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Old 08-03-2015, 08:10   #1
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Maintenance cost

Hi....I am looking to acquire a 55ish ft trawler. It is going to be home for the xxx years as we cruise through the warmer climes in Atlantic and Pacific. I'm trying to get a fix on maintenance cost...just the day-in, day-out costs to keep a trawler ship-shape and in sound working order. Have read a number of books including the latest version of Voyaging Under Power and Nigel's very informative Boatowners M&E Manual. But I cannot find "The Complete Gude To Costs While Cruising The Tropics". I realize the costs for sailing and power are different (i'm not looking at fuel costs per se) but with all the long time cruisers out there, some diligent voyager must have "the list" of expenses they have incurred over the past xx years. Thanks in advance for guidance or direction!

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Old 08-03-2015, 09:50   #2
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Location: North Charleston, SC
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Re: Maintenance cost

I don't think anyone can predict the maintenance cost for a boat, but the figure of 10% of the cost of the boat is often used for budgeting. If it's a new or newer boat, your cost should be less, if it's an older boat, probably more.

Another important consideration is, will the owner be doing most of the maintenance him/herself or will it be contracted out to mechanics or boatyards? A friend of mine complained that he recently spent $300 to have his raw waterpump impeller replaced. I replaced mine myself for $40 (to be honest, his was probably a harder job than mine).

Look at the maintenance schedule for the engine(s). That will be one cost. You will need bottom painting and possibly the services of a diver. The sacrificial anodes will have to be replaced from time to time, probably by a diver. You will probably want to keep the boat washed or at least waxed.

The best you can do is add up what you can estimate, then add some more for what you missed. Then hope you don't have a serious engine failure.

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Old 08-03-2015, 10:15   #3
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Re: Maintenance cost

I have been looking, in great detail, at similar cost numbers for several years. We are 20+ year sailboat cruisers who have decided to move to a trawler. I have been working with two long time trawler brokers and operators. The cost numbers are shocking!

Hourly operating cost (fuel, filters, oil)

Flemming 55 with twin Cat 3208s in very good shape $23.33

DeFever 51 twin DD 6-71N in perfect condition $15.59

I'd then expect to spend 3% to 5% of the boat price/value for ongoing maintenance. Additionally, I plan to spend $3,000 every third year to haul the boat out and paint the bottom.
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Old 08-03-2015, 19:21   #4
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Re: Maintenance cost

How long is a piece of Rope

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Old 16-05-2015, 19:36   #5
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Re: Maintenance cost

Others have already provided some feedback, and the truth is, like "how long is a piece of rope?", it really depends on so many variables. What I can say is that the bigger the boat, the faster the number goes up, and the older the boat, the more things may need to be replaced, not to mention the more things on the boat, the more things there are to need maintenance.

We have a 50' 39 ton steel ketch which is 25 years old, which we have owned for 13 years. many of the original systems have, over time, needed to be replaced. Therefore, maintenance is a combination of routine servicing, equipment upgrades, and equipment replacement, not to mention other recurring charges. Before getting into the maintenance specifics, I'll just mention a couple of the basic costs of ownership, aside from the purchase costs, just so you have a good feel for the overall costs. You may already have all of this, but just in case, don't forget dockage by the foot, and insurance.

Here is a list of things we have encountered over the past few years. They are just examples, and of course, YMMV:

New RIB dinghy, $3500
New Outboard dinghy motor (20 HP) $3800
Bottom paint $600
Replacement davit motor $225
Replacement switch and cable for bowthruster, $89
Repair leak, replace drier/filter and recharge refrigerant for fridge, $700
30 Amp to 15/20 Amp adapter $57
Freezer thermostat, $50
Wireless and bluetooth adapters $164
outboard servicing and dinghy trim tabs $246
New 12V charger for new gel batteries $442
Replace failed bowthruster joystick control $236
New dual airhorns $265
PC based navigation upgrade $138
Antifreeze $164
Two 4D gel cell house batteries $948
Replacement LED bulbs $474
New Magma grill $191
New lifelines $1450
Replace 125/250V 50' shorepower cable $800
Water heater hose $106
Micro inspection camera $230
Two batteries for anchor windlass $189
Holding tank for new head $451
New VacuFlush head $1250
Diagnose/ replace genset starter, fuel pump, and replace main engine impeller $698
Genset starter rebuild $127
new 24V charger $312
Two macerater pumps $361
head holding tank fixtures $360
Holding tank monitor relay 100
New chart plotter and digital radar $2900
New liferaft $3900

The only items above which included any labor were the entries for the genset and main engine starter and fuel pump maintenance.

I left out all the weekly odds and ends, but I just keep a $50/week line item in the budget to cover oil, filters, paint brushes, sand paper, nuts, bolts, new dock lines, fenders, paper charts, brass polish, and anything specific to a sailboat, like a new sewing machine or rolls of sunbrella, etc.

So, you see, there are so many variables which make it so hard to give you a simple answer. Hope this helps explain why and give you a feel of some of those variables.

Good luck!
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