THE HIDDEN EXTRAS

While owning a boat delivers immeasurable benefits, it’s a good idea to consider the ongoing costs of boat ownership before taking the plunge…

Naturally, prices for new boats vary depending on size and brand, but many boat manufacturers and dealers can put you in the skipper’s chair for considerably less than a monthly new-car repayment. Compare boats and their prices to come up with the ideal choice for you.

The other thing to consider is how boating compares to other leisure activities you might be thinking of for your family. Whether you’re thinking of a week’s holiday overseas, a few rounds of golf, buying or renting a campervan or caravan, or joining a tennis club, you’ll find boating compares very favourably. It’s also the ultimate leisure activity when it comes to including the whole family.
 

FINANCING

You can finance a new boat just like a new car. As with car and home loans, boat loans have carried extremely appealing interest rates in recent years.
 

EQUIPPING YOUR NEW BOAT

Similar to new cars, new boats are offered with different accessories and options. When you’re pricing boats, factor in the cost of electronics, accessories and water toys and buy what’s appropriate for your boat type and size and your home waters.

Modern marine electronics are extremely reliable, are loaded with features unheard of just a decade ago and are more affordable than ever. Don’t skimp on safety gear. Today’s marine accessories can increase boating safety and fun, and make it downright easier than it was just a few years ago. Visit the marketplace to check out where to go shopping in your state.
 

OPERATING COSTS

Boating isn’t an activity like driving where you are using fuel all the time. In fact, when a person is boating, they may be fishing or swimming and not necessarily using the motor at all. If you own a sailboat the motor is used even less.

Most of the boats in use on the water today are less than 7.50m in length. Depending on use, these vessel generally don’t require exorbitant amounts of fuel. That said, it’s important to consider the fuel consumption of any boat you’re looking at buying.
 

BOAT MAINTENANCE

Boat, motor and trailer maintenance can be as simple as a freshwater wash down after each use and keeping them covered between adventures. This simple task will go a long way toward keeping your maintenance costs at bay.

If you don’t feel like you have the time and energy to do it yourself, hire a pro. It’ll pay off in the long run. Costs for routine maintenance vary by region, but expect to pay more for more involved services, such as oil changes and antifouling. Pre-owned boats can require significantly more maintenance.

As general good sense, have your boat engine serviced every 100 hours or every 12 months, whichever comes first. Unlike a car, if you break down while on the water, you can’t walk home!
 

BOAT STORAGE

When it comes to storing your boat, there are several options depending on the size of your boat. You won’t find a less-expensive way to keep a boat than storing it on a trailer in your driveway or backyard.

Another alternative for smaller boats is dry stack or rack storage. A typical rack storage facility keeps your boat in a covered shed filled with trailer-like cradles.

For owners of larger boats, and owners of small boats who crave convenience, a marina berth is the best way to go.
 

BOAT INSURANCE

Boat insurance varies by boat length and type, by the cost of the boat and the level of coverage you want. Consult your insurance agent for quotes and compare rates online.

Along with all the major general insurance companies, there are specialist marine insurance companies as well. Consider all your options.