Categories
Boat Life

The worst thing nobody tells you about boat life

Living on a boat can be fantastic, but there’s something you should know that nobody tells you about boat life. The bugs are maddening.

I’m not joking. Mosquitoes are the bane of my existence, and you’d be amazed how easily they can sneak themselves into every nook and cranny. Plus, it only gets worse if your near bodies of water where they frequent.

These little winged-assholes are the worst thing to happen to paradise, and I hate them with a fiery passion.

So, what do you do? Well I do have a few solutions for you..

Make sure everything is sealed up tight

Mosquitoes can squish their bodies into unimaginably tiny places. Make sure that every single screen or opening on your boat’s cabin is in pristine condition or you’ll be covered in red welts from bites every morning.

Pictured: The asshole of the animal kingdom.

Make sure there is no water near your boat

I’m serious. Mosquitoes need like a tablespoon of water to lay eggs in. So, if you’ve got buckets, or literally anything that is holding water up on your boat deck.. get rid of it. Or else your new neighbors in paradise will literally eat you alive.

I’ve become obsessed with making sure that there’s nothing above deck that can collect water. I run around inspecting nooks and crannies like a crazy person. Maybe I am crazy at this point.

Invest in mosquito netting

This stuff will literally save your sanity, and it’s dirt cheap. If I’d have gotten some sooner maybe my hatred wouldn’t have festered so badly, but here we are.

If you’ve tried and tried to be rid of mosquitoes to no avail, just throw this over your bed for a relaxing night sleep, delighting in the sound of mosquitoes trying to futility enter your sanctuary with no success. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, I’m telling you.

Plus, you can even use it as a canopy up top if you just want to be outside, but the mosquitoes are so awful that you’ll need a blood transfusion at the end of the day.

Get a mosquito trap

Now, you need to be careful when purchasing one of these. For starters, many of them need AC power, which could run down your boat’s stores. However, the Mosquito Magnet model uses replaceable batteries though, so it could be a real lifesaver as long as you’ve got a steady supply of propane available, because it won’t work without it.

However, these things are awesome, because they allow you to enjoy your boat deck in peace. Just put it on the other side where you won’t be sitting, else you’ll be inviting your bitey friends to a human buffet.

This Mosquito Magnet review does a good job of explaining how they work and what you need to know, so I won’t go into here. The short version is that the trap mimics the basic bodily functions of a human in order to lure biting asshole mosquitoes to their death. Awesome.

Don’t forget to protect your best friend too

Do you travel with a dog like I do? If so, then make sure to get mosquito prevention for them too. My little jack russell makes a great boat companion, but mosquitoes bring with them heartworms. So, for his health, I use advantix II, which is one of the few flea and tick medicines which will also get rid of mosquitoes!

It prevents mosquito bites and thus prevents heartworms, which enter a dog’s body through the bite of a mosquito. Don’t worry, humans don’t really get heartworms, but west nile virus is still pretty nasty so, protect yourself too while you’re at it.

Most other flea and tick routines do not protect against these bugs, so make sure the one you buy explicitly says mosquitoes, AND that the bugs don’t have to bite first to die, because it defeats the purpose and does not prevent disease or other parasites.

Categories
Working At Sea

Business Ideas For Boat Dwellers

Okay, so maybe you aren’t a mobile CEO (yet). Maybe you’re still looking for a way to earn a living from your boat. If that’s the case for you, then don’t fret. There are tons of ways that you can earn a living from your vessel, so here are a few ideas for you.

Host Dolphin and Whale Watching tours

Love cruising in your boat and seeking out beautiful wildlife? Tourists would love to see it too, and you can make some money by taking them out on your vessel with you!

How you go about becoming a legal tour guide will, of course, vary depending on your location, but it’s not a super difficult pursuit. You can even offer food and drinks and make it a real party if you want.

PS. Sites like HOBA make it easier to find and book clients.

Offer Sailing Lessons

Sailing is hard work, and it takes effort to master it. If you’re interested in sharing your knowledge, then you can make money by offering sailing lessons.

You might be surprised how many people will take you up on it. Sailing lessons are a great way for people who are curious about sailboat living to get hands-on experience and figure out if this life is for them.

Fishing Charters

People love going to exotic destinations for fishing trips. If you’ve established a home-base for yourself, then with a little effort, you can get yourself set up as a charter boat.

If you need help getting started, then this article offers a little insight into what’s required and how to accomplish it. Keep in mind that you’ll have to figure out the legalities of it for whatever port you work out of, as rules will be different everywhere.

Start Blogging About Your Adventures

Okay, so this one is not really a steady job. However, if you’re ready to work at it, then blogging can be lucrative. After you’ve built an audience you can sell them products, recommend products from other companies to earn a commission, or even get sponsors.

In order to be a successful blogger or Vlogger, your information needs to not only be helpful, but you also need to be entertaining. This is more difficult than it sounds, and it’s not for everyone.

Start an ecommerce business

This is the one I think is the best and the most viable for sailboat living. It’s easier to manage everything, and it doesn’t require you to be stuck in one place to build your business like many other options on the list.

If you’re good at identifying business trends, then Amazon FBA provides stellar remote work opportunities for smart marketers. However, you can easily warehouse and sell other goods if you’re got the marketing chops.

Become a boating writer

Do you know a thing or two about sailboat living, repair, or operation? People want to know what you know, and websites will pay you for this valuable content.

The best part is, there are no qualifications. As long as you can deliver quality content, websites will want to publish your work. Spend some time making a list of industry boating blogs and start pitching your stories.

Offer Diving Tours

Are you scuba certified? If so, you can make a pretty penny hosting dive tours on your boat. This is similar to the fishing charter idea in that it’ll take some real leg-work to get off the ground, but it’s a dream come true for many people.

Become a photographer

Are you an amateur photographer? Maybe you should think about selling your photographs from your travels. Magazines, websites, and businesses all need good photographs, and you can provide them.

Pitching your photographs to major outlets, like National Geographic, would obviously be the most lucrative, but you can also sell your photos on small sites where webmasters go to license photos.

Categories
Working At Sea

Business Tools For The Mobile CEO

Running a business from your boat is do-able, but there are some tools which will make it way, way, easier to do so. In this article, I’m going to talk about my favorite business tools and gadgets that make running my company from my boat easier.

Some of these tools are digital, and some of them are physical gadgets which help to up my productivity or to keep me sane while I try to do business. Do you need all this stuff? No. Does it help? Hell yeah.

Transferwise

Sending money is a gigantic pain in the ass, and when you’re international it’s also expensive. That’s really, really annoying, and I don’t like getting nickel and dimed by my bank. So, that’s where transfer wise comes in.

This company allows me to easily and quickly send wire transfers both domestically and internationally without hassle or paying my bank $40+ a pop for it.

I use it for everything from moving money around to paying vendors, and I really recommend it if you need an easy and affordable way to send fast transfers.

PS. For a fee, you can also fund your transfers via credit card. That gives you the ability to defer vendor payments for better cash flow if you need some wiggle room but they don’t accept credit cards directly.

Halo Marine WiFi booster

I depend on a good connection to make sure that everything is running smoothly with my business. Unfortunately, when you’re travelling, that can sometimes be a little difficult.

While I do have back-up methods for connection, I like to use free WiFi as much as possible to reduce costs. So, I had a halo marine WiFi extender installed on the boat.

These work surprisingly well, and it really helps you to find a use-able WiFi connection without having to work from a cafe in town. I very much recommend this upgrade.

Wilson Marine Antenna

Okay, so I also have a backup when WiFi is just not happening. Cell phones work pretty well for data while sailing, and if you can get a global SIM card at your port of call, then the rates are pretty decent.

However, this marine 4G antenna makes things even better. You can extend your cellphone data an additional 4-5 miles off-shore using it, and that means more places to anchor and still get important emails and updates.

It’s surprisingly affordable, and I’d recommend this upgrade if cellular data is part of your mobile connection plans.

Skype

Skype is still great. Almost everyone has an account, and I can use it to have web or video chats with contractors for my business. Plus, if you need a dedicated phone number and cheap international calling, then Skype is dirt cheap. Honestly though, I prefer Discord for voice these days, but not everyone has that.

A Good VPN

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time using public WiFi connections, it’s important to think about account security. Using a decent VPN is a good way to add a layer of protection for yourself.

Something like Mullvad or Cyberghost is a good choice, but you should also make sure that you’re using 2FA. Getting locked out of important accounts overseas is no fun.

You should keep in mind that sometimes services will give you a hard time if your connection is coming from somewhere that your account is not. ie. You’re accessing an American account from India.

However, a VPN will normally allow you to change to a US server, which might help avoid any trouble.

Abine Blur

I love Blur. It’s one of my top used apps, and they offer great protection for your email addresses, passwords, and credit cards. Email theft is the number one way that accounts get stolen, but blur allows for unlimited masked emails.

This allows you to create a clean, forwarded email and an auto-generated strong password for maximum account security. Blur stores the logins for you, automatically entering them in saved websites, while still protecting your data.

Headspace App

While it’s not really a business tool, it is one of my most important tools for dealing with stress. Being able to clear your mind on a bad day is important, and headspace provides that for me.

You can stick with the free version to get the basic guided meditations, or you can subscribe to get more, which includes a ton of interesting relaxation stories, sounds, and sleep casts.

Momentum

The Momentum app is a lightweight productivity tool which helps to keep me on-task throughout the day. You have a single focus task, and then a few other smaller tasks on the right.

Every time you open your browser to goof off, your to-do is staring you in the face, reminding you to get work done. The paid version has some extras like deadline timers and what not, but the free version does everything I want.

Mobile Printer

Believe it or not, some places still insist on getting a physical signature. So, if you’re running a business from your boat, I’d recommend a small mobile printer.

It allows you to quickly and easily print documents that need to be signed and sent back. The Canon Pixma iP110 is tiny, easy to stow, and is there for you in an emergency.

Evernote Scannable

You’re also going to need a way to upload those documents to send them off, and that’s where this app comes in. While there are dedicated physical mini-document scanners, I don’t see a real need for them.

Scannable does an excellent job of turning photos from your phone into use-able PDFs. It’s free, and it allows you to quickly and easily save any important documents like receipts, contracts, or business cards.

If you have employees or a personal assistant, they can also use your account for things like scanning your mail or sending you important documents.

Hello Fax

The business world moves slowly, and there are still people out there using faxes. If you find that you need to send one, then you can easily do so via email with the Hello Fax app.

You can send faxes to other businesses or individuals, and you can even receive faxes via email! Your employees or assistant can also use the app under the account to send faxes on behalf of your corporation if need be.

You can send 5 faxes for free, or if you need to send faxes regularly, then they some very affordable monthly plans.

Google Authenticator

You should be using this already, but if you aren’t.. get it now. Authentication adds a second layer of protection for all of your accounts, and I use it on everything.

People can easily steal your hosting accounts, domains, email addresses, bank accounts, paypal accounts, and literally anything else you can think of.

For the average person, this is an inconvenience, but for a business, this can mean bankruptcy. Especially if they mess with your website or social media accounts, which you’ve spent a lot of time and money building. Protect yourself.

Upwork

Need to hire somebody quickly to do some work for you? Upwork has a huge network of professionals that are ready to bid on your tasks. You can hire graphic designers, developers, writers, editors, virtual assistants, and pretty much anyone else that can do work remotely.

Upwork manages the payment of those workers so that you don’t have to deal with it, and it’s easy to view feedback, samples, and other important things before you agree to a contract.

Categories
Working At Sea

How to stay connected at sea

Living on your sailboat is like a dream come true, but it does come with some..unique challenges. If you just cruise around for fun, this isn’t a big deal, but if you need to actually earn a living from your boat, then it’s a much more concerning issues.

That’s why in this article, I’ll be creating a short guide to help you stay connected while you’re on the water. Some of these methods will be cheap or free and some of them can get pricey, so make sure your budget applies to your usage.

Use free internet

Okay, so this one won’t apply to everyone, but if you only need a connection for short bursts, then you can save some cash by using free WiFi connections when you’re in port.

It’s a pretty good option if you spend a lot of time in port, but it’s, of course, not a great if you spend most of your time on the open water.

Finding free internet can be as easy as wandering around with your phone or hitting up local coffee places, but if you’re having some difficulty, then I can recommend using a free WiFi app.

These apps clue you in to the location of open WiFi networks that you can use. There’s quite a few of them, and you may have to try different methods depending on where you’re travelling, but give Open Signal and WeFi a shot.

PS. WiFi extenders for boats are a thing, and you might even be able to tap into connections on land from the comfort of your cabin! It’s a worthwhile investment in my opinion, but the old fashion way works just as well, and you’ll have an excuse to see more of wherever it is that you’re staying.

If you need a more reliable connection, then let’s move on to #2..

Beef Up Your Cellphone Data

If you’re having trouble finding any unlocked WiFi signals, then you can always beef up your cellphone data. This, of course, depends on where you’re at, but global SIM cards are available, and it’s one of the cheaper ways to stay connected.

You can also purchase a cellphone signal booster to help you get a more consistent signal. Most good providers will allow you to tether your laptop to your phone, but make sure they won’t charge you an arm and a leg for it, and make sure they have an adequate coverage map in the areas that you want to travel.

If you’re going to be heading abroad, then your best bet is to purchase a local international SIM card when you get to your location. These are generally pretty cheap, and you can get some fantastic deals for data and tethering.

Unfortunately, cellular data is yet again not very useful once you get a ways from the shore. How far exactly? Well, it depends on how close the towers are, but expect to lose connection within 3-5 miles.

You can, of course, come a little closer to land if you want to use your internet connection, but if you really want to have data at sea, then there is a final option that you can try..

Get A Satellite Phone

A satellite phone is a good thing to have regardless of internet use, because it provides you a way to make emergency calls and send an SOS if disaster strikes and you need help.

However, these devices can now also be used to give you internet access. It’s not cheap though, and you’ll probably need to be conservative with your usage.

Irridium is the most affordable option, but it’s still pretty expensive. However, the upside is that it’s available absolutely everywhere. So, if you love to stay off-shore for days at a time, then you might consider it.

You should know though that it’s pretty slow, like dial-up speed slow. And, you can only do very specific things on it using Irridum Go partner apps.

However, you will be able to call, text, email, post on Twitter, view charts, and get weather reports. So, if you were hoping to play MMOs or stream movies at sea, sorry.

While some high speed solutions exist, be prepared to pay 10s of thousands for the setup. It’s not exactly something that’s within the range of your every day sailing live-aboard.

However, the satellite plans detailed above are a pre-paid credit type of thing. So, you could get one for emergencies, and only use it if you desperately need to send an email or make a call to fix a business disaster while off-shore.

Happy sailing.