This question does not have a 'short answer'.
There are many variables such as boat age, boat size, boat type, historical maintenance
, amount of time spent sailing and in what weather
conditions, what extras are on the boat etc. etc. to name but a few.
I believe (and am fortunate as I am on my boat 24/7) that regular washing
with fresh water
, polishing and generally keeping components salt
,dirt and grit free goes a long way to preventing expensive maintenance costs.
Preventative maintenance is an ongoing 'low' cost that will reduce major maintenance, failure and parts replacements
down the line.
and polishing the boat (including stainless steel
etc) personally, usually means ones eye picks up new scratches, cracks or fractures ... signs of fatigue!
This is one of the reasons we produce a lot of freshwater on board as we use it to constantly hose the boat down.
As we spot a 'creeping problem' we replace, repair or do whatever is necessary to remedy it 'ASAP'. This prevents one problem compounding to the next and although it means a fairly constant 'short term cost' it also means a substantial cost saving in the long term.
There are so many aspects to maintenance on a boat that one could write a thesis on the matter but in general by keeping salt
away, keeping a look out for the little things, resolving issues whilst they are small verses ignoring them, results in Cost Savings, Less TIME on the hard
= more time on the water
I have had many sailors say that we have spent too much money
on for example, water makers, solar
energy, inverters, batteries and the like, but if one takes a long term view on how these items not only provide comfort, but also provide good maintenance ability, then I can guarantee that over no more than 5 years they have saved the equivalent in repairs
Of course the 'drawback' is that this style of taking a view on long term savings does require an up front injection of cash.