5 Costs to owning a Boat

Posted on by David Graham

Boating…The costs to owning a boat

Summer is fast approaching as is the joy of getting out on the water with friends and family. The numbers of Americans owning boats is at an all-time high.
There are (5) basic costs associated with Boat Ownership.  But you can never put a price on the great times you will have with friends and family on a boat.

1st) The cost of the boat.
There are so many options for a boat owner today.  Selecting the right boat for you often depends on how you plan to use the vessel.  Relaxing, fishing, touring, to ski or board…will you we operating the boat on big open water or smaller inland waters? 
Safety equipment and electronics are another piece associated with the cost of the boat.  Will it be new or pre-owned. 

2nd) Storage
Storing the boat can get costly.  Whether you trailer it back and forth from your home or a storage facility, keep it in dry storage at a marine, in a slip or on a mooring.  Space can be tough to find in some areas and very costly in other areas.  If you are in areas that may experience tropical storms, to you have a place to store the vessel out of harm’s way?  Many owners in northern climates try to find indoor storage for their vessels in the winter.  And they need to winterize and cover their boats.

3rd) Maintenance
Maintenance varies by boat.  Maintaining the hull, and equipment as well as the engine or even the sails and riggings.  In order to continue to get many years of enjoyment maintenance is critical for the vessel.
A common factor used to estimate maintenance is 1% of the cost of the boat when new.  You may find that number a little more is the vessel is older.  Following the maintenance guidelines can save you a significant amount compared to the effects of not properly maintaining the boat.

4th) Fuel
The average boat owner uses 1-3 gals./ hour.  Remember, most folks that spend 8 hours on a boat are not using fuel for the full 8 hours.  They may stop and drop anchor several hours during their day on the water.  However, if you are out wakeboarding or heading out on the big water fishing you will go through even more fuel than the average.

5th) Insurance
There are many factors to consider with insurance and how much it may cost you.  Boat insurance is an annual policy and protects the boat and you whether it is stored or being used in January or any other month.  Insurance rates have several factors that affect how much you might pay.  Obviously, the value of the boat is one. The mooring location also affects the premium in a state where it is used 6 months or less, opposed to 6 months or longer affects the rate.  How will your protect the vessel if you are in a tropical storm area of the country?  Usage plays a part in the pricing as well; is it recreational use or commercial.  Do you get Agreed Value coverage or is the policy Actual Cash Value? 
Is boat financed or owned outright.  Your experience with ownership and operating a similar sized vessel.  Have you as the operator taken a boater safety course?  Do you have prior marine losses or is your driving record good or not as good? How the boat is stored has an effect on the perceived risk by the insurance company. 
Liability coverage is a very important consideration for boat owners.  Since most states don’t have a minimum level of required coverage this is one aspect you should select wisely.  The cost of going from $100,000 liability to $300,000 or $500,000 is often not very much additional monthly for a significant amount more in coverage.  Is there pollution coverage, wreck removal, towing?
Should you have your boat policy separate from your home policy or combined with the home.  Speak to your agent and learn the benefits and drawbacks to boats written on a home policy vs. as a separate policy.

Gallagher Charter Lakes, your marine insurance specialist

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