How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Boat?

To keep a new boat in good working order, you need to find reliable marine electrical services in addition to safety courses and fluid replacements. These things add up over time.

If you just purchased a new boat, then his guide can help you figure out what you should be prepared to pay for over the course of the next year.

But most likely, you’re here because you would like to get your own boat but want a better idea of how much it will cost.

What expenses should you anticipate?

Fixed vs. Variable Boat Ownership Costs

At the outset, the boat’s purchase price is your biggest fixed expense. Next comes the trailer, needed for transporting your boat on land. These costs are considered “fixed” because they’re the most obvious and non-negotiable ones.

You might chance upon a bit of wiggle room, however, depending on what’s included in your purchase price (for example, if a private seller included the trailer in your purchase).

Other items falling into the fixed cost category are:

  • Insurance
  • Registration
  • License
  • Mooring (if you don’t have private land to store your boat on)

What are the variable expenses? These are essentially all other costs that really only relate to how much you use your boat.

These will include:

  • Fuel
  • Maintenance
  • Safety equipment
  • Recreational equipment

So let’s say you’re thinking of purchasing the standard 7.5-metre recreational watercraft.

How much does it cost to maintain that?

Based on average national estimates, you can definitely expect these costs for a year of operating your boat:


Registration – $300

Insurance – $460

Maintenance – $1,500 Note: while your boat won’t need the same amount of maintenance every year, it’s good to keep a cash cushion on hand should any large expenses come up.

License (1 year) – Varies by state, but tends to start around $40

Fuel – Calculating fuel usage by a boat is not the same as with a car. Cars you can calculate by the kilometre. Boating conditions vary widely, so your boat’s fuel use is determined by hourly usage.

Use a boat fuel consumption calculator to help you select a fuel-efficient boat.

You may even want to consider keeping a logbook on your boat to get an idea of fuel usage during your first year of use.

On top of all these, you’ll also need to purchase some essential start-up equipment. Take a look at this list that breaks down the estimated cost of boat equipment.

By crunching a few numbers that relate to your circumstances and boating goals, you will quickly get an idea of how much it costs to maintain a boat. Keep in mind that your boat’s age and frequency of use will affect its yearly upkeep.

Boats generally do not make for ideal investment properties. This is because they’re almost exclusively luxury items and suffer the effects of depreciation. Even still, properly maintaining your boat will reward you with years of thrill or relaxation – whichever suits your style.

Adequate upkeep includes maintaining your craft’s electrical systems in addition to its hull and engine. Don’t leave out a single detail as you budget for your boat’s maintenance!


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