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Old 29-03-2014, 08:25   #1
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Buying a boat in Charter Management: The final numbers

As an owner of a boat in charter, I've participated in many threads here about the costs of owning a boat in charter. (vs. owning, vs. just chartering, etc.). While I've been able to give my impressions, the problem has always been that until one sells the boat, one never knows the final costs. Well, after 7.5 years, the boat is now out of charter and sold, so I can report the final numbers. Numbers are aprox. and rounded off for ease.

Realize this is a minimum size boat purchased with The Moorings almost 8 years ago. Obviously boat prices have increased since then and larger boats cost much more. However, the percentages may be useful to anyone considering a charter management boat.

Cost (-) and income (+) in US$:

-119K: 32.5 boat, fully equipped, licensed.

+65K: Income over almost 7 years in charter

+43K: Sale price after broker's fees.

+00K: Dockage while in charter

+00K: Insurance while in charter

+00K: Maintenance while in charter

11K: Net cost of ownership for 7 years, prior to after charter expenses, not including owner's fees.

+10K: owner fee 4 wk/year for 7 years 28 weeks total. (note 3 below)

21K Net cost of boat use for 7 years of charter including owner's fees at 4 wks/year use.

+4,500: Dockage and insurance, 9 months after charter, prior to sale.

+1,500 Fuel, parts, repairs, 9 months after charter, including sailing boat from BVI to Florida. (Does not include Custom's clearances)

$27,000 Net cost for 7 years, including all dockage, insurance, repair, buy price, sale price, etc. Not including flights, or provisioning.

$800/week: aprox. cost of use comes to about 1/3 - 1/4 of what chartering the same number of weeks would have cost me

$3,600/year average cost of ownership including depreciation, insurance, dockage, repairs, etc.

Conclusions: For those who feel confident they will charter for 3 or more weeks per year, owning instead of chartering may be a less expensive option.


1. Some years, I used the boat 5+ weeks, other less than than 4. I used a uniform average of 4 weeks per year for illustration purposes.

2. Slightly less than 5 years in The Moorings followed by 2 in Footloose. The Moorings provided a guaranteed income which was something like 43% of boat price. Footloose income was commission based.

3. Owner's fee of about $50/day included fuel, ice, water, dinghy use, linen service, boat cleaning etc. Rather than a daily fee, I understand they now have a single turn around fee per use, regardless of days used.

4. The costs used do not include transportation to the boat or provisioning, which would would also have to pay on top of a charter fee.

5. One thing to consider when comparing charter management to chartering, is who will be paying the costs. As a single person, I'd likely only be paying a portion of a charter with friends, so while the average weekly cost overall is notably less, the actual cost to me personally really isn't.

6. As stated early on, inflation, construction costs and minimum boat size have all caused the minimum price of a boat to go up notably since I purchased. Guaranteed income has also gone up however.

7. While the most expensive purchase price of 4 cruising boats I've owned, this has been the cheapest average cost to own in the end. All my other boats have cost notably more, than $3,600/year on average, but I also could sail them as long as I wanted, where ever I wanted.

8. The costs of continued ownership at the end of charter may vary greatly from person to person. Some owner's sell their boat immediately, with no additional costs, others keep them for some time at much higher costs.

9. Looking back, I have no regrets. Owning in charter was a cost-effective and low headache way to sail. As I look at the purchase price of a new catamaran in charter vs. sharing the cost of chartering with friends, I've decided that step doesn't make financial sense to me. Everyone must weigh the costs and benefits in comparison to their own situation, and that won't be the same for everyone.

Happy to answer any questions.
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Old 29-03-2014, 08:31   #2
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Re: Buying a boat in Charter Management: The final numbers

One of the best charter owner v. private owner breakdowns ever...

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair...

Mai Tai's fix everything...
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Old 29-03-2014, 09:06   #3
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Re: Buying a boat in Charter Management: The final numbers

Excellent information but I do believe you've omitted one cost factor from your comparison and that is the opportunity lost cost of the initial $119,000 investment. Now I don't know if you financed anything else during that period that you could have paid on or what level of income you make on your investments. However, even after reducing that by what you would have had to spend to charter, I'd estimate that at $15,000-20,000. I also didn't follow your conversion of $27,000 over 7 years or 28 total weeks to $800/week. I'd think more fairly add the cost of lost financial opportunity and then say 28 weeks used, total cost of $45,000 or so for a cost per week of use of $1667 per week. Still less than chartering but not to the same extent.

This cost is the very reason the charter company benefits. They don't have the cost of money to consider as they don't have the $119,000 investment.
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Old 30-03-2014, 07:42   #4
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Re: Buying a boat in Charter Management: The final numbers

Somehow I double posted this. Please leave comments or questions in the other post here:
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