Can You Live On A Boat In Sydney?

Many are intrigued by the possibility of living in a boat in Sydney. Living in a boat offers the owners a unique opportunity to experience freedom, low cost of living, and a different lifestyle.

It is quite difficult to live on a boat within Sydney Harbor itself. The Maritime Services regulators prohibit living on a boat within Sydney Harbor. Fortunately, there are still opportunities to live on boats in the region if you take into consideration the Hawkesbury River.

Permanent boat berths and boat moorings can be easier to come by in the Hawkesbury River region. You will also find that Sydney is still only just an hour’s train ride away.

Why Would You Want To Live In A Boat Near Sydney?

Living in a boat in Sydney offers you a mobile housing option. First of all, you will have an opportunity to explore Australia’s beautiful coastline at the drop of a hat. Australia is known for having pristine waters, with the clarity being described as among the best in the world. The marine ecosystem is also unique.

Living in a boat can be a way to save money under the right circumstances. Those looking to live in a boat should be made aware of the associated costs and the fact that boats depreciate in value over time. Despite this, many people are glad that they sprung for a chance to live on the water.

They say that living on the water can be a rewarding experience, thanks to the freedoms it offers. You will have more than enough opportunity to explore uncharted territory. As an example, the Hawkesbury River is navigable for more than 54 nautical miles and contains seven national parks in its area.

You Can Rent Boats/Yachts In Sydney

You will have the opportunity to rent boats of all sizes in Sydney if you do not own a boat yourself. You can even rent luxury yachts, an experience that will be comparable to being able to rent a luxury apartment for a week or so. Best of all, you are guaranteed to have a waterfront view.

There are a seemingly countless number of boat rental services in the Sydney region. Take, for example, this houseboat rental service at the Hawkesbury River that will offer an excellent introduction to what it’s like to live in these kinds of boats. You will also find that there are numerous boat hire options in Sydney Harbour that come at much higher prices.

You can also rent houseboats from private individuals. Read this guide on renting houseboats on Airbnb.

After spending an extended period of time on a rented boat, you should get a good feel for whether living on a boat is a viable option for you. Living on a boat 24/7 is a different experience than what many people might be envisioning in their heads. For one thing, you have to dispose of your boat’s stored waste relatively often. This is something that you don’t have to do if you live on land and have indoor plumbing.

How Can I Live On A Boat In Sydney?

The harbor in Sydney offers a wide variety of services that make short- and medium-term living possible. These services include markets, restaurants, and plenty of refueling stations. You will also have the opportunity to dispose of any waste or garbage in the boat and clean the boat.

Finding a free spot for your boat shouldn’t be too difficult. The New South Wales Roads & Maritime Services has partnered with 19 exclusive marinas in order to offer more services. Larger marinas will come with a wide range of boat slips.

As you can see on the mooring fees page for the boat moorings provided by New South Wales, there are spaces available for vessels ranging from under 7 meters (23 feet) to over 25 meters (82 feet). Mooring rates vary depending upon which area you plan on placing your boat in.

There is a high rate area, a medium rate area, and a low rate area. The fee areas are separated out as follows:

  • High rate area- East Sydney Harbor
  • Medium rate area- Rest of Sydney & Pittwater
  • Low rate area- Rest of New South Wales

The low rate mooring area is roughly a third of the price of the high rate area. Regardless of which mooring area you choose to place your boat in, you will have access to many of the services discussed above. For example, the Batemans Bay Marina is located outside of Sydney and offers many services, including dockside facilities and fuel docks.

Why It Makes More Sense To Live In A Houseboat In An Area Outside Sydney

There are certain restrictions against permanently living in a boat in Sydney, where a mooring license must be obtained.  New South Wales government has restricted owners of boats from anchoring in waters for more than 90 days in a calendar year or from staying in any one place for more than 28 days.

New South Wales also explicitly prohibits owners from permanently living onboard a vessel attached to a mooring licensed for transport by NSW. If you are looking to live your life by boat in a mooring provided by New South Wales, you will need to find a way to spend much of your time away from the mooring in order to not be in violation of these restrictions.

While Sydney harbor itself is known for not being friendly to houseboats, you should be able to find opportunities for houseboat living nearby Sydney. There are many opportunities to live from a boat in the Hawkesbury River, located just to the north of Sydney.

Looking To Live On A Boat In Sydney? Look Into The Hawkesbury River

Sydney Harbor is located approximately 16 nautical miles south of Broken Bay, which is the mouth of the Hawkesbury River. Many of the marinas, including those in Brooklyn, are located several miles upstream. The route from the Hawkesbury River to Sydney is traversed by thousands of sea-worthy vessels every year. 

You should be aware of what constitutes a sea-worthy vessel, as many smaller vessels will not be able to navigate the seas. It is a popular route for sailors and will take about 3 hours to complete by sail, depending on the weather conditions.

The mouth of the Hawkesbury River is not very far from Sydney. Marinas here tout the fact that this region is located just an hour from Sydney.  This region of New South Wales is quite picturesque- with Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park added as a backdrop.

The marinas here should be less crowded and expensive than the ones in Sydney Harbor as well. Marinas like the Corleone Marina offer berths with access to power, water, and a TV connection. Vehicle parking stalls are also offered. Be sure to enquire about permanent living prior to committing to a marina.

The Hawkesbury River also offers an opportunity to live in an area that will be less susceptible to storms than harbors located just off the ocean. You will have the opportunity to go as far upstream as your vessel and navigation regulations allow.

Transportation to Sydney from the Brooklyn area is convenient. A train runs from Hawkesbury River Station to Sydney. The train runs daily, and there are discounts available to those who choose to travel outside of peak times.

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