Nikki Walsh, 24, and boyfriend Tanner Broadwell, 26, decided nearly a year ago they were tired of working.
“How can we live our lives when we’re working most of the day and you have to pay so much just to live?” Ms Walsh, who booked timeshare tours for a living, said to the New York Post.
“Most of the work you do goes to your home. There has to be another option,” she added.
So, the Colorado couple sold all their furniture and their SUV and purchased a 49-year-old boat in Alabama to live on and eventually sail the world in.
The couple moved onto the 8.5m boat, which was in the marina of Tarpon Springs, a town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and lived there for months with their two-year-old pug, Remy, while they stocked up on food and supplies.
“We were pretty prepared,” Ms Walsh said, of gathering items to last them for their planned trip to the Caribbean.
However, the two were not prepared for what happened next.
Nearly two days into their venture, the couple’s boat capsized in a channel of water called John’s Pass.
“We thought the channel was where we were going, but it wasn’t,” Ms Walsh told the New York Post, telling the publication they were armed with GPS and paper navigation charts.
Local boat captains say the sandbars often shift in John’s Pass.
“We started freaking out because waves were coming, and it was tossing our boat back and forth,” Ms Walsh recalled.
Mr Broadwell was at the rear of the boat, holding onto Remy when the trouble hit.
“My hands were shaking. We were terrified,” he said.
Before abandoning ship, Ms Walsh said they grabbed some clothes and important documents, as well as things for their dog.
“I also grabbed Remy’s food and just about everything he needed,” Ms Walsh said.
“He doesn’t deserve to go without his favourite toys.”
Ms Walsh admitted she and her boyfriend, who used to drive for Uber, were “new to sailing”.
However, the couple, who has been left with just $115 in cash, no jobs and no boat insurance, say they are still hopeful for their sailing plans and have started a GoFundMe begging people to help them “not give up on [their] dreams”.
They are seeking $12,800 to rescue the ship, which sunk off the coast of Madeira Beach, Florida.
Ms Walsh said raising the boat alone will cost at least $8600.
“We have a lot of family helping us, but it’s hard when you’ve lost everything,” Ms Walsh told the Post from Jacksonville, where the couple is staying with loved ones.
Though the pair seem down and out, they still plan to “buy or salvage another boat” at some point and “try try try again,” Ms Walsh writes on the GoFundMe page.
“You only have one life. Why spend it doing what you don’t love. Money isn’t everything!” Ms Walsh told the Post.