Full-Time Boat Living Hits Snag With Pandemic

The global COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began its clampdown regionally in late February to early March of this year. During that period, there was a lot of news about people on cruise ships being stuck onboard with no understanding of when they would be permitted to disembark. But the pandemic did not just affect the cruise ship industry. Many boat owners from all walks of life were also effectively stuck. YouTubers have been posting their sailing and yachting adventures, have also posted their challenges with the lockdowns. Thankfully, many are just now being able to travel by boat between countries. 

Not everybody found out quickly

A center console boat riding in a creek
A 24-foot center console boat | Sue Cocking/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

When the lockdowns began happening, there were a lot of boat people in the middle of their passages. If they did not have satellite internet coverage, they found out about the virus and the lockdowns when they tried to anchor at a new nation. Some nations were already on lockdown and would not permit anchoring. Other nations permitted anchoring but not entry until after a quarantine period on the boat. Still, others had different restrictions. So, resupplying the vessels became a painful red tape endeavor to navigate. 

CNN published a piece regarding boat life and the pandemic back in May. It highlights a few of the pandemic life challenges. You can see it here

A resurgence in COVID-19 to affect full-time boat enthusiasts

After months of lockdown, the situation has changed only recently for those living the boat life. Nations are starting to let up on the local restrictions. Ironically though, the globe is in the beginning of facing a resurgence in the COVID-19 virus, a second wave. So, the expectation is that full-timing will become more difficult again, very soon. 

Part-time boat enthusiasts affected

Many people own a boat and have no intention of traveling between nations. The boat is more of a recreational and seasonal fun toy. Even still, many marinas across the United States have different restrictions or have been closed. Even though boat sales have been brisk, the challenge to navigate waters is getting the vessel in the water to begin with. If a second wave of the virus pops up again in the United States, expect the difficulty to become more complicated. 


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Having fun on the water locally will be a lot less challenging, however, than the international traveling boat crowd. Locally, you can check on any marina’s status with a simple phone call or internet website check. International travelers may or may not have a satellite phone or internet connection. So, in those situations, people may be greeted by authorities who may or may not speak the same language. 

Being on the water is a fun activity. However, if you are planning on beginning a trip in the near future, be aware of travel restrictions at the start and endpoints of your journey. Otherwise, you might end up having to quarantine on your boat for a while, or be told you can not anchor in a spot, or country.