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Old 07-08-2009, 20:25   #16
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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Let’s be careful to differentiate between “maintenance” costs and “ownership & operating” costs.
Yes. I am all-ears for any information on any top! We're basically newbies, so we're info sponges.

But my main concern is not so much easily-researchable costs like slip rental or extra liveaboard fees, but rather what it takes to keep the boat itself in tip-top shape. We don't want all our assets in a boat, nor do we want to be unable to maintain her well. I'd much rather understand the costs and wind up with a bitty day sailor we don't live on but can afford, than try to go live on a boat we just never keep up with.
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Old 07-08-2009, 21:00   #17
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You have skills as a financial planner. Good. Go through your dream boat and make a spread sheet on the life expectancy of everything aboard it. Boats are far more complex and costly than lubber accomodations. Top side non skid paint needs to be refreshed ever 8 years, hull paint can last 20, rudder posts should be inspected every haul out , electrical wiring maybe 20 for the stuff thats fairly dry, instruments around 15, flooring and settee cushions around 5, refrigeration around 15, engines maybe around 20 depending on make and model, water pumps perhaps 2 years with constant use, bilge pumps around 3 or 4 years, air conditioning around 10 years, steering around 15 to 20 years, etc... interior varnish around 5-10 years if you have really good varnish, outside varnish needs to be redone every 2 years, waxing needs to be done every 6 months, windows need to be rebedded every 10 years along with all deck fittings, batteries last typically around 5 years, you get the picture now. This is the way to accurately forecast your expected costs. Understand also that when compiling your list of expenses that your are aiming to replace with the equivalent to stock of your boat. There simply is no top end for costs, you can pick instruments that would cost more than your entire budget for several years. For sailors they could pick sails that cost 10s of thousands and last no more than a season. There is no ceiling, so pick something reasonable, but understand that a $3000 marine frigoboat refrigeration system will be smaller than a $800 household system, and a $12,000 boat air conditioning system will be far more expensive than a house central air conditioning system. Anyway, by looking through these things they will give you a good idea of the replacement costs your going to be expecting as ongoing maintanence. Have no doubt that some boats are far more work than others. Fiberglass and gelcoat versus teak and mahogany, expensive cherry veneers vs polyurethane paint, 24 opening hatches versus 5, simple engines versus big expensive engines. Also there's a big difference between a boat used as simply a live aboard versus a cruising boat. A live aboard boat doesn't need to worry as much about independent power systems, great ground tackle, blue water communications and safety. A full time cruiser doesn't necessarily need to worry about air conditioning.

Best of luck...
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Old 07-08-2009, 21:15   #18
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I've never wanted to work more efficiently. It serves no purposes of mine. Any plan that requires you be 10 times more effective seems optimistically challenged. I would need to be one lazy person to be sand bagging it that much. Personality has it's price too.
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Old 07-08-2009, 22:24   #19
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Yes. I am all-ears for any information on any top! We're basically newbies, so we're info sponges.

But my main concern is not so much easily-researchable costs like slip rental or extra liveaboard fees, but rather what it takes to keep the boat itself in tip-top shape. We don't want all our assets in a boat, nor do we want to be unable to maintain her well. I'd much rather understand the costs and wind up with a bitty day sailor we don't live on but can afford, than try to go live on a boat we just never keep up with.

I should probably just keep my mouth shut and let these more experienced guys weigh in...but I have always felt these figures were way to high in reality..I have never lived aboard so take this with lots of grains of salt.

But I have owned boats in some fashion since I was 12 or 13 years old. Largest so far a 30 footer for 5 years and now a 41 footer..Albeit Ive benn stuck on the hard with that one most of that time.. That story is a whole different kettle of fish.. Anyway Back to it shall we..

One thing I know for sure a lived on boat can be a better taken care of boat despite all its wear and tear...after all you are there everyday so nothing needs to be neglected or put off because you just showed up with friends and want to use the boat for the week end not work on this or that.

Preventive maintenance will extend the life of just about every system on a boat by double or triple what that same boat used with sparse usage and maintenance will get. I have ruined many things boat due to long term storage or infrequent usage of boats.

Here are some truth's in a fashion of sorts.

Take care of your engine and it will take care of you... 8 to 10000 hours is not unheard of...that means you may never have to replace it as long as you own your boat...Stuff happens some are bad apples or lemons just like car engine..luck of the draw.

Hull..if its fiberglass with a good gel coat that you keep waxed and polished every year with good bottom paint attention on it, never crack it up on the rocks or dock it will probably outlast you as well. (chain plates not withstanding)

Mast /boom same thing.

So this leaves you with all the other stuff.

Now lets look at my 40' boat boat ( and this is a Ketch with double some stuff)

1) New sails..Ok not the best but can be had for less then 9k for all three 7k for you( liveaboard working couple not sailing all that much will last you 10 years or longer. your not crossing oceans yet or racing right? ) Keep them covered and or remove and store )

2) Standing rigging..4K I do the work...so 3K for sloop you do the work. 10 to 12 years life min. ( baring dammage)

3) Running rigging..about the same if replacing some or all blocks as well ( again will vary allot by sun and weather exposure ( but in your situation will last 5 years at a min and some of it 10) Sun and chafe ares worst enemies ( preventive maintenance is your mantra )

4)Decks & Hatches & Ports ( This requires a bit more expenditure and attention then hull sides as it gets hammered by usage and weather and general wear and tear...If you planed on a replacement schedule of one port and one hatch per year Im going to say that will just about have you covered..I realize you may have to do 4 at once but you get my point. Awlgrip deck resurface can be done one section at a time.. or bite the bullet and get it over with for 10+ years...1000.00 for material you do the work.

5) Bright work topside..This is a yearly or by-yearly task so thats why I don't like much wood topside...but its more time then money..may be 100.00 per year in material.

6) Bottom paint 1000.00 you do the work ..includes haul out and pressure wash by yard.

Instruments and lights I will skip till later. As will I canvas..Do you have any?

So your below decks already for less then 35K for 10 years That 3500.00 per year..300 bucks per month.

I dont care what you do below decks you will not go over your 1700.00 per month no way no how. You do most of the work and you can replace every system in your boat ( less any fancy electronics ) for another 35 to 50K thats only 5 grand per year tops another 400.00 bucks per month.

Round it up to 1000.00 per month for little projects you want to do and upgrade some gadgets, cleaning supplies, and a canvas replacement fund and you still have 700 left over for slip fees, electricity' water and insurance.

Piece of cake.

Ya sure some one will shoot holes in all this saying I missed this or that and I did to be sure but not all that much. 12K is a lot of maintenance money per year for a DIY'er..a LOT!... As you can see I am not only maintaining Im replacing at 12K per year in this scenario.

Hope this helps...its just my opinion.

OH PS: If I had to clean a bottom every 2 or 3 weeks I'd own my own Hookah if it was more then about 25.00 to have it done.
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Old 07-08-2009, 23:22   #20
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Indeed.
I'm not suggesting that the proposition makes sense, just defining to what the 5 to 10% figure refers.
Hey, fair enough.

It really is confusing, though; I always took it to mean 'of purchase price,' and most places I've seen it, that's been implied ... and that implication can lead to frustration, since 10% of my purchase price equates to about 4k a year, whereas even 5% of my 'replacement value' equates to about 11.5k a year, about triple my purchase price estimate - if I'd built my 'can I afford this' budget model around the purchase price figure, I'd be toast at this point ... so good thing my background is in finance.
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Old 07-08-2009, 23:58   #21
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25% of fair condition value...

I still feel that a working figure of 25% of the fair condition value of the boat is a good working figure.

I go for 7% maintenance, 6% depreciation, 12% loss of investing power (the money could have been used to buy a real investment).

Marina fees, insurance and fuel costs are extra.

The numbers float all over the place according as to whether the boat is new, old, live aboard, heavily used, poor economic times and so on, so an overall figure is useful.

It may look high but seems to generally accord with real world experience.

I'm still waiting for someone to prove me wrong...
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Old 08-08-2009, 00:16   #22
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I agree with the 7 % maintenance/replacement figure...the other two are moot points really..as we as sailors are not in it for an investment of a return of money but an investment into a return in life... nor are we worried about what else the money could have done..Its about sailing and a mariners life style period.

For my boat that would be 6700.00... plenty of money to replace and maintain things every year.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:18   #23
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I would suggest that any attempts to apply a formula or percentage to identify maintenance costs are usless. Variables such as quality & performance expectations, appearance criteria, "do-it-yourself" expectations & skills as well as discretionary spending make any fixed estimates meaningless. Wouldn't it be equally impossible to provide a cost for living in a house? My family has been maintaining our live-aboard & fulltime cruising vessels for 38 years without ever owning a house. It has been my observation that my boating expenses have been less than my colleagues with with the same economic resources who live in and maintain houses. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:57   #24
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this is a buyers market to the max--is possible to find on ebay a really decent boat for a mere pittance-just have it surveyed---there are boats out in the real world that are selling sooo cheaply is impossible to believe---is difficult to sell a decent boat now for any money at all---look wisely and find what you want with cash in your hand and you will gain not lose---also make sure you find a surveyor with SAMS certification---many donot have that. a broker will hit the price to include his commission of 10 percent or 3000 dollars minimum---be aware of this fact...there are also sellers who love their boat sooo much they will not pay attention to the market being down--pass those unless you are sooo in love with the boat you donot care how much you spend---with the market being down, there are many folks who cannot afford to keep their toys--can find a gooood deal on those--but ye must have cash in your hand for these---there are many in other ports outside of usa that are in need of sale---take cash..or travelers checques....have fun searching--remember--there are many boats not attached to a broker --some in goood shape and some in fair shape---be wise and find the deal of the century...
also remember--there is a premium on available slippage--many do NOT accept liveaboards--and the waiting list can be as long as 10 years depending upon the area in which you wish to keep the boat---cost of slippage is wide and varied--i have seen 130/month and i have seen 1200/month for 41 ft boat.....i keep mine--i have 2 boats at present-one is for sale--on moorings in san diego---there is a 3 yr wait for mooring in my area....shop around while seeking the boat of your dreams--you may get lucky and find both at same time---might find boat and have to wait forever for the slip---depends on your region of residency.....other wise, cost of living is same as on land--just the rent and initial money paid out and the annual cost of repairs--which is not able to be preplanned lol..and the price of fuel to commute to work if you still do that..goood luck and fair winds
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:30   #25
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Any attempt to apply a formula to boat maintenance costs is going to fail, and fail miserably for all the reasons stated above.

Depreciation DOES NOT occur at a steady rate. In fact, if the boat is well maintained and after an initial new boat depreciation it hardly happens at all. I bought a houseboat in 1983 for $35,000 and lived aboard for the better part of 17 years. I sold it for $35,000...the original purchase price. Yes, I know about constant dollars, but you get the idea.

My 42' sloop is 28 years old. But, she's got a pedigree (one of Bob Perry's best designs) and I have maintained her and upgraded her continuously over the 20-year period of ownership. She's worth a lot more now than I paid for her in 1989. However, I've spent a small fortune on her.

The OP used the term "tip top shape". IMHO, Gord's original figures were absolutely right, based on many years of boat ownership and careful record-keeping, and on observation of other boats I've worked on professionally. If you buy a used boat in good condition, and you want to maintain her in tip top shape and upgrade her as you go along -- and, you're not just living in a marina, but actively cruising her -- then you will indeed spend somewhere between 5 and 10-15% per year of the used purchase price to do that well.

Some years the outlay will be minimal. However, there are those infrequent years where unforeseens and maintenance/upgrades are going to be very costly.

Those who purport to be able to maintain a boat themselves for a tiny fraction of these figures are just kidding themselves. No one can do it, at least not to any decent standard.

IMHO,

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:41   #26
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the formulae change when you're living aboard

I don't think any of these percentage-of-purchase-price rules are applicable to a liveaboard situation.

Many marine products are not made for constant use. Take, for example, a stainless BBQ grill. If you're grilling dinner four or five nights a week, in one month the grill will receive more use than the grills on most non-liveaboard boats receive in a year. So, at the end of a year, you've got a grill with twelves year's usage in "normal boat" years. I'll tell you this: if a grill lasts me three years, I'm feeling very good about it. I literally burn them out.

There are people on this site who have probably never needed to change the joker valve on their head. As liveaboards, we're ready for new joker valves every six months. The shower sump pump that came with the boat lasted three years, at which point I upgraded to a more industrial type of pump that would stand up to liveaboard standards.

An earlier poster said that running rigging should last 5-10 years. Well, maybe on a boat that spends its winters on the hard and only sails weekends in the summer. It only takes me about 2-3 years to wear out sheets, travelers and vangs; halyards tend to last a bit longer. Similarly, I had to change out the mast-base blocks after three years, because the cheap blocks that came with the boat were not up to the amount of use they get on this boat. So far I've replaced five $30 blocks with five $95 blocks, and I'm hoping to get a decade out of the better equipment. Those are the kind of expenses that are hardest on the psyche, because you're not really adding additional equipment, you're just replacing stuff that you already had.

This is part of the problem being a liveaboard who cruises--you can no longer get away with the cheap gear that others use. After breaking three or four of the cheap boat hooks you finally decide to get the biggest, toughest, most expensive one you can find.

The other thing is that I'm constantly upgrading the boat. Since having bought it three years ago, I've added davits, a solar arch, a wind generator, a graywater tank, a bimini, all sorts of electrical systems, et cetera. But the list of improvements I still want to make is as long as my arm: mast-mounted whisker pole, an AIS transceiver, water desalinization, forward scanning sonar, SSB....... The list makes my head spin. We don't have unlimited funds, so we save up to add one major system a year while taking care of regular maintenance as needed. But it adds up quickly.

Bottom line is that when you add up the boat mortgage, slip fees, maintenance, insurance, and improvements, we spend a lot more that the amount of rent we'd be paying on an apartment. Is it possible to do it cheaper? YES. Go with a smaller boat. But you'll still be surprised at how a liveaboard lifestyle can suck down the boat bucks.
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:14   #27
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I don't think any of these percentage-of-purchase-price rules are applicable to a liveaboard situation.

Many marine products are not made for constant use. Take, for example, a stainless BBQ grill. If you're grilling dinner four or five nights a week, in one month the grill will receive more use than the grills on most non-liveaboard boats receive in a year. So, at the end of a year, you've got a grill with twelves year's usage in "normal boat" years. I'll tell you this: if a grill lasts me three years, I'm feeling very good about it. I literally burn them out.

There are people on this site who have probably never needed to change the joker valve on their head. As liveaboards, we're ready for new joker valves every six months. The shower sump pump that came with the boat lasted three years, at which point I upgraded to a more industrial type of pump that would stand up to liveaboard standards.

An earlier poster said that running rigging should last 5-10 years. Well, maybe on a boat that spends its winters on the hard and only sails weekends in the summer. It only takes me about 2-3 years to wear out sheets, travelers and vangs; halyards tend to last a bit longer. Similarly, I had to change out the mast-base blocks after three years, because the cheap blocks that came with the boat were not up to the amount of use they get on this boat. So far I've replaced five $30 blocks with five $95 blocks, and I'm hoping to get a decade out of the better equipment. Those are the kind of expenses that are hardest on the psyche, because you're not really adding additional equipment, you're just replacing stuff that you already had.

This is part of the problem being a liveaboard who cruises--you can no longer get away with the cheap gear that others use. After breaking three or four of the cheap boat hooks you finally decide to get the biggest, toughest, most expensive one you can find.

The other thing is that I'm constantly upgrading the boat. Since having bought it three years ago, I've added davits, a solar arch, a wind generator, a graywater tank, a bimini, all sorts of electrical systems, et cetera. But the list of improvements I still want to make is as long as my arm: mast-mounted whisker pole, an AIS transceiver, water desalinization, forward scanning sonar, SSB....... The list makes my head spin. We don't have unlimited funds, so we save up to add one major system a year while taking care of regular maintenance as needed. But it adds up quickly.

Bottom line is that when you add up the boat mortgage, slip fees, maintenance, insurance, and improvements, we spend a lot more that the amount of rent we'd be paying on an apartment. Is it possible to do it cheaper? YES. Go with a smaller boat. But you'll still be surprised at how a liveaboard lifestyle can suck down the boat bucks.
i have resided aboard ever since 1990--i have found the costs of living aboard are dependent upon th estandards which one insists upon keping---if you hve chmpqagne tastes--you will have to have a champagne budget--if you are able to downsize and live on the cheap, it will show in your bottom line. everything is dependent upon your particular standards. i have used the same magma bbq for over 6 yrs--without problem--now i am living on a formosa without stern rails--i use a weber smokey joe kettle and mesquite--real mesquite from mexico!!--i donot need to have a very overpriced railmounted stainless steel bbq--i stow mine below decks between uses. i replace it for under 20 dollars every 3 yrs. some even only cost me 2 dollars!!! i never pay retail --is against my religion!! i donot and will not shop in worst marine--principles dictate i stay away--i prefer downwind marine, sailing supply and san diego marine exchange--the discount acount i have there makes worst marine look like the thieves they are!!! RETAIL PLUS 400 PERCENT IS RIDICULOUS TO PAY FOR ANYTHING...many things that folks onboard use that are allegedly marinized--are truly not anything more than those items which are purchasable at rv and sports stores--with a fancy name sewn on. there are some folks who say "you get what you pay for" yet these folks need to replace their stuff every 2-3 yrs when mine lasts much longer--do i take better care? no. do these folks have any special way of taking care of their things?? no. go figger----there ARE many itms which require the marine specs on them--some are available at ace hardware!!! some are available in smalll arenas of waterworld.....use judgement and keep your standards as you desire----the main points are the slippage---doesnt have to be the most expensive slip in the harbor---again--you seek the level at which you feel comfortable living!! i prefer not to live in marinas for personal reasons---i m safer where i keep my boat---an the locale is less expensive than a marina--is all goood...and much more safe for me and for my boats..slippage and repairs and initial cost of boat.....the biggest output of money. make sure there is money for engine repair and for haulouts and for other important stuff that comes up--and for emergencies of unknown origin...you should be able to live as cheaply or as expensively as you desire.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:45   #28
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I lived aboard for three years, was out of the country for two and am preparing to move back onboard.

I think I beat the statistics while living aboard as I was there 24/7 and able to prevent problems before they happened. I did have issues pop up along the way but that was not the norm.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:02   #29
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i live aboard in san diego--NOT a cheap place for it--and i have resided aboard since 1990.....i use only 1000/mo in san diego with 2 boats.....cruising is alot cheaper--foods are less costly and anchoring is a possibility rather than an illegality lol.....
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:20   #30
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wow, 10% per Year of the purchase price?? I guess if you buy a fixer upper and include all the improvments it could be even more. But if you bought a well found boat I wouldnt expect it to be near that (excluding improvments, new electronics etc "boy toys")
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