This 24-year-old entrepreneur lives on a sailboat because San Francisco is so expensive — take a look

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Like many young people living in the outrageously expensive San Francisco Bay Area, Sarah Patterson found her first city dwelling on Craigslist. Instead of a tiny apartment, however, her new home was located in a marina.

Patterson has lived in a sailboat for about a year now. She tells Business Insider the money she saved by not renting an apartment enabled her to launch a startup – a direct-to-consumer, organic skincare company called Salinity – and still do things like any other 24-year-old.

Take a look inside Patterson’s life at sea.


At 24, Patterson became a homeowner and a startup founder. “How many people can say that?” she says with a smile from her perch at the back of the sailboat.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016, she found and purchased a sailboat on Craigslist in four days. She wanted to feel close to nature, “in the middle of it all.”

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

In November, Patterson moved into a new sailboat (pictured) with her now-husband, Charlie. They met in the marina just a few months earlier and eloped.

Finding the right man was like finding her first boat, she says: “When you know, you know.”

Patterson declined to name the cost of her and Charlie’s sailboat. In the Bay Area, boat owners pay between $250 and $1,111 a month to dock at a marina. Additional fees apply if the person wants to live aboard their vessel. Patterson warns that the cost of upkeep can also be prohibitive.


Today, she runs her startup, Salinity, from the 41-foot-long abode.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

It’s far from your typical office. The day begins with a sunrise yoga practice on the deck.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Around 8:30, she descends the stairs to prepare oatmeal and a latté in the kitchen.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Patterson brags that the boat’s wind turbine generates enough power to run the blender and charge her cell phone at the same time. The couple also plans to install solar panels.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

She then retreats to the back of the boat to begin her morning skincare routine.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

A few years ago, Patterson became fed up with the lack of transparency and quality of ingredients in most beauty products. She decided she wouldn’t put anything on her body that she wouldn’t feel good about eating. That concept planted the seed for Salinity.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Salinity’s serums, moisturizers, and mists contain botanicals and minerals sourced from land and sea. She harvests the sea salt, a natural exfoliator, from the Pacific herself.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Patterson says while many skincare ingredients do come from the earth, the vast majority of products are pumped full of “chemically processed synthetic ingredients that are changed beyond the point of recognition. … I am working to change this,” she adds.

Salinity’s products contain locally sourced ingredients that are never altered in a lab.


Then the workday can begin. Patterson tackles her email inbox first. Her cell phone plan includes an astronomical 20 GB of data a month so she can use the internet whenever.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Her home serves as a constant source of inspiration. A homemade spice rack, made of glass tubes and corks, gives off a tantalizing scent that complements the salty sea air.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Potted succulents hang in a vertical garden overhead.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

A giant seashell cups the engagement ring box that Charlie used in his proposal.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Everything in the sailboat has its rightful place. Patterson says the couple has to be diligent about putting things where they belong after use, otherwise the boat gets messy fast.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Coffee mugs hang from the ceiling in order to maximize space.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Patterson convinced her husband to store cooking ingredients in Mason jars because she liked their look and eco-friendliness, though glass and sailboats don’t go together well.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

When the water gets choppy, wire baskets stay in place with the help of simple latches.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

A drop-leaf table provides ample workspace and a cozy nook for reading.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

It’s impossible to be anything but a minimalist when you live in such close quarters.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Most days, Patterson takes off mid-morning to work out of a small studio she rents in the Bay Area. There, she makes products by hand and packages them for shipment.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Patterson can afford the workspace in part because she doesn’t live in San Francisco, the most expensive rental market in the US, according to real estate site Zumper.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Zumper


“It’s very stressful to save enough money for daily life, let alone [starting a company],” Patterson says. The first-time founder doesn’t have immediate plans to raise funding.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

In 2017, Patterson and her husband plan to leave the marina and sail the open seas, where she will continue to run Salinity from her mobile office.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

You can follow along on Patterson’s adventures on Instagram, @salinitystudio.