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Old 08-06-2019, 06:07   #1
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Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

Boat maintenance/repair/upgrades are my big budget killers really. For those that have done both how do the long term RV and Boat maintenance/repair costs compare?

I'm years away and just wondering.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:16   #2
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

We spend more maintaining our 32’ boat than my friend does with his 40’ diesel pusher.

He’s had a few thousand dollar repairs (maybe 3), but for the most part it’s not even the same league. I’m sure as the bus gets older the repairs will creep up, but it’s going on 6 years old now and as had no major issues.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:19   #3
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

The answer will really depend on the type of RV you end up with. A class A diesel pusher will be more expensive than a gasoline class C. Travel trailer maintenance comes down to replacing worn items like tires, awnings and the roof. But then, you have to factor in the tow vehicle maintenance as well.

In any case, RV expenses will generally be way lower than boating expenses. You also have way more options for RV repairs than boat yard repairs.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:35   #4
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

I have both. Boats are way WAY more expensive due to the materials you need to use.

With an RV, you don't have all the salt and moisture issues a boat has so off the shelf hardware items can be used for everything.

Literally everything costs less for an RV. And things just don't seem to break as often.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:01   #5
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

There can be no doubt that haul outs will be a lot less in an RV. Plus the right antifouling paint is not so important. The big thing with RVs is roof leaks. Besides that it's just dealing with the typical everything breaks.

Having research this a bit, I think the big killer in RV costs, is campsite rental. Of course boondocking is free or mostly free. For me anyway partly because I already own a boat, and anchor out a hell of a lot, I find the boat to be fairly inexpensive.

To clarify, I spent several months a year living in an RV. Shocking I know.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:41   #6
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

If you want to go off the beaten path in an RV you will need one of these. It does get 8 miles to the gallon which is about 2/3 of what my boat gets.



In a boat you don't need quite as robust to go where no one is.




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Old 08-06-2019, 08:44   #7
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

Sailboats are significantly higher cost to maintain, insure, upgrade and berth vs. store than an RV. Monthly sailboat berth fee can pay for a nice trip on my RV every month. However, each offers a different experience, introduces me to folks with common interests and takes me to very different and unique destinations. I am still looking for a sailboat destination that has a hot tub, dog run park and deer walking through our campsite.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:45   #8
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

Doing the RV thing now. Using RV parks in popular areas can be extremely expensive. Moving between camping sites, towing a 26' foot trailer with a diesel pickup, really racks up fuel costs rapidly. Driving any RV (motorhome or towing a trailer) is a lot more nerve wracking than cruising a sailboat, even on a dark and squally night passage. Tight right turns in cities, high crosswinds in the mid-west and deserts, finding gas stations that you can fully access and in some cases finding diesel in small communities is frustrating. I won't even talk about rude, inconsiderate idiots who somehow are permitted to drive. Last year we did the Pacific Northwest and were constantly held up by forest fire road closures. Regularly updated GPS devices that do not reflect road changes, even months after they are completed, lead to interesting problems.

While full time cruising the Eastern Caribbean, we rarely used a dock maybe spending a week docked for annual maintenance (fresh water wash down and large electric power tool use) and hauled every 18 months. Rest of the time moving or on the hook. Firing up the diesels to anchor or pull up the anchor was pretty much our diesel useage. Gas for the dinghy use actually accounted for higher annual cruising costs. Food was our number one expense. We ate out maybe once a week; if we couldn't wear shorts, tee shirts and flip flops, we ate aboard. Learning to cook and enjoy locally grown veggies and fruit, really brought down the grocery expenses.

All-in-all, I prefer the cruising life. Boats are definitely have a larger initial expense, based on livable square footage, but are so much more fun.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:53   #9
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Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

Campsite rental, and fuel if you move much. Maintenance is almost insignificant, at lest on a towed one.
True the MPG may not be much different, but your going ten times as fast, and burning fuel at a prodigious rate.
Gas will kill you, just like a boat if your going to do serious “Cruising” in an RV, you want Diesel, even if a fifth wheel.
Having owned a gas class A and a fifth wheel pulled by a C3500 Duramax dually, in my opinion the fifth wheel gave you far more room for less money, and was easier to drive and park, and the ride quality and ease of driving in high winds etc was much, much better.
Plus you have your tow vehicle to ride around in when you get there.

We lived in our fifth wheel for I think just short of two years with our two kids and a cat while the house was being rebuilt, in those two years I replaced the fridge, and that was about it, and it was like $1,000 or so, for the best one with an ice maker.
Pressurized water came from the source, only run a pump when your boon docking and the toilet is a gravity feed thing, ours was porcelain and flushed exactly like a house toilet, I’m pretty sure it was, the sink was a porcelain house sink, with house fixtures, so if needed easily replaced with Home Depot stuff.
Water heater was both electric and propane, and you could run them both at the same time, so even if it was only 10 gls, you couldn’t run the thing out of hot water in the shower, it heated water as fast as you used it. Heat was of course Propane, a fifth wheel you can take the tanks in to be filled, a Motorhome, your driving the vehicle to be refilled, and quite a few places won’t fill a Motorhome, just tanks, but most campsite places have propane too.
AC’s don’t have water pumps and strainer and hoses etc. most only come with one, you’ll want two, usually very easy to install the second in the vent hole in the bedroom.
As Sailor Chic alluded to, a roof leak is death to an RV, by the time you know you have one, there is significant damage.

Oh, and I washed the Motorhome and waxed it, once. Never again.

You want a smooth sided fiberglass one and not a corrugated metal one too. And slides can’t be understated, they make a fifth wheel HUGE.
The whole underside is called the basement and there is a lot of storage there, and of course there is no reason to stock months of food either.
Most have very min. Battery storage, mine had two 12V batteries, I added two more. There was an onboard battery charger that provided DC power and most lights had two bulbs, 12v and 120v, some were only one or the other. The battery charger was not three stage, just a simple charger, maybe new ones are three stage. All DC lights were actually trailer light bulbs and were real cheap at Walmart, Walmart will have 99% of the stuff you will need believe it or not.

There are no fancy chart plotters, autopilots, watermakers, Radar, Ais, VHF, SSB, on and on, so that saves a bunch of money, no anchors, no windlass, no winches, but you will have leveling jacks, mine were simple mechanical ones, except the landing legs that were electric.

Trailer tires will rot before they wear out, and wheel bearing are simple things too.

Just if you have a gas engine class A, you really can burn through $250 in fuel in one day, a long day, but it’s still $250 of fuel.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:02   #10
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Re: Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

Not a boat but I used to own my own airplane. A buddy and I had a mechanic who would sign off on our work which helped reduce costs considerably. I do all my own work on the boat. Both of us agreed owning an airplane was way less than owning a boat! And my plane was always angered.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:09   #11
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Re: Maintenance Costs Bost verse RV Cruising

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
There can be no doubt that haul outs will be a lot less in an RV. Plus the right antifouling paint is not so important. The big thing with RVs is roof leaks. Besides that it's just dealing with the typical everything breaks.

Having research this a bit, I think the big killer in RV costs, is campsite rental. Of course boondocking is free or mostly free. For me anyway partly because I already own a boat, and anchor out a hell of a lot, I find the boat to be fairly inexpensive.

To clarify, I spent several months a year living in an RV. Shocking I know.

A lot of free "moorings" at the Walmart parking lot, but very few for liveaboards.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:47   #12
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Re: Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

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I replaced the fridge, and that was about it, and it was like $1,000 or so, for the best one with an ice maker.

Ha....must have been a while ago. My Brother just replaced the Norcold in his deisel pusher and it was over $4k. They had to remove the windshield to install it.
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Old 08-06-2019, 10:55   #13
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Re: Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

We had a fifth wheel trailer and a F250 for a few years when we lived in the US. The total cost for this including maintenance was very little.

Boats on the other hand. There are more systems on a boat. A boat is exposed to saltwater and lives in two elements. A breakdown on a boat can be critical. Boats move slower, so the hours add up.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:16   #14
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Re: Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

I have crewed for others along the Pacific coast, but don't own a boat, do own a 24 ft camper trailer that's towed with Chevy Silverado 1500 pick up. The RV is is an older model, 2002, so I've replaced the refrigerator and tires. Plus there are usually minor repairs to contend with. The major cost for me is fuel. Two years ago I traveled with the RV from Arizona, to Florida, then north through Missouri, on to Wisconsin, before returning to Arizona. Including side trips, this was a total of 9k miles. When towing the RV my Chevy gets about 9-10 mpg, a major hit to my credit card.
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:01   #15
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Re: Maintenance Costs Boat verses RV Cruising

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Ha....must have been a while ago. My Brother just replaced the Norcold in his deisel pusher and it was over $4k. They had to remove the windshield to install it.


Not really.
This is an 8 cu ft, which is pretty big, $1,100.
Most expensive I saw was still under $2K.
Now of course like anything else, if you pay someone to do it, and you have a high buck Diesel Pusher, which likely has some name brand other than Dometic etc, it’s going to cost more, way more.
https://thervpartshouse.com/collecti...e-pricing-only

I bet the fridge in a new Nordhaven, whatever one they use, will cost over $5,000.
Never seen the inside of a Nordhaven, but bet whatever they use is high buck
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