3 Ongoing Costs Of Owning A Boat

A boat can be a great investment. When you own a boat, you have a form of entertainment for yourself and your family that's always at your disposal. Why pay for a trip to the aquarium or the local amusement park when you can just hop into your own boat and see fish while taking a ride at the same time? But before you spend your savings on your dream boat, it's a good idea to figure out whether or not you can handle the ongoing costs of boat ownership. Buying a boat is a one-time expense, but owning the boat comes with an array of associated expenses. Take a look at some of the most important costs of boats for sale to consider.

Boat Insurance

You insure your home and your car against expensive accidents, and you'll want to do the same with your boat. On top of the fact that you may be required to show proof of insurance in order to store your boat in a marina, you'll want the insurance to protect your own wallet. In 2011, there were close to 4,600 boating accidents that caused $52 million worth of property damage. Insurance is a small price to pay to avoid the out of pocket costs for a boating accident.

How much you'll pay for boat insurance depends on a wide variety of factors. Insurance companies will take into account your driving record, your credit score, your location, and your boating experience and training, as well as the size and type of the boat that you choose. The way that you expect to use the boat matters, too. You'll pay different rates for a fishing boat than you would for a houseboat, for example. The average cost for insurance is usually between $300 and $500, but it can go as high as $1000 in some circumstances.

Boat Storage

If you don't own your own private dock, you're going to have to find some place to store your boat when it's not in use. If you're a homeowner and you buy a small boat, then you may just be able to tow your boat home and store it on your own property, which is usually an inexpensive option. However, this can be problematic for some boat owners. You may not have enough space on your property to comfortably store a boat, or you may own a condo or townhouse with no space for a boat at all. Even if you do have enough room for a boat on your property, homeowner's association rules may prevent you from parking there.

Even if you don't think you'll need it, it's worth at least considering the costs of boat storage before you put your money into buying a boat. After all, you may need it in the future. Storage fees vary wildly depending on what part of the world you're in and what kind of storage you're looking for. Dry docking is often cheaper than on-the-water storage, because slips are in limited supply. On the other hand, mooring your boat – storing it in the water using sand screws or some other similar device, rather than attaching it to a dock – can be less expensive than marina storage and more convenient than dry docking. Visit marinas, dry storage facilities, and mooring fields in your area to compare pricing and availability before you buy a boat. That way, you'll have a solid idea of how you'll store the boat and how much you'll pay before you put down the money for the boat.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Maintaining your boat will come with its own costs as well. Some maintenance tasks are things that you can learn to do yourself. For example, cleaning the boat after you take it out is well within the capabilities of even novice boaters. Other maintenance is more intensive, though, and will cost you more. For example, a bottom job – scraping and painting the bottom of the boat – can cost between $6 and $10 per foot, plus the cost of the paint, which can run between $40 a gallon and $340 a gallon.

You'll also have to take fuel costs into account, unless you're buying a sailboat. Bear in mind that marina fuel is typically more expensive than fuel at the gas station. Check into fuel prices in your area, and figure out how often you'll be able to afford to take your boat out – are you going to be able to get enough use out of it to justify paying the price of buying the boat?

If you're really interested in owning a boat, none of these costs should discourage you from buying one. On the contrary, taking all of the costs of boat ownership into account before buying your boat will make you a better boat owner, and insure that you get the maximum enjoyment out of your purchase.