5 Reasons NOT To Start A Sailing YouTube Channel!

“You both seem like a couple of hoity-toity rich people who, if given a million dollars in cash, would complain they weren’t new bills…”


The main reason we decided to live on a boat was to escape the rat-race, but having a sailing channel is like working again. Bringing out a new video every week eats into your sailing and travelling time. When we started, it took half the week to edit one episode!

BUT: Although you could call it ‘work’ it’s something we love doing! Jamie’s kept a diary since he was a kid, and we’ve had a blog since before we started this life back in 2006, it progressed to recording podcasts, a full-blown website and now weekly videos. It’s our hobby, something we love doing, so it doesn’t feel like work to us.

It’s true that a sailing channel eats into your time, not just the filming and editing, but all the marketing, social media and answering questions requires a lot of attention. But then what else are you gonna do? Sailing only accounts for about 10% of a cruiser’s time. The rest is spent travelling on land. Some people learn languages, improve their cooking skills, do a little work around the area for other sailors or like bird-watching. You need other interests as a cruiser – for us it’s video-making

It took a long time to get to grips with what to film and how to edit. It’s a steep learning curve to get it right and we are still pushing ourselves and learning new skills, so it really helps to keep your brain active.

  1. Unless you’re SV Delos (259k+ subscribers) or La Vagabonde (388k+ subscribers), both excellent and well executed channels which have been around for a long while, you will not make huge amounts of money. And even these popular sailing channels are dwarfed by the most successful YouTube channels – Philip DeFranco (6m) Casey Neistat (9m) PewDiePie (62m). Sailing’s a pretty small and niche corner.
  2. YouTube monetised videos do make an income, but you need hundreds of thousands of views per upload to start to make anywhere near a living from advertising revenue.
  3. Patreon and our Buy Us A Beer (“Rum Fund” on followtheboat) are both ways of getting a little cash for your efforts, but unless you can attract thousands of followers, it won’t be enough to keep you afloat. After two years, we have 28k subscribers and 267 fantastic, awesome, generous patreons! That’s less than 1% of our YouTube subscribers. Even Delos (last time we looked) had only 1881 and La Vagabonde 2021 patrons, way less than 1% of their subscribers.
  4. Finally, the monthly outlay and on-going operation costs are expensive:
    1. Camera and sound equipment (check out our equipment in the descriptions underneath any of our YouTube videos)
    2. Laptops powerful enough for editing big files. (NOTE – equipment doesn’t fair well in a marine environment, so expect to be replacing far more often than you would on land)
    3. Editing software – we pay a hefty monthly subscription for our Adobe suite of apps.
    4. Upload charges using phone wifi in faraway places can be very expensive.
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  • Boats make filming difficult – they rock about all over the place, the wind never stops, and the lighting changes rapidly.
  • Once bitten by the filming bug, you’ll see the flaws in films which you never noticed before. You’ll be rewinding all the time to check out why that scene looked so good – or so bad!
    BUT… You’ll find new angles, filming techniques and methods of story-telling to improve your own output. It’s a great learning exercise and what you find will inspire you!

  1. Yep, sex sells. So unless you can fill your boat with bikini-clad girls and ripped boys, you won’t attract the big numbers. Our video entitled “Naked Sailing” has 182k+ views… way higher than our average total views.
  2. ‘Disaster’ posts are always popular, so unless you are going to have some kind of disaster, manufacture one or write click-baity titles, expect to be less than popular with your average YouTuber.
  3. Depressingly, negative videos are more popular than a positive story. We recently brought out two videos on boat ownership and were astonished at the popularity of one of them.
    At the time of writing “5 Reasons NOT to Buy a Boat” has 101k views, while “5 Reasons Why You SHOULD Buy a Boat” comes in at a lowly 12.7k views. And that’s despite a thumbnail which says “Boats Are Sexy” Haha!

Click image for video:


This is the biggy. You really need a thick skin when it comes to reading comments.

  • People will correct your spelling, pronunciation and everything you say.
  • They will make all kinds of assumptions about you
  • Some will feel it’s their duty to criticise your appearance.
  • And some will explain why other sailing channels are better than yours

  • “…go back to your condo…”
  • “…stop whinging…”
  • “…this video should be titled middle aged people state the bleeding obvious…”
  • “…typical whinging poms…”
  • “…some folks see the cup half full, some half empty, these folks are the latter…”
  • “… I find all of your negative opinions completely wrong. I have been sailing for over sixty years and I am enjoying every day of it. I think you have a bad attitude…”
  • “…so, begging for $$$, lmfao@you…”
  • “…Poms complain all the time…”
  • “…does your wife spit or swallow?…”

And there are many more unrepeatable comments, mostly about our appearance, age, being rich (if only that were true!) and being British!

You’ll be surprised how many people simply hate the fact that YouTubers ask for some kind of financial reward. You see these kinds of comments all over YouTube channels:
“…Stop begging for money from Patreon and other social media and get a proper job!”
They fail to notice that we are all working hard at putting out content for free, and these are entirely voluntary thank yous sent to us by people who like what we do, and who want to reward us in some way.

We used to get upset, but you learn to laugh at them and not take this kind of thing to heart. We have learned to leave comments like this alone – they’re often just internet trolls. And leaving the nasty comments up shows the commenter to be an ignorant twit. The only time we delete comments is if they are racist, sexist, homophobic or rude. Luckily YouTube will filter out most of these comments before they go public, putting them in a ‘Held Comments’ file for you to approve or not.


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15 thoughts on “5 Reasons NOT To Start A Sailing YouTube Channel!”

  1. Thank you for the post, just as you mentioned, I clicked on the negative sounding title, after I had typed a simple positive question in my internet search!
    We, too, have a YouTube channel with very few followers, but I make our videos on my cell phone and our friends and family enjoy following us. For now, that is enough.

  2. I am a little late to this post but it is just want I needed. All very good points and that last bit really solidifies it for me.

    We have been living aboard for a couple years while also doing day jobs. We really just want to travel and I love making videos so maybe its time to make that transition despite the many reasons not to. Loving doing it is reason enough!

    We have a simple blog going so far with only a small following but it is a start. Just trying to figure out how to move into video. If you’re interested in looking, our blog is at waywardlearning.com.

    I have appreciated the information I have gotten from you guys and in fact some of your videos helped us to decide to buy a boat. Thank you!

  3. I have to say.. first i was speechless, then felt ashamed, then pissed. all those #$%&%^%$ , who make stupid comments regarding your age, appearance etc..are just a bunch of jealous couch potatoes who dream of the life you have, and hope for the strength and courage you posses.
    so please. pretty please, with sugar on top. ignore those Wanna Be nolifes, and keep up the great job you do. i know. it might not be financially rewarding. but please think of someone like me.. who watches your channel with admiration and positive jealousy, hopping to be able to enjoy this lifestyle at some point in life. if you ever decide for god knows what reason to visit Poland and feel like it. let me know. i would love to invite you guys for a beer!

  4. Hi Liz and Jamie!

    Thanks so much for posting this! I recently bought a Hunter 310, and your channel was one of the first I found. I so appreciate your down-to-earth and candid presence, and although I really like watching SV Delos too, you have inspired me to start a YouTube channel for our boat (my fiance and I are in our late 50’s!)

    Living in the Seattle area, we will mostly be sailing around the waters of the Puget Sound, so no world-travelling, island hopping, sexy videos for us!! However, we do want to focus on the beauty of the PNW, and especially the endangered Southern Resident Orca population that resides here. It’s my goal to bring awareness to the plight of these amazing animals, and maybe help to reestablish their numbers in the wild.

    I do realize that we won’t have massive amounts of followers, but if we can effect change, even in a small way, I will be the happiest YouTuber alive!

    Thanks again for your inspiring videos, and we will keep watching, so keep on making them!

    1. If you’re going to be sailing in that part of the world we should bump into you (not literally!). Plan is to be in PNW next year around September, than probably head to either Vancouver or Seattle to over-winter. Good luck with your plans, they sound excellent. Perhaps we’ll interview you when we meet…

  5. Hi Jamie and Liz
    My partner, daughter, Border Collie and myself have just recently bought a Tayana 55 to live aboard full time to get away from the c@#p that is going down in this world. We have been inspired by not only yourselves but the other popular sailing couples and families and have sold everything we own to do this….no going back!!!! We are in our 60s so have left it very late but I would rather say we tried than lament the what ifs….
    We need some advice on places to go/live and would like to correspond with you on a more private level if that is possible. Looking forward to further contact and your awesome videos!! We were among the thousands that watched your 5 reasons not to buy a boat and still did it anyway….LOL
    No telling some people….
    Cheers Geoff

    1. We’re thrilled to read that we had any part in inspiring you to go for it! We hope you come to enjoy this life as much as we do – for coming up to 13 years now! We’re so pleased you realised the ‘5 reasons not to buy a boat’ vid was tongue in cheek mixed with a bit of realism, quite a few didn’t get it, haha! Unfortunately we do not have the time or resources to correspond with everyone who contacts us. But check through some of our Q&A episodes for lots of answers to lots of questions. If you become Patrons we will be happy to correspond directly with you (https://www.patreon.com/followtheboat). Peace and fair winds! Liz x

  6. Great message and thanks for putting it out there. We are in our first year of cruising and have a YouTube channel for friends and family, but don’t expect to get rich and famous off of it 😉 I agree, it does take a lot of work to edit the videos and like yall, we love to go back and relive our experiences so would create even if nobody watches, but for me it is EXTREMELY hard to have the thick skin and more than I should personally and to the heart. Keep up the great work, we love watching yall!

    1. Yes, it’s great putting them together and reminding ourselves what we’ve been up to and why we do it! The videos also help to seer those memories into our minds. Peace and fair winds!

  7. Despite the (hopefully very few) negative comments, It should be obvious to most common sense folks that you two represent what is good with this world we live in. There is a great deal of positive attributes about your life style, way to many to mention here. Just suffice it to say that you two appear to be very honestly comfortable “in your own skin”. please keep on doing what your doing. I am an older retired man with a background in construction and maintenance, so I especially like your videos when the boat is on land and all the retro going on, and how you tie it in to the entire community around you. I truly appreciate your efforts to show you and your travels in a honest and forthright way as I think ninety nine percent of you YouTube viewers do.

    1. Thank you for the generous and positive feedback. You’re going to love the next month or so as we get to grips with preparing Esper for her long passage east!

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