How Much Does a Boat Cost?

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Getting out into the water in a boat can be one of the most enjoyable experiences in life. There’s just something about the wind in your hair and the sound of the water that helps you relax and enjoy the moment.

If you’ve rented a boat before, it’s a great way to enjoy the experience without having the commitment of actually owning something. However, you also probably figured out that it’s extremely expensive to rent a boat in most cases.

In many areas, it costs as much to rent a boat for a single day as it does to pay a monthly payment for a boat. If you enjoy boating enough that you’d like to do it more than once in a great while, owning a boat is the way to go.

But how much does a boat cost exactly?

Boat costs are all over the map. It depends on a few factors such as the size, the type of boat, and if it is new or used.

For example, you could spend somewhere between $500 and $5000 for a Jon boat. If you’re looking for a pontoon boat, you could spend anywhere between $5000 and $50,000.

A yacht will cost you at least $300,000 up to millions. A regular fishing boat can be between $25,000 and $100,000. For a house boat, you can spend $40,000 and up. An airboat typically runs between $30,000 and $100,000.

As you can see, there’s a pretty wide array of prices for boats, depending on what kind you’re after.  BTW, once you have your boat, make sure to check out our reviews of the top boat covers to keep your new purchase protected!

Why is Owning a Boat so Expensive?

When you look at the price tag of a new boat, there’s a decent chance that you’ll experience some form of sticker shock. Boats are not cheap to buy. But even if you convince yourself that you can afford the purchase price, there are several other costs to consider. It’s not a one-time purchase kind of thing.


Once you buy the boat, you’re going to need some place to keep it and somewhere to launch the boat in the water. Using a marina is the most convenient option, but it also costs more than keeping your boat in dry storage. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to call around and get the pricing for marinas and dry storage options in your area. Dry storage can save you money, but it does require more time and planning before you can get on the water.

Besides where you store the boat during boating season, you’ll also need to keep it somewhere in the winter. There are numerous places around that offer winter boat storage for a fee. This is usually the easiest and most convenient option. If you have marina storage, you could leave the boat in the water during winter. However, this requires winterizing the boat, which involves another cost.

Maintenance and Insurance

You’ll also have to get insurance on your boat. Boat insurance typically isn’t cheap, and it varies greatly depending on what coverage limits and type of coverage you get. It’s generally a good idea to get higher liability limits, since you’ll probably have numerous guests enjoying your boat as well.

Maintaining a boat is never as easy as you think it will be. Many estimate that you’ll spend 10% of the purchase price on maintaining your boat. In some cases, it can be a lot higher than that if you run into major issues or repairs. In many areas, boat mechanics are in short supply and have waiting lists. They also charge accordingly.

Is It Better to Buy a New or Used Boat?

When you make the decision to purchase a boat, is it better to buy a brand new one or find a nice used boat? This one is definitely different for everyone, but here are some factors to consider from each angle.

Buying New

There’s just something about having a brand new vehicle that feels awesome. No one has ever used it before. It’s clean and shiny and new. It has that “new boat smell”. You can feel good about the fact that the boat is straight from the manufacturer and there shouldn’t be any issues or surprises.

One of the biggest advantages of getting a new boat is that it comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. This means that any major issues or repairs that are needed for the first few years should be covered under the warranty. You don’t have to worry about paying a bunch of money right away in big repair costs.

Another advantage is that sometimes you can get special promotional deals on financing the boat. Instead of having to come up with the money all at once, you can get a low interest rate and a lower payment by financing it new.

While buying a new boat can be nice, it does have some drawbacks. The price of the boat will undoubtedly be higher. Boats tend to depreciate a lot after you use them, so buying new isn’t always the best investment financially.

Sometimes, boat manufacturers screw up and make a model of boat that just has issues. When you’re buying something brand new, the boating community hasn’t had time to make up its mind about a boat yet. This means that you could be buying a problem child that has issues that will have to be constantly dealt with.

Buying Used

With a used boat, you don’t get the “new boat smell” or the satisfaction of being the first person to own your boat. However, you do get some other advantages. When a boat model has been out in the market for a few years, you can read reviews online and see what other people think about them. If the boat model is a lemon, you’ll be able to tell quickly.

You also don’t have to worry about the boat rapidly depreciating in value compared to what you paid for it. You’ll be able to save some money overall on the price of the boat, and hopefully get something that stands up to the test of time.

On the other hand, you won’t be getting a manufacturer’s warranty, so any major repairs that are needed will be all an you. There are a lot of factors to think of when deciding between new or used boats and this decision will depend on your risk tolerance and how much you want to pay.

What is the Best Month to Buy a Boat?

Is there a best time of the year to buy a boat, or are you good pretty much whenever you go?

There definitely is a best time of the year to buy a boat – December. To be more specific…late December.

Why is that? Boating is one of those industries that gets kind of left behind during the Christmas rush. While everyone is out shopping for Christmas gifts and planning for Christmas, boat buying gets lost in the shuffle. It’s similar to cars and other big ticket items.

If you go into a boat dealership from about December 15th through the end of the year, you’re more likely to find sales reps that will work with you on a discount. If you are dealing with a successful boat seller, they may be trying to minimize taxes and will be willing to unload inventory.

If you are dealing with an unsuccessful boat dealer, they might just be trying to generate whatever sales they can get to pay the bills. Either way, you come out ahead on the deal. This typically mainly applies to new boat sales and not necessarily used boats.

Used boat pricing is dictated by the owner of the boat. You might find one that doesn’t want to pay winter storage fees anymore and just wants to unload their boat. But most of the biggest deals will be found in the new boat market.

Last Updated on July 12, 2021