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Old 07-22-2015, 11:10 PM   #21
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I recommend budgeting $35 dollars per day for every day you are NOT aboard. $100 a day for every day you ARE aboard.
Happy Boat-Funding Daze - Art YRMV
What an interesting way to figure it. Still fits my thinking and a soft consensus.

Thanks Art.
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Old 07-23-2015, 06:59 AM   #22
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Hiring out a simple oil change on that boat is an almost full day job for twin CAT's and the genny. By the time the mechanic buys the parts, gets them to the boat, pumps the oil out and gets it off the boat without spilling, to the dock and his truck to dispose.
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Lol, if it takes an expert all day to do a "simple oil change" well maybe if I lose some weight I can fit between those 3208s.

I'm not expert, a real expert could do a complete oil change faster than I can... and I have a built-in Oil X-Changer system which simplifies the innie and the outie part of the problem.

But I can probably do an oil change on the two mains, the two gears, and the genset in about 4 hours, given a supply of new oil and filters... usually purchased in the preceding days. (Note, that shopping time is not included, and we have an on-site oil recycle tank.)

I've not recently timed my process, partly because I don't do it all at once. I run the boat (heat the engine oil in the process) on one day, and return to the dock and drain the oil from all 5 sources... after the engine room cools a bit but before the oil cools down.

Then I do all the re-fill/filter change stuff the next day, when the engine room has completely cooled down.

Probably not a luxury a commercial guy could afford, unless he's always on-site in your yard anyway.

Still, you could probably figure 4 hours actual labor, plus the cost of supplies, as close enough for this kind of early-stage planning. Add to that cost of arrival/departure; if the guy starts charging when he starts loading oil onto his truck at his own facilities... has an X-hour drive each way... the drive time can maybe add a significant amount. Back to CP's "all day" estimate. OTOH, if your oil changer guy is on-site, that might not be such a big $$ hit.

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Old 07-23-2015, 09:34 AM   #23
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[QUOTE=ranger42c;351269]I'm not expert...But I can probably do an oil change on the two mains, the two gears, and the genset in about 4 hours.../QUOTE]

Thanks Chris, you make it sound less daunting. I've always done my own changes but again on smaller gas boats where, with the hatches or sole open, I could at least stand up part of the time.

I'm not as young or as svelte as I once was and this time around, I thought I could spoil myself and have someone do it. CPs comment made me think it might be a luxury that maybe I could do without.

CP also said "a lot to think about" and this is one of them.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:48 AM   #24
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The price for an oil change can be all over the map.


If you are available but not physically up to the task...usually some younger guy will do it under your supervision for considerably less than $100 per hour. Some independents will charge way less than $50 an hour and only charge minimal travel/setup/cleanup fees.

Yards will vary depending on where you go. The big dealers (CAT, Cummins, Etc) will be the priciest...but once and awhile they may be the ticket if something else you have going on can be pleasantly discussed and the field tech will pass on a wealth of knowledge,
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:57 AM   #25
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I've walked away from purchasing boats where I can not stand fully erect in the engine compartment/room. 48' Tollycraft was muchly one because of that factor... as well as other items about that boat.

Besides being fully self contained, comfortable pleasure boat... Our 34' tri cabin Tolly's big-dual hatch salon sole lets me stand between engines when desired. Engines' and other apparatus' layouts provide fairly easy access to most areas. A must for me... that and a flying bridge are two of my top requirements for a boat.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:11 AM   #26
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These answers have all been really good, and using different rules of thumb the results are all pretty similar. A couple of areas not discussed in detail that I would like to address...

Moorage. There are yacht clubs in the PNW where members can have a slip with a boathouse and the slip is under$300 per month for a 45-50 foot boat. I pay my marina about $800-825 per month for an uncovered slip.

A good mechanic, electrician, or boat repair specialist can save you thousands of dollars. A friend spent nearly ten grand over five years trying to solve an engine overheating problem. My preferred mechanic spent a day cleaning out his cooling systems, hoses, etc., and fixed several problematic prior repairs for about one boat buck ($1,000). Problems solved.

Insurance. Figure about 1% of the boat's insured value per year. Work with an experienced yacht insurance broker, not your average personal lines generalist. I happen to be the latter, and I happen to represent one of the few personal lines companies that has a great boat/yacht insurance policy, and I know most of my fellow agents and staff don't know much at all about yacht needs and coverages.

Boating is not a cheap past time but it provides more pleasure for my wife and me than any other pursuits.

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Old 07-23-2015, 10:20 AM   #27
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The big dealers (CAT, Cummins, Etc) will be the priciest...but once and awhile they may be the ticket if something else you have going on can be pleasantly discussed and the field tech will pass on a wealth of knowledge,
Part of my thought process here was just that. Someone much wiser than I, might spot a problem waiting to happen before I would, therefor saving money.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:35 AM   #28
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Yup, unplanned repairs can set you back a pretty penny. Sunday I discovered that my exhaust riser was shot. So I spent an hour removing it and the hose to the muffler. Then I made a trip to the hardware store for new black iron pipe and fittings. Total cost was $15. The drive to the hardware store was a 1/2 mile round trip so ten cents for gas. I used the marina's big vise and pipe wrenches to assemble the new riser and move my injection elbow from the old pipe to the new. The last 2" of the exhaust hose where it connected to the exhaust riser was in poor shape, so I cut it off back to good hose. Reinstallation took about half an hour. All together the repair took me about three hours and cost a bit under $15.

I maintain two boats. Annual engine maintenance costs about $75 per boat (oil and filter changes, transmission fluid change, winterizing and Spring commissioning). This year I also spent about $400 on the 36' sailboat for upgrades (new midships cleats, new high speed heading sensor to allow radar overlay on the chart plotter, and awl-grip painting the deck and cabin house). The 33' powerboat got full topsides paint ($250) and the mahogany cabin house and transom got two coats of varnish ($75). Bottom paint for the two boats ran about $300. I also spent about $30 on zincs. I do all the work myself. This year maintenance took me about 250 hours, so at yard rates that would have cost me $12,500.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:38 AM   #29
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These answers have all been really good, and using different rules of thumb the results are all pretty similar...
Boating is not a cheap past time but it provides more pleasure for my wife and me than any other pursuits.
Totally agree Rob and I appreciate that folks took my questions seriously and THEN took the time to respond.

Insurance, moorage and fuel are easy budget items once you have done your homework and homework is what I am doing here. Again I quote CP "lots to think about."
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:44 AM   #30
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Yup, unplanned repairs can set you back a pretty penny. Sunday I discovered that my exhaust riser was shot. So I spent an hour removing it and the hose to the muffler. Then I made a trip to the hardware store for new black iron pipe and fittings. Total cost was $15. The drive to the hardware store was a 1/2 mile round trip so ten cents for gas. I used the marina's big vise and pipe wrenches to assemble the new riser and move my injection elbow from the old pipe to the new. The last 2" of the exhaust hose where it connected to the exhaust riser was in poor shape, so I cut it off back to good hose. Reinstallation took about half an hour. All together the repair took me about three hours and cost a bit under $15.

I maintain two boats. Annual engine maintenance costs about $75 per boat (oil and filter changes, transmission fluid change, winterizing and Spring commissioning). This year I also spent about $400 on the 36' sailboat for upgrades (new midships cleats, new high speed heading sensor to allow radar overlay on the chart plotter, and awl-grip painting the deck and cabin house). The 33' powerboat got full topsides paint ($250) and the mahogany cabin house and transom got two coats of varnish ($75). Bottom paint for the two boats ran about $300. I also spent about $30 on zincs. I do all the work myself. This year maintenance took me about 250 hours, so at yard rates that would have cost me $12,500.
Didn't I also read on another thread that your nice old woody gets around 20 MPG? You seem to be the star economy guy on TF... Less than couple boat bucks a year and you're set ta go!!
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:56 AM   #31
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Really? So your new Nordhavn costs double or triple (or whatever the selling price difference) to maintain to your standards than say a 15 year old 47 foot boat of similar configuration, from a second tier builder ? Why is that?
I think Marin already covered most of what I would say, but .....

I'll reiterate that the 10% cost is NOT every year, year in and year out. Most years, at least for me, have been significantly less. I do nearly all my own maintenance and repairs, and the annual costs are more in the low single digit % per year. I also agree that for many expenses, there is little to no relationship to the value of the boat.

What I've found with my boats is that I spend a bunch in the first year or so getting the boat the way I want it. So that's going to be close to a 10% year. The next few (hopefully many) years of ownership are just moorage, cleaning, regular maintenance, insurance, etc and are probably 1-3% years. For a while, you will seem to be way ahead of the game. I sure though I was. But when you sell the boat, I think it's all likely to catch up to you. Your last year will be a 20% or much more year with 10% for sales commission, and whatever difference between your purchase price and the sale price.

So the 10% isn't an annual cash-flow number, but I think it's a reasonable budget for life-time cost of ownership.

The other thing that I think is particularly important is to be sure your budget can handle surprises, because you are likely to get one or two along the way. This is why even in the low-cost years, you still need to be planning on 10% annually, and perhaps even bankrolling whatever you have not spent. A major repair can be required at pretty much any time creating a 10% to 30% year in the blink of an eye. If you are not prepared to deal with that, then you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

I think we all hope to operate at well under 10%, and should celebrate when we do. But I'd rather be celebrating being under budget, than be in a pickle because I need to replace a transmission or HVAC system or engine and have that destroy my finances. And I think this is especially important for new boaters who are likely unaccustomed to the costs that can crop up.

And back to what I think was one of your points... does the cost really track to boat value? It's imperfect, for sure. Insurance, moorage, and some portions of maintenance will track boat size/value. But others won't. I also think it's generally true that the more someone spends on a boat, the more likely they are to be paying other people to work on the boat rather than do it themselves. From what I've seen this is where you can spend a lot, or not very much at all depending on your preferences. At $100/hr you can spend a lot of money very fast on repairs and maintenance. If I were to hire out all the work on my boat, it would easily cost 5%-7% per year. Thankfully I don't do that, so expect it will cost 2%-3% per year, maybe less.

Just for kicks I sketched out the numbers for my Grand Banks which recently sold. Over my ownership, the boat cost me the equivalent of 8% of it's value, per year. So I came out ahead of my benchmark, probably because I did nearly all the work on it myself.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:43 PM   #32
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DIY homeowners and DIY boat owners = waste not, want not... for cash that is! lol
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:22 PM   #33
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Lots of good comments on here.

Twisted Tree makes a good point about spending a lot at first to get the boat how you want it.... we are five years in and still working on that part of it. For example, last year we spent several boat bucks redoing the galley how we want it.

I love that sedan in Huntington Beach but right off the bat I see things I would want to change... however there is nothing wrong with it how it is. Living with it the way it is is much cheaper than making it exactly how you want it. Do you HAVE to have certain electronics or custom mattress or WHATEVER?? Only you can decide that.

And of course others have pointed out that it is the unexpected stuff that really hits you in the wallet. Our adventure to the yard last year was about 15% of the purchase price just by itself. Most years, again to TT's point, are nowhere near that... again unless we choose to spend money on changing things that are fine as we are but we want to change.

If you love boating, love the boat, take care of the routine maintenance (DIY or pro) and have the reserves for the occasional big ticket items, you will make it work!

I may have missed it, do you have a boat now? you certainly have good taste.
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:11 PM   #34
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Didn't I also read on another thread that your nice old woody gets around 20 MPG? You seem to be the star economy guy on TF... Less than couple boat bucks a year and you're set ta go!!
Yeah, that was me. While Tortuga will get around 20 mpg I generally cruise at a speed where I get closer to 15-16 mpg. My total budget for both boats will come to about $15K this year ($8K of that is marina fees). Given my use of the boats that is about $150 per day. Last year I did an extra $5K of work on the sailboat and the year before I did about the same on the old woody. Boating is not a cheap hobby.
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Old 07-23-2015, 03:38 PM   #35
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The main value of the "10 percent of the cost/value of the boat per year for every year you own the boat" guideline is not so much to provide a truly accurate figure that one can count on. There are simply too many variables that affect ownership cost to predict them accurately.

The value of that percentage number is awareness.

A lot of potential boat buyers look at it as being like a car or truck. You fork over a bunch of money and then basically you just use it for years and years with little expense other than fuel, insurance, and the occasional servicing.

But boat's aren't like that. There are very real costs that never stop, like moorage and insurance. But the big bugaboo is that unlike most vehicles, boats are full of surprises. This is partly due to the fact they live in a very unfriendly environment. Things corrode, rust, rot, crack, eggshell, oxidize, and split.

Boats are generally not used as regularly as a vehicle, so they sit for long periods of time and that encourages the failure of components like seals and gaskets, Teleflex cables, and other things that get stiff or brittle with disuse. And, unlike most vehicles, stuff likes to live and grow on boats. Barnacles, weed, algae, mold, bugs, all sorts of things.

The point being that a boat, at least one that lives in the water and not on a trailer or lift, is not just sitting there waiting for you to come back to it and drive off. It's actively deteriorating in some manner all the time.

Keeping up with the deterioration takes time and effort and parts and supplies and someone to do it, all of which cost money.

The real value of telling a potential buyer about the "10 percent rule" or maybe it should be 15 percent today, is to make them very aware that there will be an ongoing cost of owning that boat after they plunk down the cash or set up the financing to buy it. What that cost is will be determined by all the variables the buyer will encounter once he or she starts using it. But I think it's very important that a person goes into a boat purchase with their eyes wide open as to the reality of what they're getting into financially.

If they don't their boating experience can very easily become a bad one.
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Old 07-23-2015, 04:00 PM   #36
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The only thing that makes the annual ownership cost worth the money is the value, mostly intangible, that one gets from being a boat owner. Slow, fast, showroom condition or well used, the value of a boat is realized by what one does with it, not by the actual dollar value of the boat.

One of the intangible values we accrue is about having our own "stuff" with us whenever we go someplace. Stuff has various dimensions -- for us the physical parts are clothing, bed linens, cooking utensils and food and so forth, the two cats and their box <sigh>, tools, etc. -- and one of those is the comfort of familiarity, or perhaps better expressed as "known quantity." (To the extent maintenance surprises can be managed, from a "known quantity" like a boat.)

A surprising intangible has become a kind of intellectual income... from having to fix stuff from time to time. Fifty years of my previous professions didn't much prepare me to be a diesel mechanic, plumber, electrician, sanitation engineer, HVAC guy, etc. so I'm having to learn everything, mostly on the fly. Which in turn seems to be keeping my brain active. Some people think mental exercise is a good thing, and I suspect it's helpful for me.

That last would be better if some of the physical parts didn't hurt so much afterwards, sometimes.



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Old 07-23-2015, 05:28 PM   #37
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The main value of the "10 percent of the cost/value of the boat per year for every year you own the boat" guideline is not so much to provide a truly accurate figure that one can count on. There are simply too many variables that affect ownership cost to predict them accurately.

The value of that percentage number is awareness.

A lot of potential boat buyers look at it as being like a car or truck. You fork over a bunch of money and then basically you just use it for years and years with little expense other than fuel, insurance, and the occasional servicing.

But boat's aren't like that. There are very real costs that never stop, like moorage and insurance. But the big bugaboo is that unlike most vehicles, boats are full of surprises. This is partly due to the fact they live in a very unfriendly environment. Things corrode, rust, rot, crack, eggshell, oxidize, and split.

Boats are generally not used as regularly as a vehicle, so they sit for long periods of time and that encourages the failure of components like seals and gaskets, Teleflex cables, and other things that get stiff or brittle with disuse. And, unlike most vehicles, stuff likes to live and grow on boats. Barnacles, weed, algae, mold, bugs, all sorts of things.

The point being that a boat, at least one that lives in the water and not on a trailer or lift, is not just sitting there waiting for you to come back to it and drive off. It's actively deteriorating in some manner all the time.

Keeping up with the deterioration takes time and effort and parts and supplies and someone to do it, all of which cost money.

The real value of telling a potential buyer about the "10 percent rule" or maybe it should be 15 percent today, is to make them very aware that there will be an ongoing cost of owning that boat after they plunk down the cash or set up the financing to buy it. What that cost is will be determined by all the variables the buyer will encounter once he or she starts using it. But I think it's very important that a person goes into a boat purchase with their eyes wide open as to the reality of what they're getting into financially.

If they don't their boating experience can very easily become a bad one.


What he said!
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:05 PM   #38
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Lots of good comments on here.

Twisted Tree makes a good point about spending a lot at first to get the boat how you want it.... we are five years in and still working on that part of it. For example, last year we spent several boat bucks redoing the galley how we want it.

I love that sedan in Huntington Beach but right off the bat I see things I would want to change... however there is nothing wrong with it how it is. Living with it the way it is is much cheaper than making it exactly how you want it. Do you HAVE to have certain electronics or custom mattress or WHATEVER?? Only you can decide that.

And of course others have pointed out that it is the unexpected stuff that really hits you in the wallet. Our adventure to the yard last year was about 15% of the purchase price just by itself. Most years, again to TT's point, are nowhere near that... again unless we choose to spend money on changing things that are fine as we are but we want to change.

If you love boating, love the boat, take care of the routine maintenance (DIY or pro) and have the reserves for the occasional big ticket items, you will make it work!

I may have missed it, do you have a boat now? you certainly have good taste.
Thanks for the nod of approval, Jennifer. It won't be the one in Huntington Beach, but close. Perhaps one out of the Seattle area as it would likely be set up more for our waters...like a good heating system, since I cruise year round.

To answer your question, no, I'm boatless (and restless) right now. Since the 60s, I've had either a bike or boat (hence Hawgwash) sometimes both. I got away from the sea the last few years to ride seriously, knowing my days at that were more numbered than boating. I have salt water in my veins so it's time to get back where I really belong.

Being an avid and pride filled boater in the past makes me aware of the cost and that a financial investment it is not. But heaven costs money and I'm good with that. My next boat will be a substantial step up and I just wanted to confirm that at least logically I'm thinking straight.

I've been working with the theory that if I put 200k into a boat that has been well cared fore and stash 100k, that should see me through 5 years. At this stage of my life, I've pretty much broken the remaining time into 5 years at a time.

The feedback here has been first rate and very much appreciated.

I think I'm ok.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:28 AM   #39
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The main value of the "10 percent of the cost/value of the boat per year for every year you own the boat" guideline is not so much to provide a truly accurate figure that one can count on. There are simply too many variables that affect ownership cost to predict them accurately.

The value of that percentage number is awareness.

A lot of potential boat buyers look at it as being like a car or truck. You fork over a bunch of money and then basically you just use it for years and years with little expense other than fuel, insurance, and the occasional servicing.

But boat's aren't like that. There are very real costs that never stop, like moorage and insurance. But the big bugaboo is that unlike most vehicles, boats are full of surprises. This is partly due to the fact they live in a very unfriendly environment. Things corrode, rust, rot, crack, eggshell, oxidize, and split.

Boats are generally not used as regularly as a vehicle, so they sit for long periods of time and that encourages the failure of components like seals and gaskets, Teleflex cables, and other things that get stiff or brittle with disuse. And, unlike most vehicles, stuff likes to live and grow on boats. Barnacles, weed, algae, mold, bugs, all sorts of things.

The point being that a boat, at least one that lives in the water and not on a trailer or lift, is not just sitting there waiting for you to come back to it and drive off. It's actively deteriorating in some manner all the time.

Keeping up with the deterioration takes time and effort and parts and supplies and someone to do it, all of which cost money.

The real value of telling a potential buyer about the "10 percent rule" or maybe it should be 15 percent today, is to make them very aware that there will be an ongoing cost of owning that boat after they plunk down the cash or set up the financing to buy it. What that cost is will be determined by all the variables the buyer will encounter once he or she starts using it. But I think it's very important that a person goes into a boat purchase with their eyes wide open as to the reality of what they're getting into financially.

If they don't their boating experience can very easily become a bad one.

Well said Marin

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