How to Exercise on a Sailboat

Written by Marin @Danielis on May 26, 2017 in Sailing Stories

1. Choose a boat with plenty of room.


First of all, if you haven’t yet placed your reservation, try and pick a boat where you will have an easy time working out. If you can, go for a catamaran rather than a monohull. The forward area of a catamaran on the trampoline provides a lot of open space. The cockpit also offers a good option.

What if you are stuck on a monohull? Don’t fret; if you are determined, you will still find room to exercise, especially if you make clever use of objects you perceive to be in your way. Furniture does not have to be a problem if you turn it into an exercise prop!

2. Bring equipment—or make use of what is already there.

There are many kinds of exercise equipment which you can manage to bring onboard a vessel and use effectively.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Suspension trainer: You can rig this up to the mast on a catamaran and work out directly on the trampoline. You can work out your arms and legs with a variety of different exercises with the help of this simple device.

  • Yoga mat: Yoga mats are wonderfully portable; you just roll them up and carry them where you need them. You can bring them on shore with you to work out as well.

  • Portable stair-steppers: Bring a portable stair stepper for yet another easy way to work out your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads.
  • Resistance bands: They are portable and have diferent resistance levels (up to 150kg). They can almost replace any GYM exercise. 

Of course, you may not need to bring equipment onboard at all if you just make use of what is already on your boat! Your companionway may very well work as a stair-stepper—and your fender can substitute for a Swiss ball.

3. Perform simple onboard exercises.

You do not actually need exercise equipment to work out, even to engage in strength training. There are a lot of different workouts you can do using just the weight of your own body.

Some examples include:

  • Squats: You can do these standing pretty much anywhere! They are an excellent way to work out your lower body and torso. If you subtly shift your stance (to the side for example), you can target different muscle groups.
  • Pushups: You need very little space to perform push-ups, and they are a great way to get your upper body in shape. If you cannot do a full pushup, go down on one or both knees to reduce the amount of weight on your arms, shoulders and back.
  • Sit-ups or crunches: Use these to exercise your torso and back. These require so little room you could probably even do them in your cabin.
  • Stretches: There are any number of stretches which you can do on a boat without using a lot of room. If you are not sure where to begin, I again recommend yoga. You do yoga on a mat, so most stretches do not take up much space at all.


Because these workouts require little in the way of space and nothing in the way of equipment, you have no real excuse for not keeping up with them. Even if you just make room for 10-15 minutes a day of exercising, you should see great results.

4. Work out in the water.


Your yacht may very well have water sports equipment already onboard—which is a great opportunity to work out right near your vessel. If you happen to be moored at a marina, you can also ask around; you may very well find that they have equipment you can rent (at that rate, they may also have bicycles or even a gym or swimming pool).

There is so much you can do to get fit in the water—kayak, canoe, snorkel, dive, or just go swimming (which is actually a perfect whole body workout).

5. Exercise on the beach.

If you drop anchor near a beach, consider doing your next workout on the sand! There are actually quite a few benefits to beach workouts. With a constantly shifting workout surface, you will end up using muscles that you usually do not get to exercise. You have to expend more energy to do the same number of reps, and if you happen to fall over doing an exercise, you are less likely to get seriously inured than you are on a completely hard surface.

Some exercises you can try on the beach include walking lunges, bodyweight squats, knee pushups, planks and long jumps.


PS Don`t forget beach or water volleyball :)

6. Go hiking or walking or do other activities on shore.


It is easy to forget the obvious sometimes—but remember, just because you are spending an extended time on a yacht, that does not mean that you have to do your workouts onboard every day.

You will probably be dropping anchor at quite a few destinations while you are on your trip. During those breaks on land, there will be all kinds of opportunities for you to work out. Go on a walking tour of a city or take a hike in a national park. Ride a bicycle or play a game of volleyball.

Conclusion: Exercising While You Are On a Chartered Yacht Holiday Is Easier Than You Think

A lot of people who take extended trips on yachts give up their exercise routines. They may seem to lament the fact, but as you can see, excuses like “there simply is not enough space” fall pretty flat when you look at the reality.

If you really want to stay in shape on a yacht, you should have no problem—even on a fairly cramped monohull. And remember, you have the whole ocean, the beaches, and the cities and parks on the islands where you drop anchor as well at your disposal. That is plenty of space to work out and have a blast doing it!