For many people, buying and owning a boat is expensive and financially costly. But because they love being out on the water so much, they grit their teeth and keep paying the price. This doesn’t have to be you. It’s possible to own a boat and not feel like you’re throwing thousands of dollars per year into your wake.
5 Tips for Affordable Boating
Yachts cost millions of dollars to buy. Even luxury fishing boats can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then there’s the expense of fuel, maintenance, and all the gadgets and gizmos that come with using a boat. But pricey yachts and luxury fishing boats are only one part of the boating market. There are plenty of ways to enjoy boating without the outrageous expense. Here are some suggestions:
Set a Budget
Any major purchase decision should begin with a budget in mind. Whether it’s a car, house, boat, or piece of investment real estate, a budget keeps you grounded and ensures you approach the purchase with a degree of realism and objectivity.
There are two types of budgets you need to think about. First off, you need a budget for how much you can afford to spend on the boat itself. In other words, do you want to spend $5,000 or $50,000? There are options at both price points – you just have to figure out exactly what it is you’re looking for.
Secondly, you need to set a budget for ongoing expenses. Every boat requires its own level of ongoing care and maintenance. One boat might only cost a few hundred dollars per year, while another could cost thousands. If you aren’t careful, you could end up buying a boat that’s too expensive to use.
You don’t need a brand new boat. Much like cars, boats lose significant value the moment they’re purchased. You can save anywhere from 20-30 percent by simply waiting a year or two to purchase a lightly used boat.
When you buy pre-owned, you have much more leverage. You can shop the market and buy from sellers who are in a hurry to unload a boat in order to free up cash for other purchases. This gives you an instant advantage.
Buy Gear From the Right Stores
As mentioned, there are a number of ongoing costs of boat ownership. In addition to oil, fuel, and maintenance, there are certain gadgets and accessories you’ll need to protect your boat and maximize your enjoyment. The key is to purchase these items from the right companies and vendors.
If you’re looking for things like boat covers, propellers, fenders and buoys, boat seats, ladders, and bimini tops, try shopping an online store like SavvyBoater.com. Not only are their prices cheaper than most brick and mortar stores, but they typically ship items out within 24 hours.
Invest in Preventative Maintenance
In order to save money in the short-term, many boat owners ignore ongoing maintenance and simply wait until they have to fix a problem. And while this approach may save a few dollars up front, it ends up costing a whole lot more down the road.
If you want to protect your investment, you need to invest in preventative maintenance. In particular, prioritize the key systems of your boat – such as the engine, electrical systems, and plumbing/HVAC (in larger boats). Related issues can be extremely costly, but most can be prevented with the right ongoing care. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.
Use the Right Storage Method
The better you protect your boat, the less expensive it’ll be to manage over time. (You’ll also recoup more in resale value when you finally choose to sell.) Using the right storage method will help you in this regard.
There are a variety of storage methods – including outdoor storage, indoor storage, storage units, and dry-stack storage. Depending on how often you use your boat and the weather conditions of your area, one may prove to be more cost-effective and beneficial than the other. Feel free to do some location-specific research.
Boating for All
Boating is often viewed as an elitist hobby – something only the rich and wealthy have access to. But this is merely the perception – not reality. While not everyone can purchase a yacht, boating doesn’t have to be unaffordable. By utilizing some of the advice outlined in this article, you can enjoy boating without sinking your budget. Are you ready to give it a try?