If you’re in the market for a boat, then you know that they can be very pricey. But there is a good reason behind this. Boats are an investment and should be treated as such.
They require regular maintenance and upkeep to keep them running smoothly, which can get costly over time.
However, if you take care of your boat properly, it will last much longer than other types of watercrafts like jet skis or kayaks.
You don’t have to break the bank because you want a new boat. The most important thing is that everyone has fun no matter what boating experience they choose. But, why are boats so expensive?
Why Are Boats So Expensive? A Breakdown of Boat Maintenance Costs Per Year
There are a few main reasons why boats are so expensive. Here is a look at some of the main factors behind their high price tags.
1. Materials & Labor
The majority of boats are made out of fiberglass, wood, steel, aluminum, or a combination of these materials.
They are also often painted to keep them looking nice. This all makes for high-quality materials that can be quite expensive.
To help offset the cost of materials, boat manufacturers will often price their vessels higher than comparable products like jet skis and kayaks.
When it comes to labor, boats are extremely complex machines. All of the different parts must be put together carefully and with an attention to detail unmatched by other types of vehicles like cars.
Even the simplest boat takes many hours, days, or weeks to construct because they are made up of many tiny parts. This adds up quickly and turns a simple trip across the water into a costly investment.
2. Future Resale Value
Because of the materials and labor that go into a boat, the initial purchase price is usually higher than other vehicles. However, those vehicles cannot compare to boats regarding their future resale value.
In many cases, a good condition used boat will sell for as much as it originally cost new. This cannot be said for other vehicles like cars.
3. Maintenance & Upkeep
Because of their intricate construction, boats require regular maintenance and upkeep to stay in good condition. Without the proper care, they can quickly run into costly problems to fix later on down the road.
For example, many people who own boats will install a second battery on their vessel. This ensures enough power for the boat’s engine and all of its electronics so they don’t die mid-trip.
Unfortunately, engines can also be very costly to repair if something goes wrong with them—which it often does on a boat.
4. Supply and Demand
While this doesn’t affect the initial purchase price of a boat, it does play a role in what people are willing to pay for later on. Boats will usually sell for more than other watercraft because they can serve as transportation and not just for recreation or fun.
Few other options exist for getting across the water if you don’t have a boat, so their value is typically higher than other vehicle types at all times.
5. A Luxury Lifestyle Choice
Some people are willing to pay extra for a boat because it provides them with a certain type of lifestyle.
Many cruisers will tell you that they enjoy life on the open water and don’t mind spending money on their vessel so they can experience it at its best.
This is similar to how some people buy luxury cars even though there are less expensive options on the market. However, it is not just about the luxury of owning a boat.
It’s also about the comfort and satisfaction you get from feeling like you own your little bit of nature as well as an escape from our busy world.
6. Fittings and Extras
As with any luxury item, boats come with a host of extras and fittings that can quickly increase overall costs. For example,
many buyers will pay extra for custom paint jobs or other special touches to make their boat unique. Others may add larger engines with more power or new electronic equipment like sonar devices.
7. Powerful Motor
Due to the nature of boats, it is common for them to have much larger engines than other types of water vehicles. This has many benefits and means that replacement engines can be quite costly over time.
Generally speaking, the bigger the engine on a boat, the more expensive it will be to maintain and replace parts. However, there are plenty of small boats out there with fundamental engines that cost next to nothing to maintain.
Are Boats Expensive to Maintain?
The simple answer to this question is YES, and it’s about the same as owning a car. Whether you’re talking about a sailboat, a motorboat, a jet ski, a kayak, or other water vehicles, they all require proper maintenance.
One of the most important things you can do to keep your boat in top condition is to have it serviced regularly by a certified mechanic.
Doing so will go a long way in ensuring that your boat continues to run smoothly and provide you with countless hours of enjoyment on the open water. Here are some other ways you can keep your boat in good shape:
Wash and Polish it Regularly
In addition to regular maintenance, you should also wash and polish your boat regularly.
This will help keep it looking its best and make it less susceptible to corrosion and other types of damage. Make sure to use good quality boat soap and polish to get the best results.
Constantly Check the Engine for Problems
Boat engines are susceptible to all of the same problems that car engines face, but it is even more important to keep an eye on them when you’re out on the water.
While this may be difficult depending on how far away from land your vessel is, you should still prioritize checking the engine from time to time.
Use Rust Proofing Spray on Metal Parts
Keeping your boat well protected from rust is one of the best ways to ensure that it will not deteriorate over time.
Rustproofing spray can prevent many problems associated with corrosion, and you should apply it to any metal parts of your boat.
Keep a Cover on the Boat When Not in Use
Many people think they do not need to protect their boat with a cover when it is in the water, but this is not true. Leaving a boat uncovered when it is not in use makes it
much more susceptible to rain and other types of weather damage. A simple tarp will do the job just fine, but be sure to remove it before getting on board.
Use a Sailboat Wind Indicator to Monitor the Weather
One of the biggest dangers in using any boat is dealing with bad weather, which can change quickly and without warning. If you’re sailing in any type of rough seas, it’s a good idea to use a sailboat wind indicator to monitor the weather conditions.
By doing so, you can get an early warning of any approaching storms and take steps to avoid them before they become a problem.
Have the Boat Regularly Inspected by a Marine Mechanic
While it is important to perform regular maintenance on any boat, this should not be your only line of defense against potential problems.
You should also have a certified mechanic inspect the boat as often as possible, ideally every six months. Doing so will allow you to find and fix any problems before they become serious.
How Much Does Boat Maintenance Cost?
The average boat owner spends around $2,000 for maintenance services per year. However, it varies greatly from as little as $700 or less per year if you DIY to $5,000 per year when you hire a professional to do it.
Generally, hiring a professional to do the entire maintenance work can cost you 3-5 times more than DIY. However, doing the work you can do and leaving the ones you can’t do to a professional is a great alternative and can save you a lot.
Like a car, yearly boat maintenance costs can vary based on the boat type, how often it is used, the condition (new or used), and whether it’s used in fresh or saltwater. A new boat will cost less to maintain than a used one for at least the first few years.
5 Common Yearly Maintenance Costs
Here are some of the most common yearly maintenance costs.
- Engine Service: Whichever comes first, your boat engine should be serviced at least every 100 hours of use or every year.
- Anti-fouling: Bird droppings are hideous, dirty, and hard to scrub off. So, it’s a good idea to invest in anti-fouling devices such as decoys to keep birds off your boat and reduce time and money spent on cleaning.
- Oil changes: It is always necessary to check the oil level, change if needed, and ensure water is not getting into the fuel line.
- Common wear and tear: Over time, your boat’s motor, electric wiring, propeller, or cooling system may experience wear and tear, especially if frequently used. Although this is not a fixed annual cost, it’s always advisable to set aside some maintenance money to repair and replace these components over the years.
- Salt and UV damage: Your boat’s deck, roped, canopy, and other upholstery may corrode due to damaging salt or the harsh rays of the sun. As such, it is important always to wax your boat at the beginning of every season and take appropriate measures to prevent too much damage.
Other maintenance costs include winterizing (if you don’t use the boat year-round), storage, hauling out (when not keeping the boat in the water year-round), launch, and spring make-ready.
The cost of all these services will be determined by the boat and engine size, location, and storage type. Also, bear in mind that using the boat in freshwater can significantly reduce the cleaning and maintenance costs.
The table below shows the average maintenance costs of a boat per year.
|Aesthetic related maintenance (blisters and corrosion)
|$100 per year
|Winterization (once per year)
|DIY – around $150 Hiring a professional – $300 – $600
|Boat waxing (once every 1-3 years)
|DIY – $150 – $500 Hiring a professional – $15 – $50 per linear foot
|Boat trailer maintenance
|About $100 per year
|Regular cleaning and washing
|DIY – $50 – $300 per year Hiring a professional – $3 – $5 per foot
|Boat detailing (once every year)
|$8 – $40 per foot
|100-hour (yearly) service
|$250 – $500 per engine
|Bottom paint (once every 1-2 years)
|DIY – $100 – $500 Hiring a professional- $15 – $50 per linear foot
|$50 – $200
Frequently Asked Questions on Boat Costs
How Often Should I Service My Outboard Motor?
How often you should service the motor depends on how frequently you take your boat out and the number of hours you sway with it. As a general rule of thumb, you need to service your boat motor after every 100-hour interval.
Do I Require to Change My Boat Engine Oil Every Year?
Manufacturers recommend changing the oil once a year or every 100 hours for a gas boat engine and every 50 hours or less for a diesel engine. Changing the oil increases the boat engine’s lifespan, so it can be better to change it more often than experts recommend.
Why are Boat Parts So Expensive?
Boat parts can be expensive for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that they are often made from high-quality materials that can withstand the harsh conditions of the ocean. Another reason is that boats are often used for recreation or commercial purposes, which means a large demand for boat parts. Whatever the reason, it is essential to shop around for the best prices before making any purchases.
Are Boats a Waste of Money?
Some people think that boats are a waste of money and that the only person who profits is the one selling them. However, this is far from true as boating can be an extremely fun and rewarding activity for people of all ages. Whether you’re spending time with your family or just using it as an office, having your boat can be a great investment.
Is Having a Boat Worth It?
So, are boats expensive to maintain? The answer is a resounding yes! But, with the right knowledge and proper caretaking, your boat can last for years and provide you and your family with hours of enjoyment on the open water.
Have you ever owned a boat before? If so, what tips do you have to share about keeping costs down? Let us know in the comments below.
Read: Boat slow to accelerate