The real cost of boat ownership

Freedom Boat Club Portsmouth

To continue where we left off last time

Ok so say you were able to find a beautiful used 24’ Sea Ray that you liked so much, you are really considering buying it. If I only had one thing I could say to you it would be that “boat ownership is not easy and it is not cheap”. You can make up for some of the expense with your own time and effort but if you choose this route, there is enough involved that it could end up feeling like a second job. Most people do not have the time it takes to complete this work so they pay their marina or mechanic to do this for them, which ultimately just adds more expenses. The average marine mechanic gets between $75-$95 per hour.

In the end, boat ownership is for those who enjoy boating so much they are ready, willing and able to put up with the hassles and give up other forms of entertainment and sports. It leaves behind a large number of people who would enjoy being out on the water, if only it did not cost so much or take so much time to prepare the boat, to clean up after, etc. Many of them are former boat owners, who had no idea about the incredible expense/work involved in boat ownership. They loved boating, but had grown tired of the hassles and expense. The good thing is that these people now have another option to enjoy the boating lifestyle, but I will leave that for later. For now, I want to look at the actual costs associated with ownership.

I am going to leave the actual boat purchase out of my equation so I can focus on just the costs of ownership.

First thing you will need to get is insurance and with proof of boating education and a very good driving record, you may pay $750.00 per year to insure your “Water Toy”. Note: This would be dependent on the boats value.

After that you just have the storage, winterizing, shrink-wrapping, spring commissioning, slip fees, etc. The figures and facts can’t be altered here, a few may be removed if you have other options or mechanical capabilities, but realistically that 24’ boat will cost you $7000-$9000 per year on top of your boat payment.

Math for the boat owner based on a boating season free from major repairs.
(Assumptions made: no trailer, stored @ marina, work performed by mechanic)

  • Insurance = $750.00
  • Spring Commissioning = $650
  • Spring Launch = $288
  • Boat Slip (32’ @ $135/foot) = $4,320
  • Maintenance = $500
  • Fall Hauling = $288
  • Winterizing = $550
  • Shrink wrapping = $350
  • Winter Storage ($45/ft) = $1,080

I know these numbers may be depressing, but you do have another option that will allow you to get out and enjoy boating without the pains of being a BOAT (Break Out Another Thousand) owner. A membership with Freedom Boat Club will give you access to our entire fleet for half of the cost of taking care of just one boat. That is over 600 boats in 60 U.S. locations! Your boat is waiting….


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