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Old 08-02-2009, 08:42 AM   #9
timjet's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,912
RE: The real costs of boat ownership

Hi Folks,

All good replies. I think what surprised me is the real costs of owning a boat. Up until now it has not been something I have seriously considered because I am working and making a descent income. It is how I choose to spend my money. But going forward into retirement on a fixed income, how one spends their money can really make a difference on their quality of life. But quality of life also includes being able to enjoy the pursuits that make you happy. Boating has been a large part of my life since my mid 30's and I don't intend to quit. However being smart on how I pursue this enjoyment can make a real difference on how much I enjoy it.

The bottom line however is that owning a boat that cannot be put on a trailer is expensive. You can buy a "project boat" like FF mentions, but by the time you bring it up to most peoples expectations you will probably spend as much and most probably more money to do so than if you just paid more money to buy one in decent condition.

With dockage fees so high it makes sense to look around and again like FF mentions a little longer drive can pay big dividends. I don't understand why here in FL where boating is so popular and such a big business why mooring fields have not taken off. Perhaps we're on the beginning wave of such a move, but right now only one mooring area exits on the west coast of FL and that is in Ft Myers. A properly established mooring field provides greater safety for a boat than a slip with very little swing room, especially in high winds and a hurricane. In my calculations, dockage on a 34 to 36 ft boat accounts for half the annual costs and is probably the easiest to control.

Putting a boat in charter only makes sense if you purchase a relatively new boat like Ken and Marin mentions. My calculations definitely suggest this. But if a relatively new boat is what you're thinking of purchasing, then putting it into charter sure makes a lot of sense from a financial point because of the tax break and charter income. Though the cost of maintenance is higher (boat kept to the highest standards by experienced mechanics) you as an owner have no real obligations to maintain the boat other than pay the mortgage.

I think the real question here is whether to charter a boat or own one. I think the answer to that is really a personal decision. The ability to go out on your own boat at any time even if it's for only an evening cruise vs the planned well in advance vacation on a chartered relatively new boat that you can only justify doing 2 or 3 times a year is the real question. Also the pride of ownership vs the no hassle lets just jump on the charter boat for a week, also must be considered.

John, I did include the equity returned at sale. For arguments sake I used 5% depreciation per year based on a 6 year ownership period. From my figures you could purchase a 34 ft Mainship for $40,000, sell it 6 years later for $28,000 and the total cost to you including the $28,000 received at sale prorated over the 6 yr period would be like paying someone $12,037 per year for the use of their 34" mainship. A newer boat will depreciation more per year in the beginning.
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