What are the costs of owning a boat?

How much does it cost to own a boat?

boat clubBuying a boat is many people’s dream. Boats come in all shapes and sizes, from modern to classic. From shiny new to various states of repair! So, the costs to purchase one can vary considerably as can the running costs.

So, it’s a bit like owning a car. It’s quite difficult to compare the costs of owning and running a third hand car or a brand new Mercedes or Tesla.

So what’s involved?

Here’s our top 10 costs of owning a boat:

Boat Survey

If you are buying second hand, getting a boat survey done will give you peace of mind. Plus uncover any work that needs doing. Surveys are often priced per foot of the vessel size.

Essential safety equipment

When you go afloat your boat will need essential lifesaving equipment, such as radios, lifejackets, flares, grab bags, life rings, first aid kits and fog horns. Plus, good electronics such as a GPS, chart plotter and personal finder devices. And this all adds up.


It’s hard to predict this, especially as some brands may hold their value better than others. Older vessels may have little depreciation. The rough ‘industry advice’ is new vessels can lose around 40-50% of their initial cost in the first 8-10 years.

boat clubBerthing & storage

Depending where you keep your boat, berthing costs will vary considerably. A swinging mooring is often cheaper, but then you need a tender to access the boat. Marinas can be expensive for all year round berthing. And then there’s winter storage if you want your boat out of the water.

Boat yard services

You may need regular wash down, launch and lift services for maintenance. Also applying antifouling each year, which is essential if your boat stays in the water full time.

Maintenance costs

To keep your boat running well, there’s always engine maintenance and winterising to do. And to keep her in good condition to preserve her resale value, there’s often repairs to hulls, tube cleaning or hull polishing, and general equipment replacement, upgrades and renewals.

Break down cover

For peace of mind if your boat only has an engine and no other form of propulsion, it’s you’ll want to subscribe to a boat breakdown service, such as Sea Start. It’s always good to know you can get home.

boat clubInsurance

This one is important and is often needed to keep your boat in a marina, or if you are applying for finance. There’s always an outside risk your boat may get damaged afloat, or there’s an engine theft. Or if anyone gets injured you’ll be grateful to have paid for a good insurance cover from a reputable company.


These are the unforeseen items boats have a habit of throwing at you. Some thing needs fixing, changing or has completely worn out. So, it’s worth budgeting about 10 or 20% for this.

So as you can see it’s worth investigating and making a budget for the type of boat you want to buy.

Or there’s a great alternative way to go boating, known as membership boating. Where you don’t own the boat. You simply pay a monthly subscription to use a fleet of boats. And then you don’t have to worry about any of the above!

See our comparison of the costs of ownership & boat sharing

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