Buying a Boat–What does it REALLY Cost? November 12, 2019

Fay’s Boat Yard is in the business of selling boats, new and used.

(Of course, we like to think we’re in the business of selling the boating lifestyle, which means the fun and family enjoyment that comes with boat ownership; and that we are also in the business of providing good service, maintenance and accessories to all our boating customers. But that’s for another blog!)

When a customer comes in and asks “So what does that boat cost?” we always have an answer. Every boat, new or used, has a price tag. It’s X dollars.

But we always tell our customers that the costs of boat ownership extend beyond the actual price tag for the boat itself. For most of our customers, especially those who have owned boats before, this is not surprising. It’s just common sense.

But some customers, especially first-time buyers, need to be aware of the real costs of boat ownership. Just like purchasing any other asset–like a home or a car–there are other costs involved, and a smart consumer needs to understand all that boat ownership entails.

So, here are some things to think about, if you’re thinking about buying a new boat.

Cost of the boat.  This is obvious, and the price of a boat depends on all the variables: New or used? Big or small? Sleek and fast, or a roomy pontoon designed for floating parties on the water? What kind of boat and boating experience you want will determine what price range you’re looking at.

Financing.  Once you’ve selected the boat of your dreams, you must decide how to pay for it.  Will it be a cash sale, or will you finance the purchase? (Fay’s has many options for boat financing, so be sure to ask).

Insurance.  Like a home or a car, you want to protect your investment in a new boat by insuring it against accidents, damage or theft. Again, Fay’s works with several insurers to get you the best price for your boat. A good rule of thumb is to figure insurance will cost you about 1.5% of your boat’s insured value. Thus, for example, a $40,000 boat will cost about $600 annually for insurance.

Trailer and storage.   Once you’ve purchased a new boat, you have to decide where to keep it. Many of our customers also purchase trailers with their boats, and launch their boats at public boat ramps available at local lakes and rivers. Others might prefer to join a marina or yacht club that offers slip rentals during the boating season (like we do here at Fay’s). Either option involves some expense.

And during the winter off-season, many owners want to store their boats ashore in a safe and dry place. Some opt for shrink-wrap covers for winter, others like dry storage facilities. Again, there are fees and rental charges for this.

Fay’s Boat Yard has all the information you need to make an informed decision that fits with your budget.

Maintenance.  Boats run on engines, and engines need periodic maintenance and service. From oil changes to line flushing to electronic updates; winterizing engines and springtime renewal…your boat will need the service of a good trained mechanic from time to time. That needs to go into the budget for your boat.

Fay’s Boat Yard offers factory trained and certified boat technicians who are familiar with all brands of outboard and inboard engines, and we can provide estimates on the costs of regular scheduled maintenance for your model and size boat.

Taxes, title and registration.  When you purchase a new boat in New Hampshire, you must register that boat with the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles. Annual registration fees vary according to type and length of your boat. To see the current NH registration costs, click here.

Fuel.  This might go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway! Your boat will need to refuel!

Some boats use marine diesel fuel, usually without ethanol additives, and is generally more expensive than automobile fuel. Some boats burn gas faster than others, so it’s always good to ask about consumption rates.

Of course, there are hundreds of other variables to consider in figuring the total costs of boat ownership. If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll likely be buying lots of lures and reels and rods and other gear. If your kids like to waterski, you might need ropes and skis and helmets and more!

But don’t forget to counterbalance all those costs with the fun of getting out on the water, enjoying the sun and the views and the freedom of exploring our lakes and rivers. Spending time with your family. Getting away from the workaday world and into the enjoyable world of boating. Is there a price tag you can put on that?

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