Should you own a boat?

What's involved in owning a boat - Boat Club Trafalgar

Or, is it better to use one that belongs to someone else?

Having your own boat is a dream many people aspire to. And there is no doubt as the author Kenneth Grahame so rightly said “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats!”

The freedom, the joy and sense of well-being – it’s hard to put into words and you need to experience it. Whilst taking off over the horizon for a beautiful adventure sounds perfectly idyllic, many of us still have the school run to do, and jobs or families that take priority.

Owning a boat is of course a fabulous thing to be able to do. Having the freedom to explore the oceans and go where you please.

Yet in reality sometimes we are not able to use our own boat as much as we would wish. Or the weather gods have other ideas about where and when you can go cruising! Which can make the cost per use of your boat rather expensive. It’s true the upsides can and do often outweigh this, boating can also be a time consuming business.

What’s involved with owning a boat?

Here’s just some of the things you’ll need to think about when you own your own boat. That’s once you’ve gone through the process of searching, evaluating, trying and buying it, which can also take considerable time.

Winter/New Year

This is the time of year you normally need to get your wallet out. The bills might include:

  • Berthing – marina or mooring fees or harbour dues
  • Boat Insurance
  • Servicing trailers, engines, covers and equipment
  • Boat maintenance jobs with the boat yard

With the bulbs coming up and the longer days it’s time to get into gear ready for the season. Your boat jobs at this stage will include:

  • Recommissioning boat
  • Applying anti-foul paint, if you boat is berthed in the water
  • Getting launched for the first time, shakedown cruise
  • Additional maintenance jobs, electrics etc
  • Finding somewhere to park the trailer or boat cradle

Now’s the time to make the most of your boat. Get out on the water and enjoy her – around the kids exams, holidays, weddings etc.! Go boating – and enjoy. Depending where and how you keep your boat there are still things you need to do.

  • Fuel up, essential checks and boat prep before each trips
  • Launch and retrieve wash the road trailer each time used
  • If your boat lives in the water, then you’ll want to lift, wash and clean the hull regularly. A clean hull is faster and uses less fuel.
  • Ongoing boat maintenance issues, oil changes, engine servicing etc

As summer extends into autumn there’s often some lovely days to ‘extend the season’ afloat. Yet you will need to be preparing for the winter season.  Your boat tasks may involve:

  • Research winter storage prices and options and book in
  • Winterise engine
  • Lift and clean boat
  • Decommission the boat, remove equipment and electronics if they are exposed
  • Sort out any repair jobs with the yard

And repeat…..!

The cycle goes on year in and year out. And you may also find that whilst you love your boat, it’s not suitable for every occasion. If you want to take family and guests out – is it really big enough. Or is it too big, now that life is changing for you?

Flexible boating – the modern alternative to boat ownership

If owning a boat is sounding not quite right for you, this is where boat share clubs such as Boat Club Trafalgar can provide a more flexible alternative to owning a boat.  We understand the time that boats can consume and that’s just on the shore, before you even get aboard. We firmly believe you should be able to spend ‘More Time Out’ afloat, which is way our members do not have to do any of the jobs on the above list. We take care of all of it.

So, our Boat Club members checklist of jobs for their boating year looks more like this:

Winter/New Year
  • Check direct debit for Boat Club Trafalgar monthly fee
  • Book boat – Go on Solent Discover Tour, get to know new destinations ahead of the busy season
  • Go on holiday, read books, see friends…
  • Book boat – whenever I like and get to new places I’ve not visited before
  • Join in Boat Club social events
  • Introduce a friend to Boat Club and get a free months membership. 
  • Book a boat – whenever I like and enjoy the long summer days at the beach
  • Grab a cold beer or an ice cream as you step off the pontoons after a fun day out
  • Eat, sleep, repeat…
  • Book boat – whenever I like and enjoy some late summer cruising and waterside pub lunches
  • Light the fire and book a winter holiday…

You might also wonder how boat clubs compare to boat ownership in pounds and pence…

Compare boat owning with club membership
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Registered Office: Midland House, 2 Poole Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5QY. Company No: 11202829 VAT Number: 290684671
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