Apr 23

The pros and cons of boat ownership

Reading Time: 3 mins

Are you dreaming of owning your own boat? While it’s easy to get carried away with the freedom and lifestyle benefit this can offer, it’s unwise to rush into any decisions before seriously considering all the costs – including the hidden ones – involved.

Let’s take the example of an average 33-foot motor cruiser and look at some of the financial implications.


Buying the boat

First of all there’s the purchase. The average cost for a 33-foot motor cruiser is likely to be somewhere in the region of £140,000. Naturally this is a very high capital output so you may need finance in order to buy the boat in the first place. In this case you would be looking at paying back something in the region of £6,000 annually. While this is a large amount, it actually doesn’t account for most of the cost of ownership, which might surprise potential boat owners.

MoneyMagpie_boat on the sea


Maintenance and servicing

The maintenance and servicing of a boat can actually cost a very large amount every single year. With everything from paint, oil, filters and anodes often requiring replacement, you also need to consider other yearly tasks such as preparing the boat for winter. Without proper maintenance a boat can very quickly become virtually useless and not seaworthy. The total cost of maintenance and servicing for a boat of this size is likely to be somewhere close to £7,000 per year.



This one can be a bit complicated and will vary greatly depending on where you moor your boat. Different marinas will cost different amounts, and prices depend on how long you’re planning to have your boat moored there.

It’s reported that Capri in Italy has the most expensive moorings – they cost €2,900 per night! Naturally you don’t have to pay anything like this for a spot in most marinas, but over the course of a year it might well cost around £7,000. But you also have to take into account winter storage.



Boat insurance can be another issue. You’ll certainly need it and depending on the provider and the deal that you go for, it will likely cost something close to £1,500. It’s just another cost that you need to consider before you’ve even gotten out onto the waves.



The £140,000 price tag might fool you, but boats are actually more like cars than they are like houses. This is because they are more likely to depreciate than appreciate. The levels of depreciation can be very high, especially in the first few years with as much as 10% of the value dropping off yearly.

MoneyMagpie_meal on a boat


What are the alternatives?

Clearly then, owning a boat is very expensive business. But there are actually a number of alternatives to owning which can great reduce the cost to you. Some, like chartering, are relatively well known but you might not be aware you can also take up options including boatshare schemes and membership boating clubs. Here’s a quick breakdown for you:

  • Chartering – Hiring a boat ad hoc offers flexibility but can be expensive, especially if you take boats out regularly. A full service yacht charter company such as this one may be better suited if you rarely take out a boat, or only need it for special occasions.
  • Boatshare Scheme – Boatshares reduce the cost for you but you will be limited to the boats you can use and when you are able to take them out. Depending on your perspective you might consider boatshare to be a great way to reduce costs or a way to have all of costs of boat ownership with none of the benefits.
  • Membership Boating Club – A relatively new concept, membership boat clubs offer year round access to boats at a simple monthly fee. It might well be the most flexible and convenient option if you enjoy taking a boat out regularly but don’t want the massive expense of owning.



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