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Sleeping on a boat

Sleeping on a boat overnight is a fun and relaxing adventure that every boater should have a chance to experience. As the light fades, everything around the water changes to create a new atmosphere that you can truly experience only when you're offshore. Of course, to get the maximum enjoyment out of sleeping on a boat, you must be properly prepared. Here are some important things to know about sleeping on a boat overnight.



Where to Sleep on a Boat Overnight

The most important thing to think about when sleeping on a boat overnight is the location where the boat will stay while you and your companions enjoy a good night's sleep. The best places for anchoring the boat for the night will be cozy, protected areas with calm waters. This means places without a lot of night traffic, places that are sheltered from high winds, and places that are out of strong currents. 

In many areas, there are plenty of places available that are good for sleeping on a boat. You just have to find out where they are. Use maps and charts to do your research and find the best locations in the areas you are traveling to. Make sure you arrive at the location while there's still plenty of light left to take a good look and spot any potential hazards, like rocks and shallow reefs, before they can cause trouble. 

When sleeping on a boat, you want to ensure that your vessel stays in place during the night, which means having the proper anchor to hold the boat. By using charts and other available resources, you can determine what type of bottom (mud, rock, sand, etc.) you will be dealing with and what type of anchor is best for that type of bottom. The anchor should have enough line to reach the bottom and hold the boat with the line sitting at an angle. 


boat cabin


Can you sleep on a boat in a marina?

A marina is one of the most popular locations for sleeping on a boat overnight because of the amenities and facilities available to boaters. However, different marinas can have different rules about staying on a boat overnight. In some marinas, sleeping on a boat is prohibited while others have a limit to how many days a boat can remain at anchor in the marina. Check the rules for the marina you are planning to visit beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive.

When staying in a marina overnight and sleeping on a boat, you will want to choose a calm area with minimal distractions to upset your boat. Many marinas recommend staying in a no-wake area so that you won't have to worry about wakes or running boats during the night. There may also be restrictions on fishing or swimming in the area near the marina due to the electricity running to the docks. More information: How to Choose the Right Marina




Can you sleep on a boat on the ocean?

Planning to spend the night on a yacht or other type of boat in the ocean is different than planning to sleep on a boat in a cove or at a marina. The biggest difference is that you cannot just drop anchor and go to sleep like you can in shallow water. Since the boat is constantly in motion, someone needs to be on watch throughout the night to watch for dangers and keep the boat safe. The simplest way to do this is to divide up the hours between the people on the boat so that everyone spends time on watch and also gets time to sleep.

Another difference when you sleep in a boat on the ocean is that the motion of the boat can be much more dramatic than on other bodies of water, making it harder to sleep comfortably. To avoid being tipped out of the berth during boating in rough water, set up a lee cloth or lee board for the berth before you depart on the trip so the shifting boat won't roll you out of bed.


Can you sleep on a boat on a lake?

As with marinas, whether or not you can sleep in a boat on a lake depends on the location. Some lakes have designated areas where boaters can anchor for the night and sleep on their boats. These are often called boat camping areas. To be allowed in these designated areas, your boat must have proper sleeping accommodations for all the people aboard. It must also have a Coast Guard-approved, self-contained sanitary unit installed in a location with complete privacy for users. 

Some lakes have registration and inspection requirements that must be met before you will be allowed to sleep on the boat. Lakes that are situated in state or national parks may also have rules about how the boat must be moored during hours when the park is not officially open and what distance from the shore is acceptable. State and federal anchorage rules require all boats to display an anchor light when moored for the night. Read more about: The Most Popular Types of Lake Boats


Boat on a lake


How to Sleep on a Boat

To get a good night's sleep on a boat, you need to feel comfortable and safe. Having the proper supplies and following some simple tips about how to sleep on a boat can go a long way toward making the experience enjoyable. Here are some of the most important tips for making sleeping on a boat easy and restful.

1. Bring plenty of lights and batteries to illuminate different areas of the boat at night, including a bright LED headlamp for hands-free use.
2. Nights on the water can be very cool, so bring cool-weather clothes and warm pajamas to help keep you comfortable at night.
3. As a group, establish an evening quiet time that all parties can agree to so those who want to go to sleep can do so uninterrupted. 
4. If you have difficulty sleeping around noises or lights, bring a sleeping mask that can block out light and soft earplugs to block out sound.
5. Lights at night can attract insects, especially in warmer climates, so bring screens, mosquito netting, and bug spray to keep insects from bothering you while you are trying to sleep.

More information: Sailing at Night: Top Tips


Final Thoughts

Whether you want to spend the night on a yacht in the ocean or sleep in a boat on a lake, overnight boating requires the right vessel for the job. At Rightboat, we have a large selection of boats for sale in a variety of styles to meet any group's boating needs. Take a look at our selection, and contact us with any questions you may have about the boats we have available.


Written By: Toi Williams

Toi grew up in coastal New England, Her parents had a second home on Newfound Lake, in New Hampshire. Because of this, Toi was able to enjoy boating at sea as well as in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Today, she regularly wakeboards and waterskis on her Malibu wake surfing boat. She also sailed at sea in Maine, and taken many trips to the Isles of Shoals.

More from: Toi Williams

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