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As the weather turns warmer, we can’t help but daydream about living on the water, feeling the salty ocean spray in our hair and hearing the birds’ morning songs echo off the waves. For one couple in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that summer fantasy is their year-round reality. That’s because this lucky pair lives on a sailboat.
Sheena Jeffers, 31, and her boyfriend Ryan Carroll, 34, call a 43-foot catamaran sailboat home. “We didn’t want to wait until retirement to start living,” Jeffers told TODAY Home.
Carroll bought the 1999 boat last summer — owning one was a dream he’d had for a while. “Ever since I've known him he has always talked about sailing around the world,” she said. And she’s happy she gets to join him for the ride.
The two named the boat “Seas Life,” a punny take on the lifestyle they strive for. It’s their motto of sorts, actively seizing the opportunity to choose the life you want by making things happen.
While they have pretty much everything a regular house has including a kitchen, two bedrooms and two full baths, living on a boat does have its quirks sometimes. She joked that things do happen because of the movement on board, such as chicken legs rolling off the grill and into the dinghy or water below.
Think you’d like to give up land life for a floating home? Here are five things you might want to prepare for:
1. Glass objects don’t mesh well with a rocking boat.
Jeffers said they try to steer clear of breakable dinnerware just in case anything takes a tumble — that way, there won’t be broken pieces everywhere. “There are a lot of bamboo-based products that are eco-friendly and fantastic for boats,” she said.
2. Cabinet, pantry and closet doors have to stay locked.
If you’re the type of person who sometimes forgets to close the closet door behind you, boat life might not be for you. A big wave could make everything fall out, which is why Jeffers and Carroll lock all the cabinets, pantries and closets every time with a push-button lock installed on the doors.
3. Everything on the boat must be plastic or stainless steel.
As the villain in "Mommie Dearest" would say, “No wire hangers!” That’s because they can rust, and with the saltwater and sea air ready to eat away at everything, it’s best to just steer clear of anything that could be affected.
4. Be prepared for tiny living.
Just as it would be in a tiny house, space is much more compact on a vessel like a sailboat and you have to be creative. “Plastic bins hold our clothes which are folded in ways to create more space,” Jeffers said, adding that they learned how to fold their T-shirts into tight, sushi-like rolls.
5. Get in the habit of buying backups.
The couple said they’ve lost over 100 pairs of sunglasses, tons of screws, bottles of sunscreen and even a cell phone. “Per Murphy's Law, it falls in the water,” Jeffers joked. “We have gotten really good at ‘man overboard’ drills, practicing with items that have fallen into the water.”
Despite all the challenges living on a boat brings, it’s certainly an adventure — and one they love.
The couple says they hope to begin sailing around the world in November of this year (Carroll has his captain’s license), but right now they’re just focusing on living aboard and getting debt-free. One major perk of the setup is that they’re saving money, spending only about $600 a month on the boat slip and insurance since the boat is paid for with money Carroll made from selling his previous home.