Salt Life – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to describe a surfer whose life revolves around the ocean? You could say they live the “salt life.” This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “salt life” describes a lifestyle revolving around the ocean. It’s a common phrase heard in beach towns, and you probably see stickers displaying the slogan on cars around beach towns up and down the coast.

The “salt life” involves using the ocean for activities. Whether taking long walks on the beach, surfing the waves, or fishing the waters, you enjoy spending time in or around the ocean. Living the salt life means that you enjoy living around the sea.

Example Usage

“I’m living the salt life since moving out of the city. I surf every morning and go fishing every afternoon. There’s nothing like the lifestyle of living on the water.”

“The salt life grabs you and never lets you go. It’s an obsession, and you’ll never feel at home anywhere else.”

“I’m all about the salt life. I have a jet ski, and we go deep-sea fishing on it all the time. There’s nothing like the thrill of spearing a large wahoo.”

“I love the salt life; it’s the only way to live. There’s no bigger thrill than someone towing you into a 30-foot wave at Mavericks.”

“The salt life isn’t for everyone, but if you fall asleep at night and hear the ocean drifting you off to sleep, you know the hooks are in.”

“The salt life is the way to go. Who needs to live in a city with smog, traffic, and unfriendly people? My beach town is where it's at, and we have a thriving community.”


The expression “salt life” originates from a small subculture of surfers that started a brand on the East coast of the United States. They sold stickers with the “salt life:” branding on them, and it’s common to see them on cars and trucks around the coastline of the United States.

The sticker was a way for people who enjoyed the ocean and the beach lifestyle to express it to the world.

The trend caught on and spread to many different groups of people. Now, it’s common to see everyone from office yuppies to senior citizens driving around with “salt life” stickers on their cars or wearing “salt life” t-shirts in public.

Some people suggest the saying comes from a biblical quote.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men” (3 Ne. 12:13).

Phrases Similar to Salt Life

  • Ocean life.
  • Salt of the sea.

Phrases Opposite to Salt Life

  • Dry docked.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Salt life.

Ways People May Say Salt Life Incorrectly

Some people may confuse this saying with “the salt of life.” The salt of life means the passion and juice in life, which can come from anything you find exciting or interesting. You may also confuse it with “salt of the earth,” which means someone that is genuine.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Salt Life

You can use the phrase “salt life” to describe your connection to the life aquatic. If you’re a surfer, bodyboarder, kite-surfer, angler, or boat owner, you’re living the salt life. It’s a way of describing your deep connection to the ocean and how your life revolves around the ebb and flow of the tides.

It’s common to see people driving around with “salt life” stickers on their cars or truck. These stickers let other people know your lifestyle and what u value most in life. You can use the phrase in social situations when you’re describing someone’s dedication to the ocean and how it governs the decisions they make in life.

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