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3 Unexpected Costs for New Boat Owners

Hopping on a boat and heading into the open water is an exhilarating activity. However, if you are a first-time boat owner, there’s a lot you need to know. Buying a boat can be a thrilling time, and there are affordable options for boats for every lifestyle, age, and budget.

There is more financial responsibility to owning a boat than the purchase price, and they include maintenance, insurance, and storage, and winterization. Here are three unexpected costs for new boat owners.

1. Insurance

You need specialized insurance for boaters. Costs for insurance vary, and many factors determine the insurance costs for your boat, whether it’s used or new. The length of the boat, the type, and the actual price of the boat will determine how much you will pay in insurance premiums. Compare rates from different insurance companies. A way to reduce the cost of your insurance premiums is by taking the boater’s education course.

2. Maintenance

Maintenance for your boat, trailer, and the engine can be as simple as washing down after each use and keeping the boat covered. However, costs for routine maintenance every year vary depending on your location, plus there are oil changes and winterizing that are paid on an hourly basis. A pre-owned or used boat might require more maintenance than a brand new boat, which can get costly. Before purchasing a boat, you should try and estimate what you will be paying for yearly maintenance to determine if you can afford the boat.

3. Winterization and Storage

There are numerous options when it comes to winterizing and storing your boat, depending on its size. The less expensive way to store a boat for winter is on a trailer in your backyard or driveway. Another option for smaller boats is rack storage. Rack storages typically keep boats covered in trailer-like cradles. Larger boat owners, and small boat owners who enjoy convenience, might consider renting a slip at a marina, with costs varying depending on region and city. Proper winter storage can be an unexpected cost to new boat owners.

Other Cost Considerations

Here are other cost considerations for new boat owners to consider:

  • Purchase Price – this depends on your budget and the type of boat you are interested in purchasing. Pre-owned or older boats might be less expensive to purchase but could have more maintenance issues. Make sure to shop around before buying a boat.
  • Insurance – insurance premiums depend on the cost of the boat and where you live. For example, if you had a $20,000 boat, and your insurance rate was 1.5%, your cost for insurance would be $300.
  • Registration – similar to motor vehicles, you need to register your boat, and registration costs will vary depending on the region you live in.
  • Trailer – in the off-season, you need a trailer to haul and store the boat either in your backyard or storage facility. Trailers can range in price, depending on if you purchase new or pre-owned.
  • Winter Storage – you need to have a plan for winter boat storage. Even if you store it in your backyard, you will need to wrap it and sit on something for the winter.
  • Maintenance – the boat will need annual maintenance to make sure it is ready for boating season every spring. Sometimes, if items need to be replaced, your maintenance costs can be higher than other years if they need a good cleaning.
  • Fuel – fuel can add up, depending on the size of your boat and how often you take it out on the water. You also need to factor in oil changes for the engine and mechanical repairs.
  • Safety Equipment – you’ll need to have life jackets for each person on the boat, plus a first aid hit, a horn, flares, and the extinguisher. Costs for safety equipment add up.

Final Thoughts

Being a boat owner can be a lot of fun, but you have to remember that there are additional costs to owning a boat than the purchase price, paying for maintenance, etc., when needed.