Long-distance cruising is a great way to unwind and feel free. Before you set sail though, you need to see to the logistics of your long-range cruising adventure. With this in mind, one thing you have to figure out is: Can a trawler cross the ocean?
Most trawler owners know that their powerboat scores top marks when it comes to offering comfortable accommodations and amazing cruising speeds in fine weather conditions.
However, what most beginner trawler owners can’t say for certain is how their trawler will do against the thousands of nautical miles that ocean passages usually span.
If you want to live that lifelong dream of cruising around the world without giving up all the comforts of home, here’s all you need to know to make that happen.
Can Trawler Cross the Ocean?
Yes, it can.
Trawlers are capable of crossing major oceans. You can easily travel the lengths of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in trawler yachts. But if you’re thinking of traveling such a wide cruising range, you need to ensure the fuel tanks can hold enough fuel necessary for such a trip.
Not all trawlers are capable of traveling the ocean – this isn’t a given. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of modern recreational trawlers aren’t capable of making this trip.
If you’re intent on making an ocean crossing, you have to make sure of two things.
The first is that your liveaboard trawler has the powerful engines necessary for lengthy sea travel. Second, you need to make sure that you possess the skills and equipment for such an endeavor.
Let’s go into greater detail on these two factors.
What Are Trawlers?
Trawlers are a special type of powerboat. They possess distinct features like a full-displacement hull or a semi-displacement hull that makes it easy for them to travel thousands of miles of ocean water at a time.
In addition to a unique displacement hull shape, trawlers carry power engines that are fuel-efficient and don’t exhaust excess horsepower.
In most cases, a full or semi-displacement trawler will also feature a living area below the deck. This gives the seafarer the option of staying aboard for longer periods at a time.
Originally, all trawlers were reserved for the fishing boat industry. But in more recent times, the development and popularity of recreational trawlers have made them something more.
Major Types of Trawlers
There are different types of trawlers out there. But they all fall into one of two categories:
These are the first and most common types of trawlers available today.
A fishing trawler is a type of commercial fishing boat that’s designed to carry and operate trawls. Trawling refers to the process of fishing by dragging a trawl (or large net) across a body of water by one or more trawlers.
Depending on various factors like geographical origin, the type of fish they catch, and the naval architecture of the boat, some types of fishing trawlers are:
- The Otter trawler
- The Pair trawler
- The Outrigger trawler
- The bean trawler
- The Purse trawler
- The Wet Fish trawler
- The Naval trawler
- The Freezer trawler
A relatively more recent development, trawler yachts are recreational trawlers that are somewhat similar in design to standard yachts.
Unlike fishing trawlers, these aren’t built for commercial use. Instead, they’re designed with comfort and luxury in mind. As such, this type of boats will often offer features like full air conditioning, staterooms, and more comfortable accommodations for its passengers.
Sometimes mistaken for a sailboat by the uninitiated, this type of trawler uses a form of displacement hull shape while the latter relies on essential parts like the boom, mast, jib, and tiller.
Sailboat cruisers also often rely on wind turbines while trawlers leverage a fuel-efficient inboard engine.
However, both types of boats are very similar when it comes to the activities they have room for.
How Difficult is an Atlantic Crossing?
Atlantic ocean travel isn’t necessarily difficult, provided you can account for all the proper variables before you leave port. Since it can mean spending a long time on terrain you’re not very familiar with, you need to prepare for the potential dangers on such journeys like large waves, strong winds, bad weather conditions, and even collisions with other boats and freighters.
As one of the major oceans of the world, it can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to complete an Atlantic crossing. The crossing time could be even longer though, depending on the route you take.
When preparing for such a voyage, you need to make sure you cover the basics extensively. This involves:
- Ensuring that your trawler is in perfect condition to undertake an ocean crossing.
- Stocking up on supplies. We always advise that trawler yacht owners carry at least 60 days’ worth of supplies with them. This is more so the case with food and fresh water as you could get stranded anywhere.
- Picking the right time of the year to travel as hurricanes and especially strong winds are a real concern in the Atlantic.
- Planning your activities for the entire voyage. Even the wonderful feeling of cruising the high seas may start to dissipate in the face of extended boredom. So make sure you bring something to do.
How Much Fuel Do You Need to Cross the Atlantic?
Assuming the trawler has efficient fuel consumption and can take up to 3,000 liters, the trip across the Atlantic ocean spans about 3,000 nautical miles. If you’re traveling at cruising speeds of 9 knots per hour, all things being equal, the trip will take about 333 hours.
Most trawlers come with a single engine but a boat builder can choose to put two. This, coupled with the speeds at which you’re traveling, can greatly affect the rate of fuel consumption on your trip.
On average, the higher the speed you’re traveling at, the faster the rate you burn through fuel. The larger your trawler is, the more fuel you can also expect to consume.
What Kind of Boats Can Cross the Ocean?
Technically, a wide range of boat types can handle ocean travel. Aside from trawlers, other vessels capable of long-range cruising are:
- Boats with exceptional performance capabilities
- Center console boats
- Power cruisers
- Cabin sailors
While all of these vessels can travel the seas, they can do so to varying degrees. Even though it is possible to cross the Atlantic or Pacific oceans in a smaller boat, we strongly recommend you make the voyage in a 30 or 40-foot boat, at the bare minimum.
The reason for this is that settling for less space can be potentially dangerous. The longer the trip goes on, the more inconvenient a smaller boat is likely to become.
When picking your seafaring boat, there are three elements to always keep in mind:
The Boat’s Seaworthiness
How seaworthy a boat is can be crucial to your ocean crossing.
The long list of maritime disasters in the 20th century alone is ample proof that even boats bigger than 40 feet can succumb to the ocean’s blue water.
Now, if larger ships are unable to completely manage the rough waters and bad weather conditions of the seas sometimes, what are the chances a small vessel will fare better?
Contrary to what some people might lead you to believe, it isn’t possible to plan your trip around potential inclement weather. For example, the Pacific Ocean has an average of 9 major hurricanes each year and even more smaller ones.
There’s no real way of accurately predicting when or where one will hit.
The best you can do is make sure you’re traveling on a boat that can at least withstand the ravages of the rough waters.
Keep in mind that not every 30 or 40-foot boat is seaworthy enough to cross the Atlantic. But if it meets that size minimum, it’ll at least stand a decent chance.
The Storage Space Available
Even if you’re intent on doing as much open fishing as possible while you travel, you still need to have plenty of provisions on board if you plan to cross any major oceans.
Naturally, you’ll need a lot of resources. However, the most important supplies to pack are food and fresh water – enough for you and your crew for the entire duration of the trip.
Crossings may not always take as much time as you think. Even if it did, it’s not like you’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere – depending on your route, you’ll almost always be able to find a port. But you can’t afford to take any chances.
Crossings can take longer than expected and machines can break down. Because of this, having enough space to store all your supplies, fuel, and even a backup motor can make all the difference.
Along these lines, you’ll need to make sure you know just how much weight your boat can hold.
Too much weight can cause a boat to sit lower in the water. That is enough to compromise the seaworthiness of even a perfect boat.
Your Comfort and Convenience
Considering that everyone will be together in a restricted space for much of the trip, you need to get a boat that can let your crew breathe and establish their own space aboard.
Even if you plan on having just one or two crew members, getting a 30 or 40-foot boat is still ideal. It’ll help them easily stretch their legs and potentially reduce any crankiness that might surface during the trip.
How Much Experience Do You Need to Sail Across the Atlantic?
As long as you have a little sailing experience and the right boat for the trip, the process of crossing the ocean shouldn’t be an overly challenging adventure.
The most intimidating aspect of the trip for most sailors is how vast the Atlantic ocean is.
While it’ll likely be one of the greatest sailing undertakings of your life, with detailed planning and preparation, you’ll be able to manage just fine.
However, one thing you must ensure is that your crew has plenty of ocean-crossing experience. Even if you’re an old hand yourself, having one or two crew members familiar with ocean passages can make the experience less stressful for you.
Managing a trawler isn’t quite the same as caring for a small, sailing craft – it requires a substantial amount of effort.
When your crew automatically knows what to do and when, you can almost guarantee smooth sailing.
Living on a Trawler – What to Expect
Can a trawler cross the ocean? Sure.
But to do that successfully, you’re going to have to live on the trawler, aren’t you?
This poses an interesting question – How is life on a liveaboard trawler? What can you expect from the day-to-day?
While a coastal cruiser is created to replicate the comforts of home, the fact remains that it isn’t home. Considering this, here is all you need to know when it comes to the actual experience of crossing the ocean in a trawler.
Can You Live on a Trawler? Are Trawlers Safe?
Yes and yes.
Among seasoned sailors, living on a trawler is the ultimate expression of freedom and boundless potential. While life might not be perfect, it can be incredibly relaxing and bring you closer to nature.
As for whether it’s safe, most recreational trawlers are perfectly safe to live on, especially when properly maintained.
With that said, life on a trawler isn’t for everyone.
If you’re planning your first crossing, some elements you should consider are:
The Psychological Aspect
Even though you might be looking forward to the trip, it’s common to think thoughts like:
Do I really want to be on the water that long?
What if something goes wrong?
To ease these thoughts, you could do a dry run first. Try living aboard for a few days to see if you can adapt to that life.
Food and Water
Your approach to food and water will have to change. This is primarily because these resources won’t be as readily available once you set sail. Because of this, you would need to learn how to properly store food and water so it lasts longer.
Do you want to live off the grid or do you prefer the convenience of electricity? Living on a trawler demands that you evaluate factors like these to see how important they are to you.
As clean water is an extremely valuable resource once aboard a trawler, you’ll often need to dock at some point just so you can find a laundry shop.
Some trawlers come with water tanks but these tend to be very expensive.
What is the Cost of Living Aboard a Trawler
There’s no fixed answer to this. Factors like fuel, the distance traveled, and your normal personal expenses will play varying roles in how much you end up spending.
Other elements that might affect your cost of living include your insurance premium, the cost of spare parts, and your monthly slip.
On average, you will likely spend a little more than a sailboat owner would. However, the extra space and improved mobility options you get with a trawler more than make up for this.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Living on a Trawler?
On the plus side, you get increased stability, better live-aboard conditions, and full amenities as a trawler owner. On the other hand, this type of boat can be very expensive to maintain, doesn’t have any water sports capabilities, and has limited speed.
Here are all the pros and cons of owning a trawler:
As longer trawlers feature full-displacement hulls, you’re afforded exceptional balance, even in very rough waters. The displacement hulls enable the boat to more easily plane through the water at lower cruising speeds.
Thanks to large fuel tanks and remarkably efficient engines (at low speeds), even a (21-foot) diesel-powered trawler spirit will give you a decent range and help you get into remote fishing locations easier.
Full Amenities and Comfortable Accommodations
While a sailboat owner will likely argue the case for their boat over a trawler, one thing even they can’t deny is that you get better liveaboard accommodations and amenities with most models of trawlers.
Not only do they offer more legroom, but many even come with features like full bathrooms, sleeping quarters, and kitchens.
Decent Fuel Economy
You can get a longer cruising range thanks to the fuel-efficient diesel engine most trawlers carry. This long-range cruising ability makes them the perfect boat for long journeys and open fishing expeditions.
Comfortable Walk-Around Deck Design
These larger boats help you reach all sides of the boat so you have more room to stretch your legs and navigate while fishing.
Doesn’t Support Any Watersports
Unlike some other boat types, trawlers don’t come with jet skis. So you can’t do things like spearfish or enjoy water sports with them.
As they’re built for cruising rather than high performance, you won’t get much speed with this type of boat. Pushing them above 10 knots can considerably diminish their fuel efficiency levels.
High Cost of Maintenance
When you purchase larger boats in this category, they come with bigger motors that can quickly rack up slip fees and other costs. Because of this, maintaining these boats can get very pricey.
Trawler Inside Passage – Is It Worth a Try?
Yes, it is. The comfortable build of a standard trawler makes it perfect for traveling the Inside Passage. What makes it so great here is that it gives you the choice of hunkering down or pushing on without worrying about fuel.
What is Considered Inside Passage?
The Inside Passage refers to the sailing distance between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. In this area, the water is somewhat protected from the open northern Pacific ocean.
Beyond that immediate area, from Puget Sound to Alaska where there isn’t as much shelter, the slow and steady cruising speeds of a trawler still come in handy as you properly soak in the beautiful scenery around you.
This route is broadly divided into three portions – the Washington portion, the British Columbia portion, and the Alaska portion.
How Much is an Inside Passage Cruise?
If you plan on making the trip with your trawler, then all you have to deal with are fuel costs and other basic living expenses.
People who follow a commercial cruising expedition will usually spend anywhere between $600 to $5,000, depending on the number of days and nights they plan to use and the type of liner they pick.
How Long Does It Take to do the Inside Passage?
End to end, the Inside Passage spans over a thousand miles so it can take a trawler 5 to 7 days to cover its entire length.
That being said, most people go to this location for things like the view and the cuisine. So, for a more complete experience, you might need to spend anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks.
Picking the Best Seaworthy Trawlers
As you now know, the answer to the question, “Can a trawler cross the ocean?” is heavily dependent on whether it’s seaworthy enough for the task.
Now, because of how expensive getting a trawler can be, you need to make sure you get your choice right the first go-around. Here are four important things to keep in mind when purchasing a seaworthy trawler.
1. Determine Your Needs
In this case, you want a trawler capable of making an Atlantic or Pacific crossing. Because of this, you need a trawler that’ll give you range as well as the live-aboard comfort level necessary for such a long trip.
2. Set Your Budget
Now that you know all you want out of your trawler, you need to consider the price. Keep in mind that the better the build quality of the trawler you choose, the less your maintenance costs will be later on.
3. Pick the Right Brand
Trawler brands are designed to meet the various demands of trawler owners. There are several great brands out there, each with its own unique gimmick.
Some brands like Grand Banks are popular for their high fuel efficiency while others like Kadey-Krogen tend to offer more exterior space.
4. Consult a Professional Broker
Most people don’t buy more than 2 or 3 trawlers in their lifetime, at the most. Because of this, advice from a friend who owns a trawler might result in you missing a few things.
When you enlist the aid of a professional trawler broker who has seen various types of trawlers in action, they can help you make a more informed final decision.
Having said this, we’ll also give our recommendations when it comes to picking certain types of trawlers.
Best Used Trawlers in 2022
- Top Pick – Kadey-Krogen 39 (43 ft Long)
- Runner Up – Nordic Tug 37 (39 ft Long)
Kadey-Krogen 39 Specs
The boatbuilder responsible for this masterpiece is Asia Harbor Yacht Builders Co., Ltd. It has a range of 4,170 NM at 6 knots and can almost half that distance at 7 knots. It runs on a 115 HP John Deere main engine and features a Twin Disc model transmission and dual prop powerful thrusters.
This trawler is spacious enough to accommodate a liveaboard couple with plenty of room to spare.
Nordic Tug 37 Specs
At exactly 39’ 10” with a beam of 12’ 11”, this boat ensures that you have ample room to move around for the length of your trip. It has a maximum capacity of 324 gallons of fuel and can hold about 150 gallons of water.
It comes with a single 330 HP Cummins diesel engine and tops out at 17 knots.
Why They’re Great
If you’re lucky enough to find either of these used trawlers in good condition, we encourage you to jump on the offer. Either option could be considered the best used trawler for the money.
These boats do carry a rather high price tag. But if you’re intent on making a Pacific or Atlantic crossing, the resources they put at your disposal are invaluable.
Not only do they offer you the space and comfort you’ll need to enjoy the trip, but they’re also tested and trusted ships that have been known to make such trips in the past. Because of this, they give you that much-needed level of assurance that you’re in good hands.
Best Trawler for Caribbean Cruise
Top Pick –Swift Trawler 50
Runner Up – Nordhavn 41
Swift Trawler 50 Specs
With an overall length of 49’2” and a hull length o 43’9”, the Beneteau Swift Trawler 50 transforms the experience of cruising the Caribbean. It runs on an 870 HP engine and has a 2, 700-liter fuel tank.
You’ll also be able to carry all the water you need for the trip thanks to its 800-liter water tank. The trawler also comes with two refrigerators and a service hatch. It has an extensively decorated interior as well that does much to add to the elegance of the trip.
Why It’s Great
Not only does this craft meet and exceed all the basic requirements needed for it to be seaworthy for a Caribbean voyage, but it also boasts a very luxurious interior. In addition to the wealth of convenience amenities it comes with, the trawler is also fully customizable as well.
The only downside we can see to considering this trawler for your trip is that it costs a pretty penny. Beyond that, you’re not likely to find a more fitting boat for your Caribbean adventure.
Nordhavn 41 Specs
Sitting at an overall length of 41’3” and a hull length of 39’99”, the Nordhavn 41 isn’t quite as spacious as the Swift Trawler 50 but it offers you much of the same comfort.
It also gives you a larger fuel and water tank at 3, 407 and 1, 136 Liters respectively. It has a tastefully decorated interior as well and will give you a real bang for your buck during the trip.
Why It’s Great
This trawler is seaworthy enough to embark on a lengthy Caribbean cruise. Even though it isn’t the largest, its interior is still more than comfortable enough for two. The best part of getting this trawler is that it’s specially built to last.
The only downside is that it might not be as fuel-efficient as you would like.
1. Can You Travel the World in a Trawler?
Yes, you can.
As long as you pick the right trawler for such an adventure, stock up properly for the trip, and have a skilled crew at hand, you can easily use your trawler to see the world.
2. How Big of a Boat Do You Need to Cross the Ocean?
A minimum of 30 to 40 feet long.
The length is important because it not only directly affects the seaworthiness of the boat but it also gives you enough space to pack all you’d need to safely see your trip to the end.
3. Are Trawlers Good for Rough Seas?
Trawlers like the Swift Trawler 50 and the Nordhavn 41 are built to safely withstand rough seas. However, they’re powerless against hurricanes.
4. How Far Can a Trawler Go?
The best trawlers can cover the vast expanse of any ocean with ease. These types of boats are specifically for long-range cruising so, as long as you’re well-prepared, there’s no distance you can’t go.
However, the same can’t be said of most average recreational trawlers as those are built more for style than for travel.
So, can a trawler cross the ocean?
Yes, it can.
But because not every boat in this category can achieve this feat, you need to make sure you’re aware of some things first. We hope we were able to cover most of the questions you have here.
If you’d like more pointers on choosing the perfect long-range trawler, be sure to leave us a message down below. We’re always happy to help.