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What’s the True Cost of Owning a Boat?

There were about 280,000 powerboats sold last year. If you’ve spent time on a boat recently, you know how much fun they can be.

Boat ownership can be incredibly exciting. You can just hop on the boat, enjoy the open waters, time with the family, and go fishing.

If you’re thinking about getting a powerboat or any other type of boat, you have to weigh the costs of boat ownership. You’d be surprised to learn that there’s much more to it than the purchase price.

Read on to learn the cost of owning a boat before you start to shop for a new boat. It’s a real eye-opener.

Taxes and Registration

A boat is considered to be a motor vehicle in most states. Like a car purchase, you have to pay state taxes and registration fees.

What does that look like? Let’s say that you bought a $20,000 boat in Pennsylvania. The sales tax there is 6%, making the state tax $1,200. There may be an additional 1-2% in local taxes.

The registration costs depend on the size of the boat but expect to pay between $50-$75. This will vary by state, but you need to factor in these costs. 

Boat Maintenance

The long-term operations of your boat depend on you. You need to maintain the boat and keep it clean. Start by getting these 9 items for boat maintenance.

If you have a powerboat, you’ll need to maintain the motor by changing the oil frequently. You’ll also need to have the motor inspected regularly to ensure it works before you head out on your next trip.

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Insurance

Boats aren’t cheap little toys that you play with. They are big purchases, and you need to protect your purchase with boat insurance.

Insurance premiums vary, but you should expect to pay 1-2% of the purchase price of the boat in annual premiums.

Safety Equipment

You are required to have certain equipment on board the boat for safety reasons. Lifejackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and a horn can add up quickly.

A good estimate for a boat safety fit is about $500. It may be a little more or less, depending on how many lifejackets you need.

Storage and Docking Fees

Where will you keep your boat during the sailing season and in the offseason? You could have your boat moored at a nearby marina during boating season and put the boat on a trailer in your driveway in the offseason.

In that case, you’ll have to cover marina fees and buy a trailer. The marina fees will vary, but you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars a month. A trailer will cost under $1,000.

You may decide to just have your boat on a trailer and launch it from a launch ramp. Most places have a launch fee, which will depend on the size and type of boat.

The Cost of Owning A Boat

Are you surprised by the cost of owning a boat? You have a lot to think about before you buy that sweet 30’ powerboat. You’ll want to do the math and calculate taxes, registration, storage, and maintenance before you buy the boat.

Do you want more boating and auto maintenance tips? Head over to the home page of this site for more helpful articles.

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