The number of boats docked at marinas around the country clearly illustrates that more people than ever are enjoying the water. But how many new boat buyers really know what it costs to purchase and maintain a mid-sized boat? There are as many factors to consider as there are boats out there, so here are some specifics on boat ownership.
Divide your main costs into two components: once and ongoing. The first involves the purchase of and updating or outfitting the boat, while ongoing expenses include maintenance, insurance and dockage. The Bridge Marina website features a helpful, comprehensive boating cost calculator
that may put things in perspective.
Too often, fledgling boat buyers carefully lay out a budget, only to spend all – or most of it – on the boat purchase. It makes far better financial sense to spend slightly more than 50 percent of the budget on the purchase, while using the remaining budget to store, outfit and maintain the boat.
Slip rates vary depending on the location of the marina and any additional amenities. The cost of regular boat maintenance depends on the type and usage of your boat and how much you do yourself. This can include annual bottom painting, oil changes and engine tune-ups. Fabric and vinyl components also require regular repairs or replacements.
Power or Sail?
Before even beginning your boat search, decide which type of boat you prefer and how you intend to use it. If you plan to enjoy shoreline cruising with family or friends, you probably won’t need accommodations, just a comfortable cockpit and spacious seating areas. However, if your plan is to use the boat for overnight traveling or vacations with your friends or family, it makes sense to look for a boat with bunks and a galley for more comfortable sailing or cruising.
New or Used?
It’s also important to consider whether a new or used boat is best for your budget. While price is naturally a vital factor, you can’t count on getting the bells and whistles you want with a used boat. Depending on the type, size and model, new boats are often far more expensive to purchase and outfit, but you’ll know everything aboard is in the best condition.
State and local sales taxes will apply to all boat sales, new or used. Frugal (and savvy) boat owners often take delivery in an area with the lowest taxes to save money.
Financing and Insurance
It’s vital to research the best possible financing. Most boat dealers or brokers can suggest one or more banks that specialize in boat financing. If you plan to buy a new boat, the dealer will include a commissioning fee, which covers everything from tuning the engine to installing optional or specialized electronics or equipment.
If you opt for a used boat, it will need an inspection or survey. This is not only good for the nerves, most lending institutions require one. The inspection will be performed by a marine surveyor and will usually include a thorough examination of the boat’s mechanics, equipment and electronics. The report will list what requires servicing, repairs or replacement; some inspectors include a price estimate.
Choose an insurance agency that specializes in marine insurance. These companies often provide discounts based on your boating experience, the type of equipment on the boat and other factors, including whether it has a built-in fire extinguishing system, a gas or diesel engine and certain types of navigational electronics.
Buying a boat is a large purchase, so it's important to step back from emotions while negotiating a price and taking it out for a sea trial. Wait for the emotions (and fun) until after
you’ve closed the deal.
~ VS Glen Community Support