Trawlers were traditionally referred to as the boat of a working man. Initially, a trawler had a deep hull for storing fish or icing down that it got its name from. When fishing, you had to cast a trawl net to catch fish. This act was known as trawling; thus, the boat is named a trawler. That has since changed since several pleasure trawlers of modern times now have full displacement hulls designed with weighted keels, and other designs have shifted to a type of hull that is semi-displaced. Designs that are built with full displacement hulls cut through the water instead of moving above it. They are known to be relatively slow but very seaworthy. Semis displacement hulls also perform well riding low in the water and can still plane or cut through the water.
The most popular feature of the trawler is its themed look. They ride deep in water, contain a heft to them and usually contain hoists for tender. A class of powerboats, also called trawlers, is winning the hearts and eyes of several boat enthusiasts with a motive of living onboard. It is a dream come true for boat enthusiasts to leave their homes on land to live entirely on board of trawlers. Typically, trawlers are rugged motorboats that are designed and built for deep-sea conditions and long-distance traveling. They are designed with displacement hulls that come with twin or single engine and wide beams. They are mostly used as boats for fishing.
The trawler has got many perks that make it a perfect boat to live in. They come with larger than regular under-decks living rooms and staterooms. Some also have full-size dryers, washer, and refrigerator. Other notable features include:
- Larger engine rooms.
- Walk-around decks.
- Room to act as a liveaboard water vessel.
- Ability to contain and launch a tender (Some of them).
- Great fuel efficiency.
- Plenty of accommodations and living room.
- Stable on water
- Reachable range remote anchorages.
Types of Liveaboard TrawlersThere are several trawler manufacturers ranging from Ocean Alexander and sabre to Albin and Beneteau. The manufacturer you choose will determine the type of liveaboard trawler you get.
- Albin 48 North Sea Cutter
- Ocean Alexander
- Nordhavn 46′
- Mainship 430 Trawler
- Beneteau Swift Trawler
Advantages of Liveaboard Trawlers
Wide Hulls Allows For Spacious Interiors
The wide hulls of liveaboard trawler make it possible to have spacious interiors, big kitchen areas, roomy sleeping quarters and an extra room for your gadgets and gears. The liveaboard trawler design will make it possible not to bump into other passengers on board all the time.
More Space and Headroom For Additional Comfort
The space factor contributes majorly to the comfort factor. Without space, you would be squeezed inside with no room for comfort, making your experience in the trawler not worthwhile. Liveaboard trawlers have a lot of headroom just below the deck and plenty of room on the deck for entertainment. They are often designed with two bathrooms, which comes in handy if you are sharing the trawler with teenagers or kids.
Liveaboard trawlers are designed in such a way that accessing it is pretty simple. Moving in and out of the trawler is notably easy.
The trawlers are designed with hard chines that provide more stability, making them conducive to sleep on compared to the sailboat’s rounded chines. Even though gentle rocking won’t keep you awake, you may not get any sleep completely if you’re experiencing rough conditions. Stability will also ensure that you don’t have to worry about your drinks and plates sliding off your table.
Less Draft is Preferable for Shallow Waters
Compared to the other boats, especially sailboats, they have a lot less draft, which offers a lot of variety for navigating the shallow waters and anchorages. The waterways found in Florida keys are capable of turning shallow unnoticeably.
Stress-Free Bridge Clearance
Depending on the bridge and the height of the sails, other boats, such as the sailboats, must wait until the drawbridges are open unless they look for an alternative way around. Trawlers are cable of sailing under the numerous bridges found along the ICW without any problems.
The fact that the other boats will have to wait until drawbridges open up, but the trawler will sail through without any problems makes the trawler very time efficient. The wait at the drawbridge can take a significant amount of your time and get you dragging behind time. If you are conscious about time, then trawlers are ideal for purposes of planning.
While the other boats may need the wind to smoothly sail through, it may be a bit challenging as you cannot make a reliable plan with the wind. Trawlers are good to go even without the wind.
Disadvantages of a Liveaboard Trawler
Anything that has advantages usually always also has disadvantages.
Trawlers are Slow
Typically, most trawlers can only go around six to seven knots compared to boats that have the benefits of wind on their side.
Engines are Noisy
The trawler’s motor is constantly running. This does not provide a conducive environment to sleep as the noise is constantly present.
Trawlers Consume a Lot of Fuel
Compared to other boats such as the sailboat, trawlers consume a lot more fuel. The sailboat enjoys free wind power while the trawler’s engine is constantly running.
Trawlers Require More Maintenance
There are numerous things that could become faulty or break on a trawler, for instance, the engine, propellers or electronics. The physical build and size of a liveaboard trawler give it more work on routine maintenance and cleaning.
Difficult to Handle in Bad Weather
Trawlers are known to be difficult to handle in rough weather or sea conditions. While other boats can easily move through the water, trawlers can significantly get bogged down. For instance, a sailboat has both the advantage of the engine and sails. The trawler has its engine to rely on in bad weather conditions. The engine only has a single mode of motion.
Factors to Consider Before Living Aboard
It is easy to fall in love with the idea of full-time living on a boat. However, it is an option that takes careful organization, preparation, and an ability to adapt to changes. When you decide to live aboard, you will have to prepare your trawler well in advance for the new life aboard prior to moving in. Also, prepare a checklist for all the things you need to have or do and have a deep conversation with your partner about all the potential deal-breakers.
Essentials: Connectivity, Comfort, Storage
Moving from a large space to a small boat space of about 40-foot is not an easy thing to do. Everything is smaller, from the cupboards to the closets, besides the small space. In preparation, you’ll need to pick after yourself, declutter the kitchen gadgets, clothing, and tools. While you sort out your clothing, remember to keep all your winter clothes away in off boat storage.
The boat should be dry and warm with adequate ventilation. Condensation and mildew are most likely going to be a common sight, so you’d better get ready with the appropriate set of tools and cleaners (view on Amazon). Before moving in, you should also objectively plan for your connectivity requirements. Whether you need fast internet access through a marina WIFI or a dish for television, you’ll need to prepare early enough as you do not want to be cut off from the world completely, or maybe you do.
Learn Beneficial Skills Necessary for Living Onboard
House maintenance and trawler maintenance are different in terms of specificity and frequency. Considering that boat systems are not as reliable as household systems, you will need to learn some basic maintenance procedures such as plumbing, mechanical and electrical skills to avoid seeking the services of a contractor every time you are experiencing basic setbacks in your trawler.
Cost of Living on a Trawler
Living in a trawler does not mean that you’ll be saving every coin. There are expenses that will still be incurred even though you are living in a trawler.
- Food and water
- Waste management
- Boat insurance
- Slip fees
- Boat mortgage payment
You have to find the best possible way that works for you to manage your trawler expenses. You can start by making a budget and adhering to it. It is also important to note, depending on the value and size of your trawler, boat insurance can be as costly, just like house insurance. However, property tax is often a lot less, as is electricity, because heating, lighting, or cooling will not be necessary. You may also save money on water, gas, and waste management as well. Where you will incur a lot of costs are in the trawler’s maintenance. Marine-grade parts and labor are often quite costly, sometimes even by up to 20% more compared to the standard household counterparts. If you decide on fixing the trawler yourself, then you will probably lose a lot of time away from your work and not making money.
Safety and Security
Security in a liveaboard trawler is even more wanting than the security at home. You may have to decide where your kids are most safe at, if the kids and the pets will be secure at the dock or if any strangers will be allowed inside. Consider installing smoke alarms, CO2 and a propane sniffer. Regularly inspect the fire extinguisher and look out for the basics such as battery levels and bilge. You may also need to consider:
- Who to call if your trawler starts misbehaving when you are away may be on vacation.
- If your car will stay safe at the garage every day.
- If you will be safe, walking back and forth your car at night.
Daily Life and Socialization
In a marina, socializing is a lot easier compared to a neighborhood setting. Boat owners are always ready and willing to lend a hand whenever the need arises. It is, however, a two-way street, so you may need to be ready to help that friendly neighbor when he comes calling. If you don’t like that arrangement and would rather live anonymously, consider the secluded areas of the marina. Living in a trawler comes with its fair share of challenges, but it also has its upsides.
Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself to set yourself in the right direction.
- Are you living in an area with climate conditions that are favorable to your trawler all year round?
- Are you instinctively handy and a great problem solver?
- Is this arrangement temporary, or is it a lifestyle choice?
- Are you ready to constantly defend your position to your family and friends?
- Are you ready to do all the work? Be your own maid?
- Is your family, especially children, comfortable with their new environment?
- Do you have plan B if it doesn’t work out for you?
Recent research indicated that 70% of new boat-owners do not have enough knowledge to buy a boat. Several of them go all-in with unrealistic expectations and end up getting disappointed big time.