Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-29-2010, 09:07 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Cost of Cruising

Hi, new to the forum.* Wife and I have been lifelong boaters. We are in the beginning stages of planning some extended cruising in a few years (possible early retirement if the planets align properly).* This would entail living on the boat full-time, probably doing the great loop, in addition to maybe spending some time poking around the Caribbean if things go well.

Obviously doing this requires $$, and we are trying to get a better grasp of the issue.

I am sure there is a WIDE range of budgets out there, so I wanted to get some feedback on what you might spend in a typical year for cruising.

So, my question is NOT INCLUDING BOAT PAYMENT AND INSURANCE, what do you estimate you spend (or would spend) cruising for a whole year?
netboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 10:12 AM   #2
Capn Chuck's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 897
RE: Cost of Cruising

Some of our numbers

Capn Chuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
Forkliftt's Avatar
City: Diberville Mississippi
Vessel Name: KnotDoneYet
Vessel Model: 1983 42' Present Sundeck
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,450
RE: Cost of Cruising

Welcome aboard NB,
Do you have a boat already?
Forkliftt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2010, 08:08 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
RE: Cost of Cruising

Forkliftt wrote:

Welcome aboard NB,
Do you have a boat already?
We have a boat, but it is not the boat we will use for our cruising...
netboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 10:30 AM   #5
Carey's Avatar
City: Bellingham, WA
Vessel Name: Happy Destiny
Vessel Model: Custom Lobster Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,101
RE: Cost of Cruising

So, my question is*NOT INCLUDING BOAT PAYMENT AND INSURANCE, what do you estimate you spend (or would spend) cruising for a whole year?

Forty foot slip, maintenance, fuel for moderate use of our 36' boat at slow cruise is currently running about $6,000 a year. Faster cruising and more frequent use could push us up to $10k. This of course does not include the unexpected catastrophic failure of the engine, that led to a $30k replacement. And, with the boat out of the water and nothing else to do until the engine was installed, we somehow managed another $20k in miscellaneous improvements. Our $50k summer. It's only money.
Carey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 12:30 PM   #6
Scraping Paint
City: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,745
RE: Cost of Cruising

There are three main categories of ownership costs in boating.

1. Fixed costs--- payments, moorage, electricity (if your marina charges for this), and insurance.

2. Maintenance costs--- routine maintenance, upgrades, repairs, scheduled haulouts and bottom painting, and unexpected repair or replacement costs (which as Carey pointed out, can be very high).

3. Operating costs--- fuel, food, toilet paper, all the "expendables" required to run a boat from Point A to Point B.

The VERY general rule of thumb we were told when we started contemplating the purchase of a trawler-type boat is to figure that ownership costs (1, 2, and 3 combined) tend to run about 10% of the purchase price of the boat per year.

We don't track our ownership costs for the reasons stated in the "Fear" thread in the general forum, but rough calculations tell us that over the years, this formula has averaged out to be correct. Some years we spent far less than 10% of the purchase price of the boat, but this would be compensated by other years when we spent much more.

The formula is pretty accurate, I think, for middle-of-the-road boats. In other words, a used boat in decent condition. Obviously someone who buys a new $500,000 boat isn't going to be spending $50,000 a year in ownership costs. On the other hand, someone who buys a very old boat or a boat in poor condition may well spend considerably more than 10% of the purchase price per year getting the boat up to snuff.

So it's a VERY general formula, but I've heard it expressed by enough people over the years, from the broker who helped us find our boat to experienced surveyors and other owners to say that it's a good rule of thumb to start with.

So..... if a boat you are interested in costs X-dollars, and you figure 10% of "X" is how much it will cost you to own that boat every year, if this cost fits within the amount you are willing to spend annually for boating it's likely to be a successful undertaking.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 01:51 PM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3
RE: Cost of Cruising

I am wondering if my question is too vague.

I am trying to get a feel for how much it might cost for everything. Our plan is to sell the house, car(s), kids (wait...luckily they will be on their own in a few years; wouldn't get much for them anyway), put other belongings in storage and cruise for at least a year, and see how it goes. We will use the proceeds from the house (which should be paid for) to buy the boat.

I assume we would have expenses such as the following:
Food (restaurants)
Port Fees

I have seen some numbers regarding sailing, but have found nothing as far as motor cruising. As I mentioned above, I am sure these number vary greatly...just trying to get some ideas.
netboater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 05:19 PM   #8
Capn Chuck's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 897
RE: Cost of Cruising

Netboater, The cost for a sailboat and the cost for a power boat come down to fuel difference. Every other cost will be pretty much the same. But no two boats and no two crews will spend the same and even the area you cruise determines the budget. So the boat that cruises the US coast will have totally different budget than the boat that cruises the Caribbean and the boat that anchors out most of the time will spend much less than a boat that spends it time at the dock and a 50 foot boat costs more to cruise than a 35 foot boat. Chuck
Capn Chuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2010, 05:56 PM   #9
Scraping Paint
City: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,745
Cost of Cruising

netboater wrote:
I am trying to get a feel for how much it might cost for everything.
I think that's an impossible question to answer because every person spends money differently.* I guess the only way to answer it VERY generally is to say that living on a boat will cost you the same as it*costs for you to live on land minus the cost of*the house (payments, insurance,*gas/electricity, sewer, water, etc) and plus the cost of the boat (payments, insurance, moorage, fuel, electricicy, maintenance/repairs/upgrades).* If you're not going to keep a car, you can subtract its fuel, upkeep, and insurance costs.* But you have to add the cost of storage for all your stuff that won't fit on the boat.

So it could be more expensive or less expensive to live on a boat.* There are way*too many variables to come up with a one-size-fits-all answer.

And as Chuck said, where you boat will have a major effect on your costs.* I have read of people in New England who pay thousands of dollars a month in moorage fees.* In our marina, we pay some seven dollars a foot for moorage, so a*two hundred -something*dollars a month*. Food, restaurant costs, entertainment, fuel--- all these things vary all over the map in terms of costs.* Shoot, if you decided to boat in McGrath, Alaska*right now,*you'd be paying $9 a gallon for fuel (that's gasoline, don't know how much diesel is).


-- Edited by Marin on Friday 30th of April 2010 06:57:46 PM
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
C lectric's Avatar
City: Gibsons, B.C., Canada
Vessel Name: Island Pride
Vessel Model: Palmer 32'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,254
RE: Cost of Cruising

I have a 32 yr old, 32' sedan trawler, 35' overall, single engine, outside moorage ($3K).
Really rough and dirty $10K-12K yearly. That's the boat.
Boat moorage, insurance(0.9K), maintenance, fuel (150hr yr, ~$1.5 - 2K), boat club fees total $1K, haulout every 2 yrs.

No payments, no new dinghy or o.b., no new engine, no entertainment, no medical (thats elsewhere and can't be blamed on the boat), no restaurants(same), no food. Just the boat and boat related expenses. Pots/pans/towels, etc tools, FOR THE BOAT are included although now , for us, are simply replace what we wore out or, broke, or lost.

We still manage some replacements and new stuff but it has to thought out. Canvas my wife sewed and I installed, new anchor, wife reupholstered interior. But almost all the repairs are done by me unless I cannot physically handle it, or literally don't have even close to the skills. There are a few jobs that really should be done by a yard and you must look at major jobs that way.

Some of these expenses you can figure out such as moorage, insurance, ahead of time. Some you won't really know untill you are in the thick of things. A lot depends on how much you can do and what your level of tolerance is for old but working gear. If you can stick to simply working with what you have, repair what needs to be repaired and get new as you really need it you can keep cost down, that is still relative of course. If you must have all the new electronics and other stuff then you can blow a budget big time.
C lectric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2010, 07:47 PM   #11
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 18
RE: Cost of Cruising

This question has been asked many times on other forums and the right answer is always that
"it depends"
First, I must say that the person saying roughly 10% of the price of the boat sounds right when averaged over multiple years. But the lower end boat will use more and the higher end boat less, I believe due to upkeep. It cost more for a older boat than a newer more expensive one.
It also depends on your initial selection, which can mean a lot in the long run. Buy a older poorly built boat, and expect to spend a lot more getting it up to standard than a better built boat. Replacing tanks, rewiring, hull work, engine rebuilds, can be a real budget buster. Insurance on the boat can vary a lot as well, assuming you can even get it, as more and more companies are getting out of it.
Fuel can vary depending on how much you use, which is directly proportional to how far you go and how fast you push it. And of course shopping for the best prices. Getting a small load of diesel not a big deal, but if your putting in 800 gal of diesel at a time, it adds up.
Eating out varies as well. One might go into a nice restaurant, order a fine meal, a nice bottle of wine, coffee and desert for two with tip and put down 150 bucks, where another might go out for lunch, skip the wine and pay 30 bucks. Both had a enjoyable time. But it will depend on our budget.

I think it the end it would be like living now onshore. You will spend what you have, and hopefully not a penny more, and hopefully less, so you save for unexpected surprises.
I expect to spend around 25K/year or around 2K monthly and have a 25K reserve for suprises which I would expect to find every 2 to 3 years! so about 1000 per month. So I would expect to spend total around 3K monthly or 36 per year. Which is about what the wife and I expect to get from Social Security IF it is still there in 10 years.
So over the course of 10 years (my expected cruising time ) I would spend
175K for boat
50K for upgrades
12K taxes
6K insurance (liability only)
360K living expenses of which 120K would be for unexpected suprises like engine rebuild or replacements, getting hit by lightening etc. If it wans't used, it would be a suprise for us !!
Total of around 600K of which 300K would come from social security. Our pension plan would be for backup. Selling our home would provide the cost of the boat and taxes and upgrades.

So for me, this is only viable AFTER I retire. I could do it before, and work 3 months out of the year to pay for it (I am in healthcare so it is doable) but have kids to raise first.
Of course this doesn't include medical insurance premiums and the rising cost of fuel. But I figure that as fuel costs go up, my miles will go down to compensate.
Also costs can be higher due to other travel, and unexpected family issues that might come up. But I guess this is a good enough figure for us.

bobfnbw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2010, 03:46 AM   #12
FF's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 22,553
RE: Cost of Cruising

Buy a older poorly built boat, and expect to spend a lot more getting it up to standard than a better built boat.

Nope , the crap built boat will ALWAYS be a piece of junk, no matter how mant megabucks and years are dumped into it.

My boating is a very different style , I am not out to impress folks I don't know , I'm cruising for MY enjoyment.

As you can see by the Avitar I have a US Navy Utility with a lobster boat cabin.

The hull (fire retardant resin)and engine 6-71 , are to commercial standards (not yacht) and will survive most anything. The Navy method of laminating is unique and REALLY expensive .

The deck and house are old TT style plywood covered with glass, so a change is only a few bucks and some labor.

Next winter I plan on removing the pilot house top and replacing it , a couple of weeks and $500-600 will have the overhead hatch (for engine replacement) set to open for extra ventilation , underway and overnight.

The overhead will be reinforced to take the weight of an RV air cond , for those really muggy days.

The interior is dead simple , in layout and materials , painted ply with nice wood trim.

No sacred forest decking , aircraft carrier no skid , no worries about guests shoes.

Pilot house upholstery is from a couch , nothing custom , just comfortable.

Don't like the color scheme ?, go to a tag sale buy a couch , take the cushions.

With a Hyd capstan and heavy anchors , the boat spends 99% of its cruising time anchored , not at a $4.00 per ft overnight dock.

We have run the loop ,left and right , done the Bahamas and the AICW many times.

Autopilot yes , $150 hand held GPS yes , but chart plotter and depth sounder or FLIR gear is absent.

How much you want to spend is VERY VERY variable , and can be not that much more than the fuel bill plus what you would spend at home.

Your attitude as well as vessel selection can change the budget by 90%.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Scrapping a boat, considerations and cost? Per General Discussion 12 03-21-2011 12:24 PM
Boating and fuel cost Marin General Discussion 124 11-21-2010 01:31 PM
Electronic Installation Cost Russf Electrical and Electronics & Navigation 3 11-03-2009 07:26 PM
Cost of diesel... Baker General Discussion 6 03-17-2008 07:11 AM

» Trawler Port Captains
Port Captains are TF volunteers who can serve as local guides or assist with local arrangements and information. Search below to locate Port Captains near your destination. To learn more about this program read here: TF Port Captain Program

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:47 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012