What are the Costs of Boat Ownership?

What are the Costs of Boat Ownership?

Posted by: Erik Hendricks on Apr 30, 2018 6:27:00 PM

There’s this idea people have that boat ownership comes with all sorts of added and unexpected costs. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that the true cost of boat ownership isn’t just what you see on the sticker price.  


Beyond the cost of the boat itself, there are other expenses that come into play. These additional expenses are a perfectly normal part of owning any large, motorized vehicle. And we’ve found that they’re really only unexpected if you’re unaware of them. So, here are the main additional costs of boat ownership.


Whenever you finance a purchase, a part of the payments you make goes toward the interest on the loan. So, when you go to finance a boat, it’s not just taking the sticker price and dividing it by the number of months you’ll take to pay it off. There is an added element of interest. Fortunately, interest rates on boat loans are typically pretty great, and many first-time boat owners are surprised by how low their interest rate is.


In order to keep a boat functioning as it should, it requires routine maintenance. While boat maintenance costs depend on the age and type of a boat, along with whether it is new or used, these maintenance costs can be looked at as a yearly expense. Boats require engine maintenance, cleaning, winterization, and springtime ready-launch services. Of course, those last two come into play in areas where boats are not used year-round.


During the times when you’re not using your boat, it’s important to figure in storage expenses. For winter storage, the main choice you’ll have to make is indoor or outdoor storage. Outdoor storage is going to be less expensive, but it will leave your watercraft vulnerable to the elements. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor, you’ll likely pay by the foot, so if you’re looking for less expensive storage over a boat’s lifetime, consider going with fewer feet.  


The final component I want to cover is the costs of insurance and registration. Insurance policies for boats come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few things that impact boat insurance costs:

  • Boat safety features
  • Boat age
  • Type of vessel
  • Engine type
  • Overall value of the boat
  • Seasonal use vs. year-round use

Additionally, boats require up-to-date titles and registration. For Minnesotans, you can view a table of boat registration costs here.

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