family Fun

Early pontoon boats may have been slow and sluggish, but modern designs offer a great deal more creature comforts, including speed. Today’s pontoon boats can tow water-skiers or tubers behind them. They can even be outfitted with water slides.

Easy Maintenance

Most pontoon boats are constructed using high quality marine-grade aluminum which requires little maintenance. There’s only one caveat. While perfect for freshwater adventures, aluminum does not stand up to saltwater and will quickly corrode. If you have a pontoon boat ocean outings with it will require some extra work.

Can I Take a Pontoon Boat Out in the Ocean?

The short answer is yes, but before you rush to action, you need to be aware of the risks and considerations with any pontoon boat ocean activity and act accordingly.

Check the Weather

Never, ever take your boat out if there is inclement weather in the forecast. This is really common sense behavior for any type of boat, but especially for pontoon boats! They are simply not designed for rough waters. Also keep in mind that foul weather can come up in very short order, so don’t venture out too far from shore. You’ll want to get back quickly if a storm starts brewing.

Protect Your Pontoon Against Galvanic Corrosion

As noted earlier, while aluminum is a convenient lightweight material, when introduced to saltwater, it is also highly susceptible to galvanic corrosion. So if you’re going to put your pontoon in saltwater, you’ll want to protect your investment by applying an anti-fouling and anti-corrosion paint to the bottom.

The American Boat and Yacht Council recommends treating aluminum boats with an anti-fouling paint that provides a high electrical resistance barrier between the aluminum and water.” This type of paint also protects your boat from marine-based organisms such as algae, slime and barnacles that can negatively impact the speed and fuel consumption of your boat.

Consider Your Boat’s Construction

Pontoons are great fun, but their flat, lower-to-the-water design isn’t constructed for traveling on the high seas. That being said, pontoons of medium width and length with three tubes (tritoons) are less likely to capsize than those with a shorter, dual-tube design.

If you do encounter rough waters, that normally appealing flat deck construction is going to be a handicap. Water can easily flow over the front bow and onto the deck. The best thing to do in this situation is head to shore by riding into the waves steering your boat at about a 45 degree angle. Also, maintain an even speed as you go over those waves as you want to try to keep your bow a bit higher over the water.

Maneuvering a pontoon boat through heavy wakes is not a good time to find out if you can manage it, so be sure you know how to do this ahead of time. A good way to “test the waters” is to try out your pontoon boat in a bay or on an intracoastal waterway. The waters are calmer, and you’ll get a good feel how well your boat and you can handle ocean waters.

If visibility becomes a serious issue, slow your speed and turn on all your lights. Make sure you and your passengers put on their PFDs and sound your horn regularly. If you can’t see well, other boaters are likely to be experiencing the same problem.

Remove Unsafe Accessories

Cookouts are usually fun events that bring together family and friends of all ages for a good time. Just imagine how much more fun one can be when the cookout takes place on a pontoon boat! It bears noting, however, if you’ve outfitted your pontoon as a BBQ boat waves can create a serious danger on open ocean water. When taking your pontoon boat on the ocean, remove the BBQ and save it for a calm day on the lake or for dry land. For that matter, one should also remove any piece of equipment that might make your pontoon boat top heavy. The idea is to avoid throwing off your boat’s center of gravity.

Distribute Weight Evenly

Be it your passengers, your unsecured cargo, or your installed equipment, if the weight on your deck is distributed unevenly, there will be increased risk of your pontoon boat capsizing in rough water. As noted earlier, if yours is a BBQ boat waves can destroy or move the BBQ around unsafely and cause injury to your passengers. The same can be said of V-bows and tow bars, fishing gear, lounge chairs, bars and any other item with weight. For maximum stabilization, keep your equipment to a minimum and make sure the body weight of your passengers is evenly distributed.

Make Sure You Have the Right Safety Equipment Aboard

Always follow the safety guidelines provided in your owner’s manual, and keep on board any required safety equipment. It is especially imperative that every passenger has a properly-fitting PFD any time they are on board a vessel–on the ocean or otherwise. Additionally, don’t exceed the maximum number of passengers allowed.

So Should You Go For It?

All things being equal, pontoon boats are really made for calmer waters, and any saltwater adventures should probably be limited to calm, sunny days on a protected bay. That being said, it’s your boat. If you’re going to go for it, make sure both you and your vessel are well prepared for whatever the waves may bring you.