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Old 08-03-2012, 08:46   #1
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Ownership Costs

Hello forum... I'm just switching over to try the live aboard lifestyle but am curious about annual operating costs of your average sailboat. I will be living ashore for 6 months a year while working, then hope to spend the other 6 living aboard in warmer climates. I've heard all sorts of numbers when it comes to operating costs. Anybody have a good guess as to what the yearly operating costs are for your average 100000 dollar boat. I'm just trying to set my price for boat shopping.... Don't want to shop for something I can't afford to maintain.


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Old 08-03-2012, 08:57   #2
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Re: Ownership costs

Check out the $500 a month thread. Picaroon has a blog itemizing expenses. the long and the short is "as much as you have." Plan on 50% of the purchase price for fixes and upgrades and, in a good year, $5-10K in repairs and replacements.

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Old 08-03-2012, 09:00   #3
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50% of purchase price. Ouch! I've heard this before but hoped it was exaggerated. Haha.
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Old 08-03-2012, 09:04   #4
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Re: Ownership costs

Hello, And welcome adoard. Can't coment on cost, still live in a house. hope you enjoy the forum
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:30   #5
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Re: Ownership costs

50 % of purchase price.. only if you are buying an old wreck, if buying say an ex charter 5 yr old 40 foot average white boat, no way you are spending half the price.

Any fit out depends on what gadgets you are willing to spend on or live without.

marina fees? usually the biggest expense of all, insurance, fuel, repairs?? haul outs/ antifoul

Here in the Uk i would say about $12000 would keep a 40 foot boat parked in a marina, insured, lifted out and antifouled once a year and any repairs to be kept in good condition $6000 of that is just to keep it in a marina.

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Old 08-03-2012, 11:04   #6
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Re: Ownership costs

Seems a good rule of thumb is to plan on spending "on average" 10% of the cost of the boat every year (some years more - some less ) -- Marina costs very widely by region -- and sometimes live aboard slips are limited. If an older boat that has not had a major refit in recent years, plan on more initially -- I would recommend delaying some upgrade/refit decisions till you live with the boat awhile.

When we were shopping for boats a few years ago, a few of the boats we looked at had very detailed records of almost all expenditures the PO's had had -- the 10% average was pretty close.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:13   #7
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Re: Ownership costs

The reason you get so many different answers is because there are so many variables in the question.

How much does it cost to maintain a car?

Depends. A brand new Toyota Camry under warranty, basically cost of gas and oil. A 40 year old Mercedes in terrible condition that you are trying to restore, a lot.

How much does a house cost? Depends. A small bungalow in a small town in the midwest, under $100,000. A large apartment on Central Park in NYC, a lot.

Same applies to a boat. New (or newer) boat in good condition with good sails and a good engine, only the cost for fuel and a place to park it. How much for a dock. In northeast FL, parts of the Gulf Coast, Houston, NC you can find slips for $5-$10/ft per month. In Ft Lauderdale or New England it could be triple that cost.

If you need a new engine for a 40' boat round number $10,000. New sails round number $3,000 each. New rigging $3,000-$5,000. Haul boat to paint the bottom every 1-2 years, $600-$2000 (DIY or pay the yard?).

Repairs. Do it yourself or pay a boat yard? DIY the cost of parts. Boatyard $50-$100/hour.

So, give more specific questions and we can narrow down the answer.
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Old 08-03-2012, 13:09   #8
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Re: Ownership costs

Hi Tagalong, I'm shopping in a similiar but slightly less price range. I don't know what your warmer climate is but mine is the Virgin Islands. The marina's I checked out were all in the $500/month price range for a boat less than 55'. I also learned that a boat worth around $75,000 post 1990 can be insured for around $3,000 a year with a total loss deductible of $2800 for named storms. So I plan on budgeting $9000 for my marina and insurance expenses, and making sure I've got 3 grand on hand for total loss. Keep in mind that the marina fees don't include utilities, which happen to be quite high in the VI. So with those expenses being set aside what can you expect for maintenance costs? I'd like to know myself.... For myself, I plan on buying the nicest boat in the 45' range that I can for the money I hav. If your're like me you won't have much left over after the intial purchase to retrofit/repair and upgrade so by nicest I mean condition as close to "like new" as possible- I'm looking for something thats going to need little-to-nothing on closing day. Is this a reality in my price range? Probably not- but its a goal. So I'd like to know, hypothetically speaking, if we start with like new condition what can the annual expected repair/maintenance costs be. After a rough estimate of that is determined, then you can add in the known costs identified on the purchase day such as, needs new sails/rigging/ etc...
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Old 08-03-2012, 13:27   #9
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Re: Ownership costs

2 - 5000 for marina
0- what ever to out fit or a 2000 budget over the next few years
cruising expense 0 - 2000 per month depends on how frugal or extravagant you are
haul out and repaint 1000 - 2000 per year
insurance ???
so as you can see its a mystery until you actually have a boat and where to keep it.

Once you have a boat in mind and a place to keep it then we can help even more on exact numbers.
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Old 08-03-2012, 18:52   #10
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Re: Ownership costs

A common "cost of ownership" estimate, which has been reasonably accurate in my experience, is 10-15% of the value of the boat (not including cost of capital or upgrades) per year.
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Old 08-03-2012, 19:33   #11
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Re: Ownership costs

I have seen this 10 to 15% figure but don't believe it based on our experience. We have a 40 year old boat with all of the goodies (genset, watermaker, etc) and we cruise many thousands of miles a year (20,000 in last two years) and it just has not cost that much, BY the 10 to 15% rule we should be spending $17 to $25k a year on keeping the boat up but we are not spending that much on everything for full-time cruising.
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Old 09-03-2012, 03:11   #12
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Re: Ownership costs

Thanks for the replies, and yes.. The only real way to find out is just go and buy a boat and discover it for yourself. I normally flip lop between a Nor'sea 27 and a Corbin 39, I think they are both great boats. But both are extremely different in terms of size, purchase price, and operating costs. Where I keep it will be influenced a lot by where I buy it. But It will be a cheaper marina. I know that. I have to admit that shopping for one is a lot of fun.
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Old 28-03-2012, 04:42   #13
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Re: Ownership costs

great info! I am also buying a 40-45 foot sloop in the 100,000 dollar range and it will be my first yacht and will be a coastal cruiser. I plan to keep it simple inside and structurally sound, thats all. Any recomendations on boats would be great! Ill be buying in the caribbean and am considering an ex charter but am wary... Ill follow the thread here for more info thanks guys!
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:42   #14
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Re: Ownership Costs

It depends on a lot of variables. The two biggest variables are size of boat and skills of owners. If it's a 25 foot boat on a trailer and you do your own maintenance and repairs, and you're good at it, then it will cost you next to nothing. If it's a 50 foot motoryacht in the water year round and you have no skills at all then you can count on spending about what you paid for it every 3 to 5 years.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:42   #15
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Re: Ownership Costs

Just buy a smaller boat, have less stuff and travel to cheaper countries. I've met people who live on $500 boats and live of EI, and they were going the same places we were. Same with those who have million dollar boats and budget thousands per month. None of this really matters once you are out in the islands.

My suggestion get a 35ish ft boat fully equipt with watermaker, ssb, good sails, electronics, ect... And get a good quality RIB with a 15hp. Then save the other 40k, and cruise indefinitely.


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