Strong Price? How Much Will a Boat Cost You?

You may have decided that you want your boat after spending time on a family or friend’s boat or renting one for a few weekends. What style of boat, though, should you purchase? One with a strong price? What would you do with it? Which option is best for you and your family? When you’re not using it, where would you put it? And, of course, the most difficult question of all: how many can you afford? 

The questions above are already organized for you. So, all you need to do is answer these questions before buying. After all, doing so is the greatest approach to reducing uncertainty and moving forward with your boat purchase.

Buying a boat is a significant commitment, so take the time to thoroughly comprehend how much boat ownership costs, including the purchase price, annual boat costs, and calculating the expected lifetime investment your vessel will necessitate.

Once you know what the ultimate cost of owning a boat will be, you can choose the boat that’s perfect for you and your family, rather than being forced to sell it at a loss a few years down the road or wishing you’d gone ahead and bought that bigger boat you weren’t sure you could afford.

What is the price of a boat?

If you only want to row near the water, a $150 inflatable boat would suffice. If you want a floating resort that attracts attention, expect to pay millions of dollars. The cost of any boat you want to buy will be determined by the following factors:

  • Brand
  • Trailer
  • Location
  • Storage option and Costs
  • Size and design
  • Maintenance costs
  • Extras and features
  • Equipment and accessories

On the other hand, a used boat could cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars less. Sailboats, for example, cost around $20,000 on average – possibly much less if purchased from a private party. However, the cost of a boat is only the beginning.


A solid name-brand boat may cost more upfront, but it will save you money and time in the long run. For example, Duffy Boats is a well-known and well-respected boat builder. Purchasing a generic boat with a similar design would not provide you with the same level of quality, dependability, or support for the duration of your boat ownership as purchasing as Duffy.

Trailer (The One That Pulls)

If you require a trailer to transport and store your vehicle, this may increase the purchase price; however, it is occasionally provided as part of a package deal. Just do some bargain! This is a regular practice at dealerships, boat fairs, and most importantly, seasonal dealer sales events; it’s commonly included when the trailer can help the dealer close a transaction. If you can’t keep your trailer on your property while your boat is in the water, you’ll have to pay for basic upkeep like brakes, tires, and general maintenance, as well as monthly storage fees.


Boats can be more expensive during peak seasons than during the off-season. Similarly, purchasing a boat in a high-demand geographic market may be more expensive than purchasing a boat in a low-demand geographic market. All of this means that a cabin cruiser in the off-season can cost around $100,000 if you choose a basic or generic model. If you buy a brand-name boat with all the bells and whistles during peak season, the same size and style of a boat may cost more than $500,000. With that in mind, you may use a few general guidelines to estimate the cost of your ideal boat.

Storage Option and Costs

If you can’t keep the boat at your home or on your land, you may wish to invest in a cover, a top, or even rent interior storage. In sections of the country where the climate is colder, summer and winter storage are two completely different requirements. Winter storage usually entails engine and boat winterization and sturdy protection in colder climates where snow, rain, and winter winds could cause damage.

In terms of cost, boats are normally shrink-wrapped for exterior storage at the cost of $10 to 15 per foot, so a 21-foot boat might cost $200 to 300 to cover and prepare for the winter. Inside rack storage is more expensive because the boat is inside and more protected from the elements. Inside storage costs about $50 per foot, which means the same 21-footer would cost around $1,000 for the winter season.

In-season storage costs vary by region and canal, but in-water dock space can cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $5,000 every season. Although indoor rack dry storage is more expensive than in-water dock space, many people believe it is well worth it to have the boat safely kept within a structure, waiting at the dock when needed, and then washed and stowed again when completed.

Size and Design

Larger boats, not surprisingly, cost more than smaller vessels. Cabin boats and boats with enclosed cockpits are more expensive than open-top boats. The boat will cost more if it has a larger enclosed space.

Maintenance Costs

A boat purchase, like a car, comes with annual maintenance fees, which vary depending on the type of boat, how often it’s used, whether it’s used in fresh or saltwater, and whether it comes to you brand new or used. Maintaining a new boat is less expensive than maintaining a used one, at least for the first few years. Cleaning, tire, brake and oil changes servicing, cleaning, possibly a battery replacement, and alignment are all things that come up with autos. A boat has engine maintenance and cleaning expenditures, hull maintenance and storage, winterizing, haul-out, and spring make-ready and launch.

The size of the boat and engine, the location, whether the water is fresh or salt, and the kind of storage are all elements that influence the price of these services. Similarly, costs rise as the size of the boat and engine grows. A four-stroke outboard motor with 150 horsepower, for example, might cost $250 to service and winterize, plus another $250 to clean and winterize the boat. Remember that keeping the yacht in freshwater saves money on maintenance and cleaning. Freshwater is significantly easier for a boat and its engine to handle than saltwater.

Extras and Features

Boats, like most vehicles, come in simple and fully loaded versions. If you want anything in the middle, you can choose which alternatives are most important to you. Which characteristics you select will be determined by the following factors:

  • The type of boat you choose is important. 
  • When and where will you be out on the water? 
  • To whom do you intend to go boating?
  • As a boat owner, what is your level of experience? 
  • Personal goals and objectives

Families wanting to go boating with little children, for example, may want to invest in additional safety precautions to protect their children’s safety on the water. Upgraded navigational instruments may be required for boaters to explore exceptionally difficult waterways. A top-of-the-line music system is a must-have for boaters who plan to entertain friends and family.

Boats that will be used frequently will have different features than those used mostly for day trips. The following are some of the most common features and options that can affect your ultimate boat price:

  • A/V and stereo systems
  • Control with a joystick
  • Lighting with a twist
  • Climate control and air conditioning cockpits and cabins
  • Chargers for batteries
  • Anchors with a windlass
  • GPS Position Holding and Autopilot
  • Steering assist
  • Sunshades
  • Finishes and floors that are unique 
  • Head Vacuflush Systems
  • Weather Tracking through Satellite
  • Chartplotters of the Future
  • Platforms for swimming (hydraulic or otherwise)

Equipment and Accessories

Life jackets, paddles, horns, signal flares, and other safety equipment should always be considered while purchasing a boat. There’s no need to buy everything you can think of all at once when it comes to additional accessories; a good strategy is to “treat your boat” to a new item or update with accessories like lighting, watersports towing equipment, stereos, and more every spring and fall. If you budget carefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your boat and all the summer enjoyment it brings.

Final Takeaway

Buying old and boating in your backyard would drastically decrease all of these costs. Finally, after all the things you need to remember, require and desire from your boating experience. Make these selections before you buy something, and figure out how much it will cost you and if it has a strong price that will cost you after some time! Taking note of these things will be a great help for you to be fully prepared to buy a boat.

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For more boat building advice, check out MyBoatPlans‘ Complete Boat Building Guide.

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