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Old 01-06-2021, 05:02 PM   #1
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Very basic and stoopit questions about costs...

Considering a trawler to live on for 5-6 months per year, perhaps more.

In very very rough numbers, say I buy a single-engine boat for 500K and do most of my own wrenching.

What are the costs? Obviously, fuel and food are going to be what I burn and eat.

What about:

Yearly insurance.
Moorings/dockage while cruising.
Approx yearly maintenance.
Hauling, bottom paint etc.

Can these be easily hauled and laid-up on the hard for the winter or is that idiotically expensive?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:40 PM   #2
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Watching this thread - I have been wondering myself the same type of information.


If you buy a $500,000 boat - do you need another $500,000 to maintain and operate the boat for 5 or 10 years? Ball park is all I want to know...
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:46 PM   #3
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I’ll bite....
Depends!
Old vs. new
Where? US, where?, international?
Usage, dock queen or blue water?
Experience to insure 500k?
Etc.

Typically could haul every 2-3 years. We are on 6.

It all depends/variable.

We need WAY more info for an informed answer
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:48 PM   #4
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In rough numbers, it cost what you have
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Old 01-06-2021, 06:55 PM   #5
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A general rule of thumb is that it takes 10% of the purchase price each year to keep the boat maintained and upgrade its systems over time to keep up with current technology. Some years less but then some years a big hit happens.

Also a boat is a big depreciable asset. Even spending 10% each year to keep it in shape it will decline in value each year. Maybe 5-10% annually IF you spend the 10% on top of that.

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Old 01-06-2021, 07:12 PM   #6
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A general rule of thumb is that it takes 10% of the purchase price each year to keep the boat maintained and upgrade its systems over time to keep up with current technology. Some years less but then some years a big hit happens.

Also a boat is a big depreciable asset. Even spending 10% each year to keep it in shape it will decline in value each year. Maybe 5-10% annually IF you spend the 10% on top of that.

David
What David said - budget 10% of the vessel's purchase price each year for as long as you intend to own it, and you'll come out about right.
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Old 01-06-2021, 07:57 PM   #7
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How much money do you have? Add 10% to that amount and you will be good. Seriously, if you have $500K donít spend it all on the purchase of the boat. Usually if the boat is in good condition already you will spend another 10% updating the electronics and other things to get it the way you want it. If it isnít in good condition then all bets are off. We dock behind our house so it doesnít cost us anything for dockage. Our insurance is about $900 per year and the boat value isnít the main factor in that as far as I can tell. Location and experience play a big role in the insurance costs.
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Old 01-06-2021, 08:30 PM   #8
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All good points. More info...

I just threw the 500K out there from looking at used online. The boat will most likely be used. It looks like you can get a hell of a nice boat for that so I may spend less. I figure the house will be sold and we'll live on the boat, so I made it a big number. If we're going to live on it, I'll want size and a reasonable supply of goodies from an accommodation standpoint. Washer/Dryer, AC, etc. Watermaker?? I am planning on a single screw.

If we do this, it will be in Canada. My wife is from Victoria BC, but I don't plan on keeping it in Victoria. The water between Vancouver Island and mainland BC is supposedly a phenomenal cruising ground with hundreds of miles of rivers and bays on both coasts. I envision running up and down the island from Seattle to the island's northern tip, Port Hardy. I figure that we'll live on it for 5-7 months and then head for a warm spot for the winter and park it somewhere safe and secure.

I have 45 years of active boating. The first 10 on sailboats, the rest on power but nothing larger than my current boat, a 30-foot center-console with twins. I have a USCG Masters License but only a 25T rating with Assistance Towing. No experience with a large, heavy boat. I have no idea if that will help with the cost of insurance. But I'm paying almost $1100 per year now for insurance on a 100K boat. I have never filed a claim or gotten a DUI or any other felonies, etc.

I have heard the 10 percent rule. Does this include insurance and mooring fees or is this JUST maintenance?

Thank you all. I am in the research phase.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:34 PM   #9
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I've heard percentage rules a lot, and maybe they're accurate overall and long term but as a practical budgeting matter, it's never that even for us. Yes, we do have fixed expenses like clockwork -- slip fees, insurance, winter layup -- but beyond that we usually have expensive years and lower-cost years. 2021 will likely be an expensive year. New refrigerator, new alternators, new macerator just for kicks, two new batteries, some canvas work, new bottom paint, and we've decided the dinghy is too small for the family, although that's really a discretionary expense. Last year it was pretty much just a new water heater, new air conditioner controls and some more canvas refurb -- low cost year.

Well, besides the dinghy, a lot of our expenses are probably elective when you really think about it. We've chosen to keep the boat Loop-ready even though we're trapped on a section of the Missouri River for now. I don't want the caliber of the boat to erode over time and then have to eat a big expense to bring it back to Loop readiness all at once. I may replace the three bilge pumps because I simply don't like the wimpy, low-budget bilge pumps we have now. The anchor is way too small. Doesn't matter now really, but it'll matter on the Loop. The fenders don't match, we have a mix of white, black and green and that bugs me.

Depends largely on how fussy you are, what your maintenance standards are and how ambitious you are with upgrades.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:56 PM   #10
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Well, you definitely sound excited, welcome and good luck. 10% to maintain the vessel in its current state of readiness, serviceability and preservation. Do not include any operating or keeping costs in this budget. No rule could be predictive of what your boat will cost you, but this comes from the averages of many experienced people over many years.
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:29 PM   #11
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A general rule of thumb is that it takes 10% of the purchase price each year to keep the boat maintained and upgrade its systems over time to keep up with current technology.
This is the conventional wisdom, but in my experience not very accurate. I bought my boat new, 10 years ago. For the first several years, costs were minimal (at least no where near 10%) as virtually nothing broke, and recurring costs, like insurance, dockage, bottom cleaning and paint, were no where near 10% a year. Now, stuff is failing. My crane burst a hydraulic line. Bilge pumps are failing. The teak will need to be sanded and re-calked. Even so, still not 10% of the purchase price. More importantly, let's say I sell the boat for half what I paid for it. Is the next guy going to save 50% on maintenance costs? Similarly, some boats are inherently more expensive to maintain than others. Keeping brightwork in top condition is expensive. I intentionally spec'd this boat to have zero bright work. The better approach is to budget expenses by category, many of which, most notably insurance and dockage, very tremendously by location.

FWIW, however, I have not spend 10% any year for the last 10 years. If I were to buy the boat used today, I still wouldn't be paying 10% of that price.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:02 PM   #12
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This is such an impossible question to answer. It isn’t that I don’t want to try. It’s more of where is the starting line and what are the standards.

Do we start with a 10 year, 20, 30 or older boat. Is the standard varnish and chrome or is it work boat and brush paint. Will the boat leave the dock and if it does is it going local, across the straight, up to Alaska or down the coast. Is this a minimalist boat or does it have stabilizers, WD, air conditioning?

A 10 year old minimalist boat probably takes less than 10% of value in maintenance each year.

A 30 year old yacht that you wish to keep to the chrome and gloss standard will probably require 30% of purchase price in maintenance for a while.

If it’s a project boat it will cost 5x more than what ever you think.
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Old 01-07-2021, 01:11 AM   #13
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Most systems are somewhere between 5 and 10 years between full servicing if you want to fix them at your convenience, not theirs. Ten percent is not a bad place to start, though admittedly arbitrary. At some point, it wonít just be fixing, but updating. Yes, you can get some nice periods if you proactively address systems, but beware, nature has a way of taking back a bit more just after profiting from a nice long run. I canít explain it, I just know it. Like a charging failure prematurely kills some expensive batteries, overnight you are $5k poorer. Head gasket letís go, maybe $8k poorer if you are not up for doing it yourself. Some things, while borderline ďroutineĒ can suck some serious cash in a short period. It just doesnít take much.

Another perspective, a boat that costs 500k used cost much more to build. You donít have the economies of scale the mfg did typically. The potential costs of major machinery or hull can easily exceed the value of the boat sometimes multiple times over if based on age. Basically, you could not build one for the cost of buying depreciated. So survey well, because some repairs could equal/exceed the value.

I bought a depreciated well respected boat in well serviced condition. Iíve mostly had to ďkeep upĒ and over 15 years on this last boat, thatís mostly what I have done, but over that much time, thatís a lot of cash. Still, now with a 40 year old boat, with the recent run up of boat values in the land of Covid, I am within 85% of purchase price, some very knowledgeable say significantly more, but letís not get carried away counting our chickens. Bottom line is a moderately aged, fully depreciated, super good condition, good pedigree boat tends to hold value and in more than one economic run, even gain value. Still, the risks are there, and they are significant.
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Old 01-07-2021, 02:37 AM   #14
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Yes, that area of BC is fabulous boating! Only one navigable river that I am aware of though (Fraser).

Personally I think the 10% figure is not that accurate. It’s probably not bad if you are talking about a $50K to $100K boat. However, I am on my third boat and haven’t used anything like 10% for maintenance.

I do agree that you should hold back a reserve when you buy the boat. My most recent boat was in very fine condition when I bought it. I did spend some substantial $ adding a stern thruster and having a door created in the side of the cockpit.

Good luck on your journey’
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Old 01-07-2021, 03:03 AM   #15
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The 10% is just a lazy generalization that is eye catching but not useful except to say owning a boat is expensive.

This ongoing thread on CruisersForum, a sail oriented sister site to TF, is helpful for understanding the cost categories. Sure, it's a sailboat in Florida (I forget where he is these days) but in post 1 of this thread is an XLS of his 49 months of living aboard.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...d.php?t=241436
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:01 AM   #16
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Yes, that area of BC is fabulous boating! Only one navigable river that I am aware of though (Fraser).

Personally I think the 10% figure is not that accurate. Itís probably not bad if you are talking about a $50K to $100K boat. However, I am on my third boat and havenít used anything like 10% for maintenance.

I do agree that you should hold back a reserve when you buy the boat. My most recent boat was in very fine condition when I bought it. I did spend some substantial $ adding a stern thruster and having a door created in the side of the cockpit.

Good luck on your journeyí
Except for your current boat, all your other boats were new. So yes you spent less than 10%.
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:04 AM   #17
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I like this quote from Spinner,

"Bottom line is a moderately aged, fully depreciated, super good condition, good pedigree boat tends to hold value and in more than one economic run, even gain value. Still, the risks are there, and they are significant..."

This has been more or less my typical boat buy over the years. I typically get buy decent quality used boats in decent shape. The one time I bought junk I quickly regretted it every time I turned the key. I don't enjoy running junk, and I despise working on junk, so I will be looking for a decent quality boat in good to excellent shape. It's far easier to keep something sharp and nice than it is to get something there from a neglected state.

Thanks, Gents. I'll keep reading.
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:07 AM   #18
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I have a well maintained 30+ year old boat. December, replaced hot water heater and all that goes with it. $1,500 and I did the work. January, heat pump raw water circulation failed. $350 and I did the work. This is just how life goes on a boat.
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Old 01-07-2021, 11:15 AM   #19
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Ha ha true for the first 2.

My current boat is 18 years old. If I were spending anything like 10% of the purchase price for annual maintenance and improvements, I couldn’t keep it for very long!
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Old 01-07-2021, 12:07 PM   #20
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