What Are The Costs Involved In Keeping A Boat?

​From a personal standpoint, it may be tempting to say that there is no real cost, only upsides. Owning a boat is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. There is a special kind of bond that exists between a boat and its owner, one cultivated by long outings on the water doing an absolutely glorious kind of nothing. Whether you’re looking to have a picnic at sea with friends, go fishing, or just relax and enjoy nature on your own, going boating is a great way to spend your day.

At the same time, we all know that this isn’t the whole story. For as much as we might like to idealize boats and the joy they bring us as being above such petty matters as cost, the fact remains that there are still quite a few costs to consider when ​storing or keeping a boat. That said, with the help of this guide, you’ll hopefully both be more aware of those costs and come away with a few ideas as to how you can reduce them and make your boat-owning experience more affordable.

Purchase Price and Tax

Let’s start at the beginning. Before you can even think about finding ways to cut down on the maintenance costs of keeping a boat, you first need to actually purchase one. You already know that there are plenty of different types of boats on the market, and that the size, type, and condition of your boat will all factor into its cost.

What you may not be aware of are things such as boat taxes. Some states such as Oregon don’t have them, but many others, such as South Carolina, do. You’ll thus want to be aware of the literal taxable cost of keeping a boat in your state. You’ll also want to spare a thought for other necessities such as insurance and registration.

Being aware of these factors ahead of time can allow you to budget and potentially save money by selecting a cost-effective insurance policy.

​Boat Moorings

Now let’s start to get into the costs associated with maintaining your boat’s physical condition. If you are going to keep your boat outside for a long stretch of time, you are likely going to want to invest in moorings. These are areas in which you can keep your boat for a long stretch of time, and are designed with that goal in mind. Simply tying your boat up or anchoring it in any old spot can lead to complications, while proper moorings can keep your boat safe.

How much this costs will depend on the season, your location, and what the waiting list is like, if one exists. A thousand dollars, give or take a few, is a good ballpark estimate as to how much you can expect to pay per month during at least the busiest boating seasons for the use of proper moorings. ​You may also want to invest in a decent set of bumpers or fenders to put around the edge of your boat for when you dock your boat, this prevents your boat from being damaged when it gets tied up.

Boats within Boats

If your boat is on the smaller side, designed for use by yourself and maybe a few other people, you can skip this step.

However, if you’re dealing with a larger boat, you might find yourself in need of a dingy, rowboat, or other small boats to carry onboard, should you wish to leave your main boat for a bit while at sea. The cost of these “boats within boats,” as it were, will naturally depend on what type you choose. A few hundred dollars is not an unreasonable estimate.

Boat Trailers

One of the biggest costs that is bound to come with owning a boat is the price of keeping a boat trailer. If you plan on transporting your boat at all, a boat trailer will be a necessity, and you’ll want it to be in good shape with a good set of ​tires. Not only is it possibly the only way you’ll be able to transport your boat, but it’s also a vital way of providing it with shelter as well. Trailers can run from around $700 to $1500 or more for high-end options.

A good cost-cutting measure here can be to look online and buy a used boat trailer instead of a new one.

Price of Fuel

Ah, the price of gas. In this time of increasing division, frustration with gas prices is one of the few things that can still bring us together, right?

If you thought you’d be getting a respite from this with your motorboat, you’re wrong. If you own a rowboat, you’ll be able to skip over this. If you own a boat with an outboard motor, however, you’ll need to first determine the type of fuel your boat uses and then the price of that type of gas. On average, you can plan on spending a couple hundred dollars per outing.

Additional Items

Finally, we come to a bunch of additional costs which you may find yourself facing. Consider the following:

  • If you are going far out at sea, you’ll probably want to invest in at least some form of GPS and navigational equipment.
  • It’s always a good idea to have life vests, an extra motor, and other basic safety measures on board in case of an emergency. 
  • There will be the cost of painting and cleaning the deck every year or two. 
  • Add in the price of winter storage if you live somewhere that’s on the colder side. 

Knowing these costs ahead of time can help you budget appropriately and make the cost of boating more affordable.