Cost of Boat Ownership: Annual Maintenance Fees

cost of boat ownership

For many people, the dream of one day becoming a boat owner is something that serves as a goal to work towards, but it might be fair to assume that when you think about finally being able to afford a vessel, you are only thinking about the initial lump sum that it might take to get ownership of the boast in the first place. Of course, the expense it takes to be a boat owner does not start and end with purchasing the boat itself. Just like a car or a piece of property, there are other factors to consider along the way. With this in mind, here is a general guide to the state of annual maintenance fees for anyone interested in learning about the real cost of boat ownership.

Rules And Regulations

Recreational vessels in the USA require to be registered according to certain criteria. Your craft can be registered with the US Coast Guard or your state or both. If it is over five net tons, it must be registered with the Coast Guard. There is a fee to apply for a Certificate of Documentation and the application can be made online. There are other fees associated with the registration of your vessel (such as certificate renewal) so it is important to familiarize yourself with all the documentation requirements.

There are also a number of fines that you have to be aware of, including things like $250 for allowing an underage operator, $200 for not having life jackets on board and careless operation, and $100 for speeding, a poor working muffler and towing without a spotter.

cost of boat ownership

Maintenance Costs

There are so many different parts of a vessel that need to be maintained on a regular basis, you can’t afford to let your boat fall into disrepair. On average, annual maintenance for a used boat tends to be roughly 10% of the purchase price, while for a new boat, it is slightly smaller at 2% of the purchase price. In real money terms, this approximates to about $2000 per year.

If you are interested in a more detailed breakdown of what this maintenance cost might look like, then here is a very standard and common list of boating coasts that you might expect to pay over the course of a year -at least in the month of May 2023-:

  • Boat detailing – $8 to $40 per foot.
  • Bottom and top paint – $100 to $500 per foot.
  • Regular washing and cleaning – $3 to $5 per foot.
  • Boat waxing – $100 to $500.
  • Winterization – $150 to $600.
  • 100-Hour Service – $250 to $500.

The safest thing to do is make regular checks on some of the bigger problem areas of a vessel, including the propeller, fuel system, outboard, steering system, and hydraulic steering fittings and hoses. Keeping these in good condition will help to keep your annual costs down.

If you would like to find out lots more about the cost of boat ownership and everything that you need to consider in order to keep things legal and safe, you’ll find everything you need at the National Documentation Portal. Feel free to get in touch with a member of the experienced team who will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have..