Operating Costs

Can I afford a boat?

Many people dream of owning their own boat. Some individuals love fishing, others enjoy wakeboarding and water skiing, and some people simply want a special place to share with their family. Whatever the reasoning, boat ownership is an obtainable goal.

Calculate Boat Payments

The biggest upfront and monthly expense for boat owners are, of course, the vessel itself. Most buyers decide to invest 10% – 20% of the total price as a down payment. Saving up for a large down payment will decrease the cost of your monthly payment, or you can opt for a shorter loan period and pay less interest.

Adding up Boat Ownership Costs

A number of variables affect monthly boat payments such as the final purchase price, down payment, and the interest rate. To get an idea of the monthly payment in advance, see our amortization calculator. A word of advice: Use a higher interest rate for calculation than suggested. It’s better to overestimate a cost than to underestimate it.

  • Include Boat Insurance: Insurance varies by boat length and type, by the value of the boat, and the type of coverage you want. On average, hull and liability insurance will run roughly $300 – $500 per year. You can reduce the cost of marine insurance by taking a boaters education course.
  • Total Boat Fuel: Fuel is possibly the most difficult to figure. Those who spend a lot of time fishing or swimming may not use much fuel, while water sports enthusiast who is constantly on the throttle, may burn a lot more.
  • Calculate Maintenance and Repairs: A simple freshwater water wash down of your boat and trailer after each use and keeping them covered between outings will go a long way towards keeping your maintenance costs at bay. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, let us do it for you! It’ll pay off in the long run.
  • Remember Boating Extras: If you’re not careful, entertainment can break the bank. Prioritize your boating needs to avoid splurging on unnecessary expenses.


While owning a boat might seem like a fantasy, it can be a reality for many people. When shopping for a new or used boat, pay attention to its future maintenance, insurance, and general boat ownership costs. Boat ownership is a great way to get out and explore the open sea with your friends and family.