Five reasons to live aboard in Maine

1.) The Beautiful Coastline

There is no denying it; Maine has some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. While it is rugged, wild, and authentic, it is well within reach of East Coast sailors. Want to see a dramatic landscape filled with rocky shores, wildlife, colorful villages and fragrant pines? Come to Maine.

I may be breaking my own rules by suggesting more people come here to visit, but let’s be honest, the secret is already out. Maine is regularly featured in sailing magazines, cruisers blogs, and travel channel specials. While the bold coast and rocky shoals can be challenging, there are a plethora of cozy anchorages waiting to take you in. And once you are in, you won’t want to leave. The coastline might be what draws you here, but the next four on the list will make you want to stay!


2.) The Seasons

If you’re not from here, there’s a chance you would consider the seasons of Maine as a reason NOT to stay here. But I must beg to differ. I think that the seasons are part of what make Maine so special. Just as you lose interest in one, the next arrives. Believe it or not, a lot of people even look forward to winter here!

The most obvious season to enjoy is summer. The weather is warm, the landscape is lush with vegetation, and the days are long. Sure, it can be busy this time of year with tourists, but most of those tourists don’t come with a boat, leaving plenty of room in the snug anchorages along the coast. If you’re feeling too crowded just head downeast. The farther you go, the less people you will see.

As summer turns to fall, the anchorages start to empty. The leaves turn to brilliant colors, the harvest moon hangs large in the sky, and the crisp afternoon breeze provides excellent sailing. This is the best time of the year to be cruising in Maine, hands down. Pack extra layers; it will be cool at night, but during the day the crisp air is delightfully refreshing.

Winter is what you make of it! The trick of winter is to embrace it, stay active, and thrive in the frozen landscape. For liveaboards, this time of year requires ample preparation. Beef up dock lines and fenders, cover the boat with clear shrink wrap and install a reliable heating system. It seems like a lot of work, but the time spent is worth the effort.

Boats lit with christmas lights, cold clear skies, and morning walks through fresh snow are a joy. There will be days of hardship, but they just make the rest of the days that much more special. When spring slowly arrives you will be itching to remove your winter cover and rig the boat for summer. Since you already live aboard, there isn’t much to do but raise the sails and head out of the harbor. As a liveaboard you’ll be sailing before seasonal boaters even remove their winter cover.

Arctic Schooner Bowdoin sails before the beginning fall foliage of the Camden hills.

Arctic Schooner Bowdoin sails before the beginning fall foliage of the Camden hills.

3.) The Boats

Maine is recognized the world over as home to incredible boat builders and world class yacht repair facilities. We do get the occasional megayacht, but the real gems are the countless traditional classics scattered along the coast.

Wooden boats, in particular, are drawn here by the longstanding yards with generations of expertise. In our bays and harbors, you will see large windjammers, traditional Friendship sloops, classic launches, and of course the famous Maine lobster boat. Summer in Maine is a boat lovers paradise.

The off seasons allow for an ample dosage of boat envy as well when the myriad shops tackle refits and repairs, many visible to the passerby or inquisitive visitor. Whatever type of boat you have, there are numerous facilities available for maintenance and repair, restoration, or new purchases. For truly beautiful boats there’s no better place than the Maine coast.

Frances 2

4.) The Food

This reason alone might just be why you decide to stay. It goes without saying that we have incredible seafood. Shop for it at local fish markets and cooperatives in many coastal towns; you’ll never be disappointed by the quality.

But there is so much more to the food scene in Maine than lobsters and clams! Farming is continuing to make a resurgence and the amount of high quality local food is outstanding. Whether you want to cook for yourself, or dine at one of the hundreds of independent restaurants, you will have no problem finding fresh, local ingredients.

Portland in particular is coming to be known as a foodie and beer paradise as it continuously receives high rankings in national publications (Ranked #1 Beer City in the World). But the quality, innovation, authenticity, and enthusiasm don’t stop at the city’s border! Come for the view, enjoy the atmosphere, stay for the food.

5.) The People

The people of the Pine Tree State are wonderful; friendly, generous, and fiercely loyal to their native Maine. We are proud of what we have and happy to show it to those that are genuinely interested. For boaters, the people are a huge asset as the resources available in this community are seemingly endless. As they say, it’s a small world. Sailors are a tight bunch and it’s no different here.

See someone having difficulty unwrapping a lobster pot from their prop? Spot a dinghy adrift for the neighbor? Lend them a hand! But don’t be alarmed when you find a bucket of live lobsters in your cockpit later that evening, It’s the the unofficial thank you card of coastal Maine.

If you decide to live aboard here you will find yourself amongst a group of like-minded, dedicated people looking to get a little more out of life. Living aboard through all four seasons isn’t always easy, but it is always rewarding. The liveaboards here are hardy, passionate, and immensely thankful to live in a beautiful place.

Matt Garand

About Matt Garand

Lifelong Mainer, and professional mariner, Matt Garand is the creator of A Life Aboard, a look at year-round living on a sailboat in Maine. Matt and his wife, Skye, live aboard in South Portland and use every available chance to throw off the lines and explore the coast.