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5.6 What's it cost to own a boat?




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This article is from the Boats FAQ, by John F. Hughes with numerous contributions by others.

5.6 What's it cost to own a boat?



Here is what I have posted previously about the costs of owning Sarah, by
1970 Alberg 37 sloop. The items labelled "startup" are things that I knew
I'd need to do when I purchased the boat, or that were consequences of
pre-existing problems (e.g. a couple of substantial engine repairs). There
are a couple of charges that others may want to rule out: the bank charge
is for an account I maintain just for Sarah, and "books and magazines"
are not directly related to owning the boat. The list also includes a bunch
of "one time" expenses, like repairing the injector pump on the engine. It
turns out, though, that there are *always* one-time charges, and it's
worth learning to expect them.


Note that the list below does *not* include the opportunity cost on the
investement in the boat, which was $34,000, and hence could be earning
(at 6 percent interest) about $2000 per year. Since it's not earning that,
it's a hidden cost of ownership. (jfh)



                                 1992          1991        1990  change(91/92)
Startup (i.e. pre-existing probs)
ENGINE WORK-startup              30.77        73.77      1431.79     -43.00
Interior systems-startup                                  365.86
Safety Equip-startup            105.69                     95.14    +105.69
Books and magazines             260.47        64.83                 +195.64
DINGHY                           114.75       533.95       174.05    -419.20
Electronic Equip.               210.48       348.78       225.19    -138.30
Engine maintenance              632.12       374.07      1194.97    +258.05
Sailing Hardware                              246.95       229.27    -246.95
General Maintenance on Hull+Eq 458.87       617.96                 -159.09
Insurance                        881.00       825.00       750.00     +56.00
Interior systems, exc elec+eng  63.47       165.21       490.51    -101.74
Miscellaneous expenses          200.00       306.03                 -106.03
Moor'g,Haul'g,Storage, Anchor  830.28      1110.26      1886.08    -279.98
Not Categorized                  -73.73        75.73         9.56    -149.46
Operating expenses               77.17       546.49       498.31    -469.32
Boat-related phone calls         10.00        97.98       416.80     -87.98
Rigging Replacement             198.74                              +198.74
Safety Equipt.                                226.57        18.14    -226.57
Sail repair and purchase        111.56       447.40                 -335.84
Monthly Bank Charge              30.50        37.00        52.00      -6.50
Tools for boat                   191.84       216.63        30.00     -24.79
Yard Labor and Tax                                        180.00
                                ------------------------------------------
Total                           4333.98     6,314.61      8047.67  -1980.63



A few remarks: I've gotten less diligent about recording which phone calls
are boat related. The large engine expense this year is partly due to
having some transmission work done. The "mooring, etc." costs went
down only because I failed to pay one bill before the end of 1992. They'll
go up next year. So will rigging replacement.


I now have further information about a couple of other boats:
Medium-sized powerboat (as I recall), used a good deal. The "Access"
item may be "accessories"_I cannot recall.



         Payment     Fuel  Repair    Maint  Access     Moor    Insur  TOTALS
March       $284     $251      $10     $343     $470     $120      $25   $1,503
April       $284     $262     $882     $240   $1,687     $120      $25   $3,500
May         $284     $218   $3,905      $18      $71     $120      $25   $4,641
June        $284     $384       $0       $8     $126     $120      $25     $947
July        $284     $838      $34       $4     $106     $120      $25   $1,411
Aug         $284      $94     $119      $39     $232     $145      $25     $938
Sept        $284     $395       $0       $3      $19     $145      $25     $871
Oct         $284       $0       $0      $18       $0     $145      $25     $472
Nov         $284      $92      $17       $0       $0     $145      $25     $563
Dec         $284     $141       $0       $0       $0     $145      $25     $595
Jan         $284       $0       $0      $55     $359     $145      $25     $868
Feb         $284     $335       $9     $371      $13     $145      $25   $1,182
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTALS    $3,408   $3,010   $4,976   $1,099   $3,083   $1,615     $300


ANNUAL TOTAL $17,491 AVERAGE MONTHLY $1,458
________________________________________________________________________



And for another sailboat:


We're under $1,000 a month for a 39' sailboat at the Shilshole Bay
Marina in Seattle.


And one more:


I don't have monthly totals, but the following are my yearly totals for a
22' commercial dory with an 88 h.p. outboard ...



Licensing fees:  Fish and Wildlife                        450.00
                  NOAA Marine mammal exemption             30.00
                  F.C.C. Operators license                 35.00
                                                          _______
                  total:                                  $550.00


Maintenance and upkeep:                                   $2884.50
total fuel consumption:          534.6 gallons             $787.22
total tackle expenses                                      $825.32
                                                          _________
Grand total:                                              $5047.04



I fished the boat an average of three days a week (some weeks more,
others less) and I grossed $3372.06 last year. That brought my total
expenditure for eight months of fishing (and boating on the Pacific) to
about $2700. That gives me a monthly average of about $225/month.


My insurance (for an ocean going commercial fishing vessel) was $236 for
1992. That will go up to $242 this year.


And one more:


OK, how's this for cheap: A friend of mine and I bought a used DaySailer
for somewhat less than $3000 last summer and during the fall sailing
season, we spent less than $300 total on maintenance, which included a
new battery for our trolling motor, various rigging upgrades, a new trailer
wheel, grease for the trailer wheels, and a new anchor. We've spent $70
pre-season this year for a reef point and other than new bearings on the
trailer, we're ready to go. OK, so we don't do blue-water sailing, but it
gets us out on the water on the weekends. :-)


And another detailed one from William Courington:


I can hardly believe I'm doing this in public, the numbers are so sobering.
But here's the cost for Lively in 1993. She's is a modified Olson30
sailboat in San Francisco, maintained to a pretty high standard by an
owner who generally values convenience/quality/time over cost.


This year's major optional expense was revarnishing the interior. (Eleven
years old, and quite thin, it wasn't *that* optional-especially considering
that birch ply turns black when it gets wet.) Unlike the three previous
years there were no new sails, no new engine, no new rigging to speak of.
Maybe a typical year in the life of a sailboat.


Note how a few big items dominate each category.



Grand Total                   $8700.62



Maintenance Total            $4823.61
    Major Items
    Engine Service             434.13     By pros
    Bottom Paint Job          1001.39     By yard
    Monthly Bottom Clean       261.20     By pro
    Interior Varnish Job      2473.41     By pros
    Ext. Varnish Supplies      380.23     Incl. heat gun, scrapers
    Of Total                        94%



Misc. Total                   $ 581.13     Books, etc.
    Major Item
    Insurance                   448.00
    Of Total                        77%



Slip                          $2700.00



Upgrades Total               $ 595.88     Things not broken or required
    Major Items
    Vberth Covers              308.51
    Seacook Stove              213.12     (Great 1 burner gimballed stove!)
    Of Total                        87%



Let me also add a remark from Mike Hughes: People waste time, effort
and money on all kinds of things that don't make sense when by owning a
boat one can consolidate and waste them all on one thing.


Think about that before you ever consider owning a boat as an
investment.


Two more interesting facts on this whole issue:


Some years ago I plotted (length, price) for 200 used fiberglass sailboats
(19-50ft) on log-log paper and found a pretty good straight line (scatter
was about a factor of 2 in price). The plot indicated that the price varied
as the 3.6 power of the overall length. It implies that a factor of 2 in
length is about a factor of 10 in price. (pk).


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but sailboats, like any other
precious commodity, are sold per unit of mass, not size. My rule of thumb
is that new fiberglass sailboats cost $10 per pound displacement. This
holds (relatively) true from 12 feet to 90 feet. This does not generate
accurate numbers, but gets you in the ballpark. (tf)

 

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