Real Costs of Owning a Boat

Owning a boat is fun and boating is an activity that strengthens relationships with friends and family. However, the real costs of boat ownership should be understood before making a decision on whether or not you are ready to purchase your boat.

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    Purchase Price

    New boats range from thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. What is right for any family’s budget can only be determined by individual circumstances. When financing the purchase of a boat, it is important to consider your credit rating since it is would not be wise to tie up needed cost-of-living funds in a boat. When considering a boat, many people make sure that the boat has a head, galley, and at least one berth. If the boat has all three, the boat is considered a second home for tax purposes, allowing the owner to have a mortgage on the boat and a write-off.

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    Boat owners are required to have liability insurance at a minimum. Boats are expensive, so most owners purchase damage coverage as well. Lenders will require comprehensive insurance coverage on financed purchases. Comprehensive coverage is the best idea for most boaters. In case of storm damage, accidental damage, or theft, your boat is covered.

  • A boat accessory

    Equipment and Accessories

    Required safety equipment varies by boat size. Safety equipment includes at least one life jacket that is appropriately sized for each individual on board, a paddle, horn, flares and more. All boats should have an anchor large enough to hold the boat that also has enough length to allow for seven times the deepest water that you will be boating in. Dock lines, first aid kit, fenders, shore power cables, grills, water skis, wakeboards, tubes, rods and reels, fishing tackle, etc. all cost money of varying degrees.

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    Education and Licensing

    Most states require some type of boating safety course and operator’s license; time and costs vary. MarineMax, offers boating safety courses, Kids in Boating courses and Women on Water courses throughout the year.

  • Boats in a store


    Where to keep a boat varies on where you boat and how your boat. Some boats can be stored at the owner’s home on a trailer; however, they must be maintained regularly and boat covers are highly recommended to protect the gel coat and other finishes. Whether it is intended to keep your boat in a wet slip or in a rack facility, both are priced by the boats’ Length Over All (LOA) monthly and can amount to as much as the finance payment. In areas where there is freezing weather boat owners must plan to winterize their boats in the fall and re-commission them in the spring.

  • Boat being stored


    Every manufacturer recommends regular maintenance. New boat owners are required to perform regular maintenance for the manufacturer to honor any warranty. Maintenance includes engines, controls, systems, electronics, and batteries. If the boat is maintained in saltwater it should have anti-fouling bottom paint which needs to be reapplied regularly. Plan on doing that every other year at the very least. It is also recommended that boats left in the water have monthly bottom cleaning by a diver to keep the hull performing efficiently. This is usually priced on a per-foot basis.

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