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Old 08-02-2009, 06:53 PM   #13
Scraping Paint
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: The real costs of boat ownership

I have not yet met an owner of a boat that is in charter who has said they make money with the boat. At best, they break even--- the charter income roughly equals their cost of ownership. But most of the ones I have talked to in our marina say that the charter income simply reduces their cost of ownership.

Granted, I'm talking in the PNW where from about October through April or May charter boats mostly just sit. Somewhere like California, Florida, etc where the boating season is more or less year round (minus time off for hurricanes), the charter income on a popular boat handled by a reputable company could be enough to perhaps make a small profit. I don't know.

The other thing is that I think it is a mistake to think that a boat is an investment unless you are buying something like a Hacker or Gar Wood runabout from the 1930s that is fully restored, or you're going to restore it.

While it appears that many older trawlers sell for more than they cost new in dollars, you have to take into account the value of the dollars. Our boat sold new in 1973 for about $40,000. The same boat today in excellent condition will bring perhaps $100,000. But the boat has still lost value. The last GB36s Grand Banks made in the very early 2000s cost well over $200,000 and that was before you equipped it to do anything. So even though we could sell our boat today (assuming we could even find a buyer) for more dollars than we paid for it eleven years ago, we have lost money on the boat.

I was given a piece of advice by a family friend years ago who was a very successful businessman. Among other things he conceived and founded the company Telecheck, which years later he sold for more money than God has. He gave me a lot of advice over the years I knew him but two things he said I have found to ring very true over the decades. "Never finance your toys," and "Never buy a toy thinking you'll make any money on it."

We bought our boat simply to enjoy what we thought boating would add to our lives. When we are done using it I'll probably have it sunk somewhere for fish to live in. We do not expect to get a dime out of it when we're done with it. We might--- you never know-- but this was not even a consideration in our decision to get a boat and what kind of boat to get.
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