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Old 26-05-2014, 11:35   #1
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Maintenance cost "jump step"

Hi there,

general question on boat maintenance cost: I heard the statement that once you pass the 40ft mark things get pricey and then again after the 60-70ish mark again. Any comments on that? Is there really no big difference between 48 and 55 in terms of annual maintenance costs? That would open a whole new horizon for me....


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Old 26-05-2014, 11:42   #2
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

It all dpends on your point of comparison. From a purely statistical approach, one has to compare systems. For example, two boats 35-40 ft vs 55-60 feet. They both have ONE engine, one or two fuel filters, one prop, one drinking water pump & heater, an electrical system, a fridge or two, etc. So one could make the point that all those costs are the same, so the difference is the standing and running rigging and sails. The comparisons are endless. The old saw about statistics and lairs comes to mind. Therefore, the "break points" are most likely to be made with some validity based on the size(s) differences of the latter group.

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Old 26-05-2014, 11:45   #3
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

I think the cost for size increase is no where near what people say. I had a 39' boat and now a 43.5' boat, the cost difference per year is about $200. And since the 43.5' boat is newer the insurance has been less and the cost has actually been less.
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Old 26-05-2014, 11:48   #4
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

Costs go up by the cube of the length, it seems. Many items are priced by the foot, with a sliding scale which favors smaller boats: bottom cleaning, washdowns, slip fees, haulouts... Slips are usually priced /ft, with larger slips having higher /ft rates.

Basically, you keep increasing boat size until the expense breaks your back; then get a smaller boat.
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Old 26-05-2014, 12:35   #5
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

Having a 33 footer and a 41 footer I'm refitting, I can say that the answer is "it depends". There's an obvious extra cost in lines, sailcloth and size of deck gear (shackles, etc.) and going from a rebuilt Atomic 4 in the 33 footer to a new diesel in the 41 footer is a one-time biggie, but generally, I don't find it crazily more expensive. On the other hand, I rarely contract out. I invest in time and skills acquisition more than I do in hiring fabrication. If I don't install it, I will be beyond service range if it goes wrong where we intend to go.

Perhaps the issue is that people who can afford bigger boats generally spend their time at more lucrative jobs, and therefore hire others to do their boat mods?
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Old 26-05-2014, 13:05   #6
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

Ok thanks - that confirms somehow my thinking:

I looks like basically cost goes up fairly linear from 35+ or so until you hit a certain size when you need a complete different set of equipment, which I would estimate is above 60 or so....

thanks all of you
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Old 26-05-2014, 13:34   #7
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

Maintenance costs are not necessarily related directly to boat length, but that is used as the easiest measuring stick. Some items such as line and sails get more expensive with length, as of course does dockspace and storage.

Maintenance is a function of boat systems. Bigger boats have more systems. For example, a small boat will have 1 or 2 heads. A big boat will have 3 and more. I have 3 bilge pumps plus the manual one. A small boat might not have a generator, big boats usually have one, and that goes for other items such as a watermaker, perhaps a washing machine or washdown system. The list goes on.

Each new system adds a level of complexity and another point of possible failure and certainly another item to add to the routine maintenance list. So it isn't a simple function of length or of interior volume but just of complexity.
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Old 31-05-2014, 20:39   #8
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

The cost increase, in my opinion, can be much greater than cube of the length.
That formula might cover the surface maintenance costs, but not the systems.
Lets say 1 head versus 3 heads, its not just three times more the cost.
You need a bigger fresh water pump. Instead of a $140 Shurflo from West Marine, its an $800 pump. The bigger pumps are not self priming. You need a priming pump too and switching valves. You need a bigger accumulator tank. One that needs a beefy mount. You need heftier wiring to supply it, so you need a bigger battery bank, chargers, etc. You need instant on water heaters, so that more than one person at a time can take a shower. You need 100 amps Instead of 30. You need a day genset and a smaller night time one. And switches to integrate them.
Likewise, 3 staterooms need air conditioning. You need to have a chiller unit, relays, none of which is needed for 1 air conditioning unit. Troubleshooting problems is more complex.
i called one service company to figure out my air conditioning problem. The technician said it was over his head. I had to figure it out, with a more complex boat, you need more competent and expensive tradesmen.
Bigger yachts tend to have better fit and finish. Also more expensive to keep up.
Just paid $5000 to refinish the teak cap rails on the main deck. Its about 200 man hours,Flybridge ones have to wait.
Jobs that you could do yourself in your spare time have to done by others and be paid for, otherwise, all you would do is work on the boat.
Instead of the $100 boat fenders you need the $500 ones. You need 1.5" dock lines that have to be special order spliced, not bought in the box at West Marine. 1.5" lines are more than 3 times the price of half inch,
Because spares are not so readily available, you need to stock more.
I could go on and on.
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Old 01-06-2014, 00:15   #9
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Re: Maintenance cost "jump step"

[QUOTE=swisscraft;1550245]Hi there,

general question on boat maintenance cost: I heard the statement that once you pass the 40ft mark things get pricy.

Once you get past a set of water wings, things get pricy-if you get all the 'crome plated' status stuff avaiable.

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