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Old 11-01-2009, 08:46   #1
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Annual maintenance costs - 10% of value?

This didn't seem to fit in Boat Ownership & Making a Living or in Construction, Maintenance & Refit...

Reading John Rousmaniere's "The Annapolis Book of Seamanship" he states on page 381 that "annual maintenance of a fiberglass boat costs about 10% of the purchase price".

First, what does he define as "maintenance costs"?

I can see mooring fees, insurance fees, bottom wash, etc and winter storage (the latter if needed) as "fixed" maintenance costs, costs that are there whether you sail the boat or not.

But where does $15K a year in costs come from for a $150K purchase price? That sounds steep, but then, I've never owned a boat.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:58   #2
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Trraveller,
When you replace the engine(s) or sails those are maintainance costs. Changing the oil, oil filter(s), and fuel filters are done as the season changes. Batteries need to be replaced. Refrigerators and stoves are other costs. If you own a motor home or know someone who owns one, ask them their annual maintenance cost. What about the maintenance costs of your home? I guess the biggest surprise to me was the time necessary for weekly maintenance. This happens whether it is summer or winter.
John
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:27   #3
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Originally Posted by scallywag View Post
When you replace the engine(s) or sails those are maintainance costs.
That is hardly done on an annual basis. What wears out on an engine that is hardly used, at least in comparison to the engine in my car. Sails? Not having any experience, I don't know how often they are replaced.

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Originally Posted by scallywag View Post
Changing the oil, oil filter(s), and fuel filters are done as the season changes. Batteries need to be replaced.
Nickle and dime stuff to me as I do my own maintenance. Maybe batteries won't last as long as they do in my vehicles which already last about 10 years under very harsh conditions.

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What about the maintenance costs of your home?
Pretty well nil. For example, I fixed the electronic ignition control for my furnace. Cost? $2.50 per relay compared to a $600 service call...the ignition control would have run $400 alone.

I am beginning to think the author's costs are on the high side and based on boat owners who have everything done for them, but I am open to more comments from boat owners.
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:08   #4
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A bit over the top

Traveller,
I can't offer any guesses as to annual costs for those who hire work done, but in the 35 years that I've owned boats I have NEVER reached the 10% of cost figure for normal maintenance. For the past few years the figure has been more like 1 to 2 %.

This does not include improvements or disaster repair. The year that we were dismasted in Insatiable I the figure reached nearly 40%. The decision to put that much money in to a 22 year old boat was emotional rather than fiscally wise (boats do that sort of thing to us).

The bottom line is that you have a great deal of control over how much you spend on your boat.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone Qld Oz
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:14   #5
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Traveller,
I do all my own work on a 38 foot. Admittedly she is 29 years old, much of her equipment is much newer, but we sail a lot, done a transat and are about to make the hop to the caribbean, hers a summary of what I spent over the last 2 years
Repair roller furling unit ( salt water corrosion) $400
New Cruising Chute- blew out the last one in heavy air $1700
Partial rebuild of Perkins- heat exchanger $500, Waterlift muffler, $500 New injectors $400
Repair Genoa $300
NEw sunbrella on Jib $250
Batteries last about 5 years of heavy use ( high quality batts cheaper ones last about 2 years) $400 each X 3
Replace lifelines $200
THis doesn't include regular maintenance, rebedding ports, rudder repair etc etc
On the average I spend about the same amount each year, about $4-5 k a year. I could spend easily double that if i wanted to upgrade electronics etc, watermaker, etc.
Next year the expensive projects will be to replace all the halyards- mine are 5 years
old ( approx 1500 feet at $1+ per), new anchor chain 300 feet at $4.per
and some time in the year to 18 months will need a new main at $3000+
I keep Rhosyn Mor in as good a shape as a working cruising vessel can be and still afford to cruise.
Hope this helps
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:40   #6
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I suppose there are some large variables here.

Where do you maintain the boat?

Who DOES the maintenance?

What replacements are included.

If you start with a new boat, ready to sail and tricked out, your maintenance will be CLEANING and storage, fuel and insurance.

The there will come a time when you need to replace something "pricey" like a new set of sails. This can be anywhere from a few thousand to a 20 thousand. OUCH.

Most "systems" like refer, autopilot, SSB , heating cost a 2 - 4K to replace OUCH

Life lines, running rigging, cushions and upholstery yadda yadda.

How about a dink and outboard? They do need to be replaced.

So in the end you amortise the big ticket items.

How bout this for a 35 footer in the NE, USA

$2800 winter storage
$4000 summer mooring/dockage including transient fees
$400 fuel, oil, filters
$1600 insurance
$1400 bottom paint and wax
$300 to winterizing and spring commissioning

does not include storing the spar, stepping and unstepping.

That's about $10+K per year
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:43   #7
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If you cruise in the tropics, allow for a new suit of sails every 5-8 years, in effect replacing one a year, its a lot less if you daysail/ weekend etc. Rhosyn Mor is valued at about 65k Euros ( about 80-90 K USD) so 10% is about right
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Old 11-01-2009, 14:40   #8
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Traveller,
I was referring to the long term cost of the vessel that can be broken down to an annual cost. If you can afford to trade up every couple of years then your annual cost will be determined on the depreciation of your vessel. Currently, I am refitting my s/v. I will need sails. I will need a new engine. The current engine work but I want to be sure it works. Since the parts for my engine are no longer made, it is over 10 years old, I wat to make sure I can get replacement parts. Use whatever percentage you want for maintenance. The last eight years I have spent $15,000 on upgrades/maintenance and I do not pay for dockage. I am now looking at replacing the sails.
I was trying to give you a realistic cost based on an used blue water cruiser. Buy new and sell it in a couple of years and you maintenance costs will be different. If you are such an expert, why did you ask.
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Old 11-01-2009, 15:05   #9
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Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
But where does $15K a year in costs come from for a $150K purchase price? That sounds steep, but then, I've never owned a boat.
One thing to remember is that your annual maintanence costs do not all arrive in each year. Some years higher than others and will also depend on the owner's attitude to what is acceptable and what is onboard to maintain.

My annual costs have been rather low, due mainly to a lack of use. and no mooring fees

But this winter I do have some bills coming, both for the needed and the wanted - for me all these come under the term "maintanence". So on a 40 year old, "frills free" 30 foot 20k boat, 10% will be the average for the last 3/4 years - just a lot of it turning up this year . At the end of my cheque writing she will be back to being a 20k boat, but a much nicer one than when purchased......especially if I decide to spend the 10% maintanence budget for the next 3 years this winter ......but at that point my annual maintanence costs should drop to around 5% (even if I start paying for a mooring ).....but I am quite prepared to delude myself on that one

USD150k boat? I figure would depend on how old and whether the boat needs a lot of maintanence sooner rather than later.......I figure that money could either buy you a 2 year old fibreglass boat.....or a ginourmous wooden boat from the 1970's.....or something in between.

10%? sounds high but I think as good a ball park figure overall as any. Perhaps should be called "Average Annual Costs"?

And BTW once you get into the boat owning thing you quickly learn not to count these things too closely and only remember the very good deals / savings made
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Old 11-01-2009, 16:32   #10
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Personally I don't think maintenance cost can be tied to purchase price. There are 'common' items of maintenance that are going to have 'set costs' and on a $15-$75,000 boat that figure just happens to be in the ballpark of 10%. What about a $250,000 boat? Do your maintenance costs suddenly skyrocket to $25,000? $50,000 on a $500,000 boat? $100,000 annually on a million dollar boat? I think not. There is obviously a point where that 10% figure simply has no more relevance. Now when one considers the purchase price of the majority of boats on the water, then that 10% likely applies as those boats will be under $50,000. So from the point of view of an author writing a book, he's technically covered the majority of his readers boats, which typically aren't going to be more expensive bluewater cruising boats.....
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Old 11-01-2009, 19:21   #11
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I think it is easier to correlate maintenance costs with the size of the boat than with the purchase price. Bigger boats need bigger pieces which have bigger price tags.

There are a lot of variables that change depending on the location of boat and sailor, but here in Canada I have never been able to get by spending less than $3,000.00. That was for a very small boat.

For a mid-size boat I budget between $6,000.00 and $7,000.00 a year.
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Old 11-01-2009, 21:57   #12
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10% is just a number... For some people the percentage will be higher, for others lower. Where you will fit in, well; you ain'g gonna know if you don't have a go...

The point is that the 10% figure just serves to remind us that once we have bought our beautiful boat, there will still be significant ongoing costs...
Mooring / berthing
Slipping
Insurance
Anti-foul
Sails
Engine service
Paint
etc.
So you need to factor them into the long term running costs. Sure there will be some owners who are maintenance whizzkids who do all the maintenance themselves at a fraction of the cost of those who operate an "open-checkbook" maintenance policy, so of course the percentage will vary, but I have to say that for the average person (whoever that may be) with the average boat (whatever that may be), averaged out over about a dozen years I don't reckon 10% would be too far from the mark. Your mileage may, of course, vary
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:30   #13
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Owning a boat is like having a "hole in water into which you throw money" ...
However on a recent and hence more expensive boat (mine is 3 years old) maintenance costs are well below 10 %, more in the 1 to 2 %, but as rightly pointed out above these are NOT the only costs !
Imo this could be the case for a 20 years old boat though.
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:58   #14
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This can't be determined with precisions. What would happen if you could plot this is that you would have a graph with lots of points scattered over it and could draw a best fit curve.

A survey might be for size with maintenance costs on the Y axis and age of vessel on X axis. You could then either collect loads of data points or have separate charts (or color dots) for only boats in a narrow size range:

different types of construction
different locations

For the new boats, things don't break so you basically:

cleaning
insurance
store
dock/moor
bottom paint

If it's stripped down, add in

Owner upgrades

Older boats will have:

equipment upgrades
equipment repairs and replacement
cleaning
insurance
store
dock/moor
bottom paint
re doing finishes (wood)

If it's a handy man special you will have:

demolition/removal of old gear
major rebuilds, hull and structural repairs
new systems: engine, plumbing etc.
equipment upgrades
equipment repairs and replacement
cleaning
insurance
store
dock/moor
bottom paint
re doing finishes (wood)

Cheaper going in, but lots of costly work and little USE of the boat. You can make this affordable with sweat equity, but gear/material costs can't be skirted. Yard work makes a handyman special too pricey.

I suspect the cost/yr goes up with age and then it might level up with some big spikes as you face major expenses - new sails, new dink or OB, running rigging, standing rigging, refer, heat,upholstery canvas covering etc.

A range of 5- 15% seems about correct for most boats in the 20 -50' range
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:23   #15
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I figure .05 to 2% of new replacement cost. You are after all replacing parts in todays dollars. If you own a 40 footer and the boat new at the boat show is $400k then figure $2 to $8k per year to maintain. Some years will be less some more but on average you will be in this range unless the boat is used in commercial operation. Then it will be higher.

To figure 10% of purchase price is to vague in my opinion. 10% of a 5 year old boat, 10 percent of a 10 year old boat, 10% of a boat sailed in fresh water 4 months a year compared to a boat sailed year round in the tropics?
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