Choosing the perfect boat for retirement

An older couple stand in an embrace on the deck of a sail boat on the sea. There is land on the horizon and the man is holding a sail rope.

For many of us, retirement is something that is so anticipated that there’s a danger it will be an anti-climax. Not so when there’s a boat on the horizon! Whether you’ve been a keen sailor all your life, or boating is a brand new interest, retirement is the ideal time to take to the seas. So if you’re in the lucky position to be choosing a boat for retirement, where do you start? Here we’ll look at the what, when, why and how of boat ownership in later life.  

Why choose sailing?

Retirement should always be about pursuing what excites you. For many, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as the thought of spending your days on the water. Sailing, with its blend of serenity and adventure, offers an ideal pastime for retirees. It’s a well renowned activity for good mental health and rejuvenation. Plus, it fosters a keen sense of independence and self-reliance, encourages an active lifestyle, and provides ample opportunities for social interaction. Really, the question should be why NOT choose sailing?

Of course, the boat that you choose isn’t just a financial investment. A boat, like a home or car, is something with which we develop a relationship through the years. So at this point where your options are relatively open, it’s important to give full consideration to your options. Your boat is your gateway to a retirement’s worth of experiences and memories, so you’ll want to both get your purchase right, and find ways to make your boat special to you with internal decor and bespoke upholstery.

What type of boat?

When planning to buy your very first retirement boat, or even your next upgrade, a lot will depend on the type of sailing you plan to do. From modest dinghies to luxurious yachts, you’ll need to be realistic with budget, lifestyle, and ambition.

Sailing boats

A classic sailing boat will give you a core and elemental sailing experience. If you’re already skilled, or intend to go through training, these are a great way to get in touch with the ocean and all of its nuances. For the eco-conscious retiree or those with a desire for a more natural experience, a sailboat offers not just a life on the water, but an eco-friendly one. There are various different shapes and sizes of course, so this is just part of your decision! 


If speed and simplicity get your heart racing, powerboats may be the answer. They’re convenient, fast, and are a gateway to exploration. With retractable or shallow keels, powerboats are also more versatile in terms of the waters they can travel, making them ideal for those seeking to explore both coast and inland waterways. If the act of exploration is your priority rather than the technical experience of sailing, then these are a good place to start. 

Hybrid multihull

If space, stability, and comfort are your primary concerns, a multi hull vessel such as a Catamaran, Trimaran, or hybrid are worth considering. Offering a larger deck area and often shallower drafts, they make excellent options for retirees who plan to sail with family or frequently entertain on board. There’s a fair amount more maintenance to undertake, however, so bear this in mind. Also the price tag tends to be higher for multi hull vessels compared to similar sized mono hull vessels.

How do I decide?

The size and make of your boat are essential considerations that can influence not only the purchasing price but also the daily convenience and comfort that you experience. Size, in particular, has a huge impact, from the number of guests you can comfortably accommodate to the ease of handling the vessel.

Things to think about 

  • How big is too big? A larger boat often equates to more space and comfort, but it also means higher costs and more complex maintenance. It’s also worth noting that the age, physical ability, and experience level of the crew all play a pivotal role in managing larger vessels.
  • Planning for guests: If you intend to sail with family or friends, a guest cabin or extra berths will be indispensable. A boat designed with ample social areas and privacy considerations is key for an enjoyable experience for all aboard.
  • Balancing amenities: Modern boats come equipped with a variety of amenities, from kitchen facilities to bathrooms. It’s important to assess what you prioritise and what you’re willing to compromise on. While onboard luxuries are alluring, they do come with added weight and cost.

How should it look?

The cosmetic side of your boat purchase is just as important as the technical. This is where you breathe life into the vessel, giving it a sense of personality and making it feel like home.

  • Decorating the interior: Cosy up the cabins with custom made curtains and bespoke boat cushions. You may want to go full nautical-themed with bedspreads, and ornaments, or choose a more minimalist or abstract style. Think about how your interior ties in with the style and lines of your boat to maintain consistency or create contrast. 
  • Personal touches: Family pictures, treasured memorabilia, and even artwork can transform the walls and bulkheads, infusing your living space with the warmth of memories and personality. The great thing is that this is constantly evolving, so update personal touches regularly from your sailing adventures.
  • Comfort and safety: On deck, things like boat seats or deck cushions need to be comfortable and durable. These things will experience the forces of weather, so it’s worth investing in quality bespoke products. Safety is always paramount, so ensure that you meet a checklist of necessary safety gear.

Beginning your journey

Once you’ve found the perfect boat for you, the decisions aren’t over! You’ll need to name your boat for a start! Where will your boat be stored and will you transport it yourself? Then you’ll need to start planning where to go. 

  • Stay local: From your home marina or yacht club, there will be a wealth of waterways to explore without straying too far. This allows you to get to know your vessel without the pressure of a more ambitious trip. 
  • Sunny climes: A classic holiday setting such as the Caribbean or Mediterranean are stunning locations to welcome in your retirement. A chance to kick back and relax with warm temperatures and steady winds. 
  • Inland retreats: Depending on your vessel, you may like to explore waterways and lakes. There are a wealth of options around the UK and beyond for an exploratory experience. 

Wherever you are in your boat purchasing journey, the comfort and style that you experience in your vessel will be heightened with bespoke upholstery. Contact us to make your boat interior beautiful.

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