There’s a common joke among boaters: A boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money. That’s just one of the many well-known wisecracks out there about what it’s like to own a boat. For those wondering about the costs associated with owning a boat, while this isn’t an entirely accurate description of boat ownership, it could give you an idea of what you’re getting yourself into. As for how much does it cost to own a boat? Well, there are a lot of factors that go into determining that figure.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a boat.
There are many different types of boats on the market and the cost of owning one varies greatly based on which you decide to buy. So, the first thing you need to do is decide which kind of boat you want. The most important question you can ask yourself is what will I use this boat for? Frequent recreational day trips? Occasional overnight journeys? Something in between?
This, as well as whether it’s new or pre-owned, will determine how much your boat costs. Deck boats and bowriders, both in the $15,000 to $50,000 range, are much different from cabin cruisers, which can cost upwards of $100,000. And whether you purchase your boat outright or finance it will determine if you have monthly payments you’re responsible for.
Another important factor in the coast of owning a boat is where you decide to store it when it’s not in use. This will depend on where you live and how frequently you use your boat. The least expensive choice is keeping your boat at home in your garage or covered on your property, but that’s not an option for everyone.
There is also indoor boat storage – such as a warehouse that protects it from the elements, as well as outdoor wet slips available for rent. Rental fees depend on where you live and can range from $50 to $200 per square foot of boat stored indoors and $20 to $50 per square foot of outdoor storage.
Maintenance and Upkeep – Much like owning a car, basic boat maintenance and upkeep is an important part of ownership. This includes everything from basic engine maintenance (such as an oil, filter, and navigation light change) to painting the hull.
And again, this number will vary depending on your type of maintenance. The price to clean an aluminum boat hull varies greatly from a surface-level deck cleaning. There are also tasks that should be completed every few years – replacing your sails, outboard carburetor, battery, and other items – rather than annually. In general, boat owners should prepare to spend 10% of their boat’s value on maintenance each year.
Don’t Forget the Paperwork
1. Title, insurance, and registration
Three important pieces of paper required for any boat owner. Each one with a different cost associated with it that varies depending on where you live. Boat titles, which prove ownership of your vessel, cost a pittance, typically between $10 and $20.
2. It costs more to register your boat
This price varies based on the type of boat, length, and the state where you live, and can range from as low as $25 annual to several hundred dollars.
It’s recommended that you check with your state’s boating regulations to determine how much you owe for registration.
3. Boating insurance is even pricier than registration
Again, your boating insurance depends on where you live and, comparable to car insurance, can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars annually to more than $1,000. The average range is $300 to $500 each year – likely lower than registering your vehicle.
Once you purchase a boat, depending on the type you bought, you’ll likely need a trailer to bring it to a dock, launch it in the water and retrieve it when you’re done. The cost of a boat trailer ranges from $600 to $8,000. Ultimately, this cost depends on the trailer’s weight capacity, length, design, and other features. In addition to upfront costs, trailers also require regular upkeep including tire and bearing replacement.
Fuel consumption varies boat by boat, so the cost of filling up depends on several factors – location, cruising speed, boat type, type of gas you’re using. Smaller watercraft use 3 to 8 gallons of fuel per hour while faster boats can burn through 20 to 30 gallons of oil hourly. The cost of gas is always fluctuating, so there is no way to calculate an accurate fuel cost for your vessel. But for speed and motorboats, it could cost more than $300 for a five-hour outing on the water.
In addition to everything listed above, there are numerous miscellaneous fees associated with owning a boat. All boats are required to have safety equipment on board, including life jackets and flares. Depending on your reason for having a boat, you might want to keep equipment pertaining to that onboard, such as fishing tackle and gear, diving equipment, a cooler. Different hobbies have different price points associated with them. Then, there are items that are of general use, including zip ties, towels, and a well-stocked toolkit.
For those wondering how much does it cost to own a boat? That number is variable based on your personal needs and interests. So, weigh your options carefully and consider your budget before making a purchase. Buying a boat is no joke. Curious to learn more? Please browse the rest of our blog for more informative posts.