We Can Help Find The Best Liveaboard Boat For You

experience does matter


People often ask us, “What is the best live-aboard boat in Santa Barbara harbor?” There is no one right answer to this question. As you can imagine, there are lots of variables.

Since many of our friends and clients have lived on boats, we can help answer questions and point you in the right direction. Later in this article, we’ll give you a sampling of some of our favorite live-aboard boats, both power and sail. By no means do we cover all the options; these are merely a few that have stood the test of time and are recommended by people choosing to dwell on water versus land.

What Is The Best Liveaboard Boat For Me?

Before we talk about the right live-aboard power or sailboat, we need to talk about boat slips. In Santa Barbara Harbor, boat slip permits are in high demand and the process of finding the right slip can be confusing. Luckily, we’ve been helping people find slips for many decades. We know the process and people who make things happen. We will help you, too.

 Best Liveaboard Boat


Now Let’s Talk About Looking At The Best Liveaboard Boat For You.

Once some slip options have been discussed, it is time to find the right boat for your lifestyle and budget. Some questions you’ll want to ask yourself include:

  • Will you be living full-time on the boat or just for various periods of time?
  • Will you want a craft on which you can travel to other ports on a regular basis?
  • How many people will be sleeping on the boat full-time?
  • Will kids or pets be part of your live-aboard family?
  • How skinny can you get on clothes and “stuff?”
  • Will you be working from your boat?

Once you have a sense of your needs and wants and know what size slips are available we can move on to looking at boats that will be a good fit. We know this may sound like a bit of work, but we want you to be happy with your live-aboard choice and a bit of work upfront helps make that happen.

A Few Liveaboard Boat Options

Maximizing living space to budget is one of the goals. Below, we’ve offered a few of the many choices in both power and sail. If you are going the power route, you may want to take a look at our article about Trawlers. This class of vessel has many things going for it.

The list below are liveaboards on the smaller side. We chose these as they are more affordable. Certainly, there are a ton of other options we can suggest.

Liveaboard Boats – Power Yachts


Heritage East 36

The Heritage East is a Taiwan built craft. People like it for many reasons including its plentiful storage space, dual staterooms, gorgeous teak wood interior, wide side decks and roomy aft deck big enough to entertain friends. For the size. these boats are hard to beat and not too hard for us to find on the resale market.

Californian 45

Californian’s are no longer being built, yet their design still keeps people’s interest. As a liveaboard, it has a lot going for it. It’s pretty beamy at 15’2”, has two good size state rooms and large fly bridge. As you walk through the Californian 45 you might be surprised by the multiple levels. Many like this as it let’s more people have their own “space.”

Ranger Tug R25

Ranger has been building boats for over 60 years… almost as long as The Chandlery has been in business. The Ranger R25 is best suited for a single person. People like these boats for many reasons, but most notable is how big the cabin feels. There is a lot of headroom and big windows. Ranger packs lots of space saving features and storage you won’t find in too many small boats.

Best Liveaboard Boats – Sailboats

If you are up against a tight budget, want to keep operational costs down or simply prefer sailing, choosing a sailboat for your liveaboard boat might be the solution. Below are two of our top choices in monohulls. Catamarans are another option but need larger slips.

Catalina 320

Frank Butler’s company, Catalina Yachts, has been building sailboats since 1969. The Catalina 320, though no longer in production, words as an affordable liveaboard option for 1 or 2 people. It offers more beam that most 32 footers at about 12’. The galley is well thought, and the aft cabin is a decent size. The most common complaint is storage. There are a lot of shelves, but not as much closed storage as some would like.  Some people strip out the forward cabin and make it a storage area or office.

Beneteau First 31

Beneteau First 31 is another affordable option, both for price and slip fees. It has a more minimalist feel than many of its US-built counterparts. Like the Catalina, it has two staterooms and a single head. Some people simply like the feel of this boat as it can have a roomier impression. Like with any smallish sailboat, learning to live with less is part of the lifestyle. BTW… it’s a fun boat to sail too.

Thoughts From Some People Who Liveaboard Their Boats

The Best Liveaboard Boat –  Conclusions

As we mentioned before, there are a lot of variables in choosing the right liveaboard boat. We like to explore the options with our clients and get a sense of their lifestyle and “must haves” to help guide them to the perfect choice.

Since we’ve been selling yachts for over 70 years, we have a lot of knowledge! Let us help you find the perfect live-aboard like we have for so many others. Give us a call or drop an email and we’ll set up a time to chat, explore, and make you a happy live-aboard boat owner.

Chandlery Yacht Sales
Santa Barbara, CA

Related Articles:

Liveaboard Boat Information
What is a Trawler?

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