Understanding the Cost of Buying a New Boat

If you’re saving up for a new boat, it can be hard to figure out exactly how much you need to get into the right recreational vehicle. It’s not that the boat itself is going to surprise you, although there are expenses like engine tune-ups you’ll need to be ready for as you shake out the gremlins on any new watercraft purchase. No, for most boat owners, it’s the storage, upkeep, and peripheral expenses that are surprising. Here are three costs you might need to budget for, in addition to the actual purchase price of your new boat.

1. Docks and Lifts

Marine boat lifts are an excellent way to avoid wear and tear on a hull when your boat is not in use. They work well for boats in cold climes inland and on the seaside because they let you keep it right on the water without being frozen in when the ice and snow come. In warmer climates, they’re still a great investment for marine vessels in saltwater environments where constant exposure could lead to corrosion issues in the long-term. Even if you don’t opt for a lift, your boat will need a place to dock if you’re keeping it on the water. That means either renting a slip at an established facility or paying for the construction of your own dock on your waterfront property. Understanding these choices and the cost structure for each is very important when planning where your boat will spend its time.

2. Trailers and Dry Storage

For small vessels, another option is to get a trailer and store it in a location like a barn, garage, or warehouse storage facility. This does involve a little more labor when you want to use the boat, but for those who plan on pulling it to new bodies of water on a regular basis, it sets you up to just grab your boat and go, because you can just park the boat covered on its trailer and hitch it up when you’re ready to go on the road.

3. Boat Insurance

Last but not least, remember that your new boat needs insurance just like any other major asset. Like your car insurance, it needs to cover both the risk of damage to the boat under various operational and storage scenarios and your liability in case of an accident while it is in use. This is another annual cost you need to be prepared to pay, like a slip rental or storage facility would be. When deciding which extras to invest in, keep in mind whether each cost will be recurring, like an insurance policy, and which ones will be one-time, like the construction of a new boat lift or a dock.