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Old 05-16-2019, 08:52 PM   #1
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Cost of Boating?

Hey folks -

I've read quite a bit online about the 10%-15% of the boat price being spent annually for maintenance and usage, tabulating everything from moorage (fixed) to fuel costs (variable). A part of me wonders if the "boat price" really should be based on length, hull material, and usage of the boat, rather than boat price, as I've seen a $100k difference between two otherwise same make/model boats. I would imagine that the annual maintenance would be... identical?

Anyhow, can you folks share how your expenses shake out, and how you set up your budgets for it? My wife and I are narrowing our options down, and we've entered our known expenses into an Excel sheet. Things like insurance and moorage are easy. Fuel is harder, and variable based on time of year. We also plan to live on the boat, so we've got increased in heating/cooling to consider. But how much do you spend for haul out, bottom cleaning, oil changes, etc., etc? I'd like to see some real-world examples from people here on the forum.

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
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Cost of boating? Too much regarding money... Nothing regarding the pleasure you bet from it.

Now concretely for me (in Canadian bucks)
Marina: around 3500$/year ( docking plus winter storage )
Fuel: around 1000$/year +- 20% depending of cruising time.
Regular maintenance (oil, filters etc): more or less 200$/year
Improvement/renovation budget: more or less 3000$/year (not everything necessarily required but because we want our boat to become what we want).
Insurance: more or less 800/year.
Misc usage (propane for cooking, or heating late Autumn, gasoline for generator and other consumables): between 200 and 500$/year.



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Old 05-16-2019, 09:13 PM   #3
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Fair point. Here's the actual line of questioning:

Assuming equal high quality of boat condition, I'm trying to figure out if a $400k 1999 navigator 5800 is going to cost twice as much as a $200k 1996 bayliner 4788 on an annual basis. Assuming everything else being equal.

I've already penciled "pleasure" into the equation.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:18 PM   #4
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Heavier boat will burn more fuel. Bigger engines need bigger filters and more oil. Longer boat increase in dockage. You pay by the foot. More expensive boat equals more insurance. Bigger boat is more to clean. You might not be able to pick up mooring balls in some fields with larger boat.

Random thoughts.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:02 PM   #5
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I would expect the 10-foot-longer boat to cost much more. Every system added has its own hoses, wires, maintenance, replacement interval, etc. In many cases rates per foot increase for larger vessels, both at haul out and for moorage. More bottom paint. More wax. More energy to heat. Two 30amp cords/receptacles instead of one. A 50 amp instead of 2-30s. Etc etc etc.

You can save a significant amount of money if you have the time to do things yourself.

Example 1 - new electronics. Boat show rebates, buy online at most inexpensive places, no tax free shipping, remove old gear yourself, hire an installer that is willing to do only what you can not accomplish yourself. This is a “parts change” job and it is not difficult.

Example 2 - oil changes. Oil from Costco, filters purchased online, no tax free shipping. Do it yourself Sunday evening after the weekend trip. So 10 bucks/gallon for oil and 20 bucks for main engine filters. Thats $55 for us. You will have the opportunity to learn your machinery, find leaks, clean areas.

We do our own washing and waxing. We buy fuel when it goes down in price, not when we need it. Recently we were advised fuel went down to $2.41...and we filled up.

Would I like to send our favorite vendor a work list every Monday morning? Sure I would...but this is not in our budget. If the work is dangerous, complex, or I can not learn it at the time, we will contract it out.

We pay a diver about $150-$200 to clean the bottom and keep the zincs serviceable, about every 3 months AND before multi-week trips. I am close to purchasing a wet suit so I can do this myself.

Feel free to ask for specifics.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:03 PM   #6
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How much money do you have? That is what it costs...
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:05 PM   #7
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That percentage to boat cost really isn't realistic. Far to many variables to be accurate even as an average. To start with, consider how many days a year the boat is used. Many boat are seasonal with maybe 20 to 30 days per year underway. Others may be cruising 100+ days per year. Simply, things can greatly affect the numbers such as daily transient dockage. Anchoring out can have a zero cost where as dockage every night in expensive areas can run $3 to $5 per foot. How a boat was maintained by the previous owner could have huge cost differences. Rebuilding an engine or replacing the generator could deflect the average for years. Consider purchase price. Two similar 50' boats, one new and one 10 years old could have similar annual cost even though the new boat cost 10 times as much to buy. Finally, there will be costs such as fuel that can vary based on how fast you operate the vessel, how many hours of run time per year, how many hours of generator time per year, and the fluctuating cost of fuel.

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Old 05-16-2019, 11:02 PM   #8
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The 10 percent thing is just a guess. Some folks have no clue what operating a boat costs and need a number to wake them up to the realization that there are costs after purchase. Here's a few budget busters: New 8Kw gen set- $12.5K, New FB enclosure - $10K, new fuel tanks - every boat is different; repairing rotted decks under teak - Uncle Big Bill came to visit and won't leave!

If you plan 20-25%, hopefully you won't be stunned into stopping cruising and becoming a dock queen.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovial_cynic View Post
Fair point. Here's the actual line of questioning:

Assuming equal high quality of boat condition, I'm trying to figure out if a $400k 1999 navigator 5800 is going to cost twice as much as a $200k 1996 bayliner 4788 on an annual basis. Assuming everything else being equal.

I've already penciled "pleasure" into the equation.
My estimate is it will cost 40-45% more. Not double. Percentages based on purchase price are useless. Is it used purchase price or the price of the boat when new? What expenses do you include? Is depreciation included?

But the 58' boat is approximately 40% more boat than the 48'. That's based on my experience and comparing many. If you had the GRT or the GT calculations they would reflect it. Weight will somewhat reflect it. The boat isn't just longer, but it's beamier. That means more space for more things from freezers to watermaker to heads to laundry to electronics. It also means docking and again it's not just 10' more but very often a higher rate per foot based on availability and general pricing. Sometimes even eliminates the cheapest marina. Haul out and bottom cleaning and painting are also not straight by linear feet. Engines likely larger and maintenance more expensive. None of this has anything to do with the price of the boat, but all due to the size and some additional due to the age of the larger boat. Insurance will definitely be more and, if you're in a state with property taxes, it will be. Then if you count depreciation in your costs, it's double.

Some may experience 20% difference and some 80% but I find the 40% number to generally be as good an estimate as any. Obviously, all this is just estimates. You'll need to work out details in a budget format and be specific for your uses and your location.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:55 AM   #10
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Made my calculations and increased the result by 50%. Result was close to correct.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:16 AM   #11
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There are so many other factors. Are you starting with a well maintained boat and letting it go to crap or are you starting with a poorly maintained boat and catching up on maintenance. What is your attitude towards deprecating items like canvas, you might not ever replace canvas or it might happen on your watch.

I have a 54’ boat in Seattle. Moorage-$13,000; Insurance-$3,000; Fuel-$6,000; mandatorily maintenance-$1,000; cosmetic maintenance-$1,000. Then there are the once every 10 year type items $10,000. So I spend about $35,000 a year on the boat. This doesn’t count planned upgrades or costs related to my dingy.

This year unexpected maintenance was new washer and dryer, circuit board for AC heat pump, membrane for water maker.

Then there are the really big years like when you replace the canvas or all the cushions or an engine rebuild.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:28 AM   #12
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The 10% of purchase price is a realistic metric if you want to keep the boat up so you don’t get killed when it comes time to sell. As always there are exceptions. If you run many hours per year fuel and maintenance will be more. If you own your own mooring or dock those costs will go down. If you put those savings back into the boat people will pay you more for it down the road.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovial_cynic View Post
Fair point. Here's the actual line of questioning:

Assuming equal high quality of boat condition, I'm trying to figure out if a $400k 1999 navigator 5800 is going to cost twice as much as a $200k 1996 bayliner 4788 on an annual basis. Assuming everything else being equal.

I've already penciled "pleasure" into the equation.
'Assuming everything else being equal.'

OK - that is a direct answer I can help with.
We owned a 1995 Bayliner 4788 and we often cruised with a 53 Navigator and were friends with the owner - the real difference here is that the 58 Navigator is in a different size league with a much larger beam, weight and resultant size.
Various costs...
-costs of moorage and transients slips will be much less than 2X diff where we are
- cruising costs (fuel) at less than hull speed will be much less than 2X diff
- cruising costs when on plane will be 2X
- typical canvas, cleaning , polish , electronic updates , soft goods and the like will be much less than 2X and depend more on owners choice
- replace appliances, pumps, water heaters, furniture, etc will be much less than 2X
- engine parts, zincs, bottom paint, engine and trans work, oil changes, props, shafts, and the like will be 2X.

In general it depends much more on how the boats are maintained before you buy them and what condition they are in to get a suitable answer. You are looking at boats that are in completely different size categories so that makes a large difference in some areas.
Good luck with your search
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:03 AM   #14
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The first few years of owning a boat will probably cost more. You will want to get the boat the way you want it--upgrades, repairs, etc. After that it should level out a little until the "surprise" things happen--genset, transmission, etc.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:09 AM   #15
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How much money do you have? That is what it costs...
Probably the simplest and most accurate answer!
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jovial_cynic View Post
Fair point. Here's the actual line of questioning:

Assuming equal high quality of boat condition, I'm trying to figure out if a $400k 1999 navigator 5800 is going to cost twice as much as a $200k 1996 bayliner 4788 on an annual basis. Assuming everything else being equal.

I've already penciled "pleasure" into the equation.
The Navigator may end up costing more.

I have friends that own Bayliners and Navigators.

The Bayliners owners have normal maintenance and repair costs.

Three Navigators suffered from blisters and the hull drying, gel coat peeling and epoxy application was over $10,000 for each boat in 2001 prices.

Two Navigators had leaking fuel tanks and had to have them replaced at a cost over $20,000 in 2008 prices.

I've not heard of a Bayliner suffering from blisters or leaking fuel tanks and there are many more Bayliners than Navigators.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #17
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The Navigator may end up costing more.

I have friends that own Bayliners and Navigators.

The Bayliners owners have normal maintenance and repair costs.

Three Navigators suffered from blisters and the hull drying, gel coat peeling and epoxy application was over $10,000 for each boat in 2001 prices.

Two Navigators had leaking fuel tanks and had to have them replaced at a cost over $20,000 in 2008 prices.

I've not heard of a Bayliner suffering from blisters or leaking fuel tanks and there are many more Bayliners than Navigators.
I agree with your assessments but from what we have seen a 1999 Navigator will be well past these issues in 2018 - either the blisters have been fixed or they will be very obvious when viewing the boat.
FWIW - I have seen the blisters on the Navigators and they were not
surveyed of reported as structural on the one they fixed and was on the hard next to our boat back around 2002 or so.
Just our observation here in the NE.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:08 PM   #18
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I had a 35' in charter service. 10% was close but I did 90% of the labor.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:26 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by cafesport View Post
The 10% of purchase price is a realistic metric if you want to keep the boat up so you don’t get killed when it comes time to sell. As always there are exceptions. If you run many hours per year fuel and maintenance will be more. If you own your own mooring or dock those costs will go down. If you put those savings back into the boat people will pay you more for it down the road.
I agree.

With the caveat the vessel is in good shape already and doesn't need a bunch of expensive upgrades when you get it.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:53 AM   #20
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Boat = Break Out Another Thousand - I have-found this to be true.

Just think as you and your friends are sitting on the boat enjoying a sunset, something in your boat is wearing out, leaking or already broken.

No matter how hard I try to maintain my boat, keep it clean and keep it afloat, old Murphy's Law is not far behind. If it can go wrong at some point it will.

Boating is NOT for everyone. We are the few who endure the hardships to enjoy the wonderful benefits of boating. I know one day I will say enough is enough, but until then will you please hand me that wrench?
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