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Living the Pirate Lifestyle

Updated on November 4, 2012

How one family lives their dream - onboard a sailboat!

Onboard Living!

Captain Rob Lee, his wife Cheri, and their son Jonathan have been living aboard their sailboat, the sv Bella Rose, since August of 2005.

They offer a wealth of resources on how to get started living aboard, as well as some fun pictures and antecdotes.

Rob has written numerous resources on living the "pirate lifestyle" as he calls it, as well as how to begin living "off the grid".

The trawler pictured here belongs to an 80 year old woman named Mo and her dog Honey. Mo and Honey cruise full time by themselves!

Living aboard the Bella Rose

Bella Rose is a 1981 11.0C S2 sailboat. She is a 36 ft center cockpit sloop, which the family purchased and completely remodeled.

Rob says "We chose this life to be self-sufficient and independent, to live "green" and be a member of the natural world" and made a "Commitment to live the life. To live in the moment and take each day for what it is".

The family moved aboard two weeks before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast. It took nearly 18 months for them to complete repairs on Bella Rose while they continued living onboard, but they were determined to make it work!

Rob with his Friend Mac

Rob with his Friend Mac
Rob with his Friend Mac

Captain Rob's - Pirate Lifestyle TV!


Rob on living Green

published in "Living Aboard" magazine: Sept/Oct 2007

I have always been environmentally savvy. This is probably part of the attraction of the living aboard lifestyle. As long as I can remember I have been concerned and aware of the environment. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. I attended high school and college in the '70s. If fact, the college I attended was Environmental Studies focused.

My original life-plan was to homestead - move to rural American and be self-sufficient on my own piece of land. I was big time into solar, wind, water, wood, all forms of alternative power. I have always tried to keep my energy footprint small. For example, I heated my home with firewood for 17 years, and I lived in a far northern state.

One of my biggest concerns is energy waste. Consider what is commonly called "leaking electricity." Leaking electricity is responsible for 5 percent of all household electricity usage. This is electricity used by appliances (television, satellite systems, cordless tools, chargers and much more) when they are OFF. Yes, off. Then, of course, there is conserving/reducing heating, cooling, and lighting waste.

How about water waste? The "typical" American family of four uses 250 gallons of water per day (inside the home), and 100 gallons per day of that usage is caused simply by flushing the toilet. Doing the math, that totals 1,750 gallons per week! We, a family of three, only use about 80 gallons per week. OK, we also do two loads of laundry a week for another 50 gallons or so.

At the moment we are "plugged in," but we have lived off the grid before. Once we were off grid for 11 continuous months. On our boat we use a generator to produce the minimal electricity we require when disconnected from shore power. If we were to cruise across oceans I would probably install solar panels and a wind generator.

Liveaboards don't just talk the talk, they also walk the walk.

Cruising Life on a Sailboat - By Rob Lee

A poem by Rob - Life is a Journey

We come to many, many forks in the road of life...

Do we choose the left fork or the right fork??

It doesn't matter,,,,, really!

Because each road continues on,,,,,

This journey of life.....

We can look back and see where we have been,

We can look around and see where we are,,,

Can we ever truly know where we are going?


By the way,

If you are not happy with the road you are traveling search for a fork.

So I ask again.

Do we choose the left fork or the right fork???

Continuing on the journey of life is the important issue.

So choose, make a decision, continue on, wherever the road takes you.


You can not live your life, standing still, at a fork in the road.

The journey of life is endless.....

Rob, June 2005

More resources for Living Aboard

What are your thoughts on living aboard? - Any comments are appreciated!

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    • CCGAL profile image


      9 years ago

      My husband would be deliriously happy to live aboard a boat, but I would not be able to sleep, I think. I don't swim well, and am not too enthusiastic about being out on the water like that. Still, it was fascinating to learn about, and the pirate fun stuff was a swell addition. Good job!

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 

      10 years ago from Lancaster PA

      So very cool!!

      Great Job!!

      Maybe living on the sea is a thing of the future!! (For some of us!!)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens here! How wonderful to live on the sea!


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