The Cost Of Boat Ownership

The costs of boat ownership

You may be thinking of buying a boat, potentially as a form of recreational transportation, entertainment, or maybe as a way of just escaping the daily grind. While the idea of owning a boat is appealing, it’s important to understand the cost of boat ownership to ensure that you can make an informed decision before making a purchase. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a boat costs to own, including upfront expenses, ongoing maintenance, and miscellaneous costs.

Initial Costs of Boat Ownership

When buying a boat, there are several initial costs that you need to be aware of. These costs include:

  • Down Payment: The down payment is usually around 20% of the total cost of the boat. The down payment amount will vary based on the type of boat you are buying and the financing options available.
  • Sales Tax: Sales tax is calculated based on the total cost of the boat and the location you are buying it from. In some states, the sales tax can be as high as 9%.
  • Licensing and Registration Fees: To legally operate your boat, you need to get it registered and licensed. These fees vary from state to state, but they can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars.
  • Insurance: Boat insurance is a legal requirement, and you need to have coverage for your boat. The insurance premium will depend on the type of boat you are buying, the

Average Annual Cost Of Boat Ownership

On average, the annual expense of owning a new boat ranges from $5,000 to $8,000 (Per Boating Valley 2021). While more modest-sized vessels may incur yearly costs of approximately $2,000, the majority of leisure boats typically have yearly expenses falling between $5,000 and $8,000.

Boat Maintenance Costs

One of the most significant ongoing costs associated with boat ownership, especially when you buy a used boat, is maintenance and upkeep. This includes things like regular cleaning, oil changes, and battery replacements. In addition to regular maintenance, there are also bigger expenses like replacing the boat’s engine, painting, or making repairs due to weather damage. These costs can add up quickly, so it’s important to budget for them in advance.

Docking and Storage

Where you store your boat when it’s not in use can also add up to significant costs. If you choose to keep your boat in a marina, expect to pay monthly or annual fees, as well as additional costs for electricity, water, and waste disposal. On the other hand, if you have a property with a suitable dock, you can save on these costs by keeping your boat at home. However, even this option has its own costs, including the need for a boat hoist and other storage equipment.

Insurance and Licensing

In order to legally operate a boat, you must have proper insurance coverage and boat licensing. These costs will vary depending on your location, the size of your boat, and the type of boating you plan to do. It’s important to research your local boating regulations and insurance requirements before making a purchase to ensure that you have a clear understanding of the costs involved.

Fuel and Transportation Costs

Another significant cost associated with boat ownership is fuel. The cost of fuel will depend on the size of your boat and how often you use it. In addition to fuel costs, you’ll also need to consider transportation costs, such as the cost of towing or transporting your boat to and from the water.

Miscellaneous Costs

In addition to the costs outlined above, there are several miscellaneous expenses that you’ll need to budget for, including safety equipment, docking lines, fenders, and other accessories. You’ll also need to consider the cost of food and beverages, as well as any other recreational activities you plan to do while on the water.


The cost of boat ownership can vary greatly depending on the type of boat you choose, as well as your boating habits and preferences. It’s important to do your research and budget for all of the costs associated with boat ownership to ensure that you’re able to enjoy your time on the water without any unexpected surprises. Considering all of the costs outlined in this article, you can make an informed decision about whether or not boat ownership is right for you.


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Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.