A great experience on someone else’s boat can inspire new boat owners. However, being a passenger is not the same as boat ownership. You still get that freedom from being out on the open water, but you must deal with boat loans, maintenance costs, repairs, and high gas prices to get there.
There’s an old joke about the best days of boat ownership being the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it. If you believe that, don’t buy a boat. You’ll spend all your time waiting for something to go wrong and miss out on the joyful moments you can have with friends and family. Like anything else in life, there will be pros and cons. Here’s our take on that:
Pros of Boat Ownership
Before you submit those documents for loan approval, reflect on your first boating experience. Everything you love about it is available to you with a click of the send button. Do you want it? If the answer is yes, submit the loan application.
If you’re still uncertain, review the list of pros below to reinforce why you decided to do this in the first place.
- Fellowship: Owning a boat provides opportunities for fellowship with family and friends that are unmatched by any other recreational vehicle. Depending on what you buy, you can sail, waterski, fish, or cruise with the people you enjoy being with the most. Boats help you disconnect from the digital world and be present.
- Flexibility: Smaller boats can operate on ponds, lakes, rivers, and near the ocean shoreline. Larger boats can go great distances to places you’ve never seen, even other countries if your craft is seaworthy enough for ocean travel. This flexibility makes it very difficult to get bored when you’re a boat owner.
- Affordability: Boats aren’t as expensive as you might think. You can buy a small fishing boat for under $5,000. Used speedboats start around $10,000. New boats are pricier, but boat loans can be 10-20 years long with low monthly payments. Price is a selling point for buying a boat, not a deterrent. Shop around for the best deals.
Cons of Boat Ownership
Boats are a luxury item. They’re not like a car that you’re going to drive every day. You’ll use it infrequently unless you have a job working on the water, but you’ll still pay upkeep and maintenance costs year-round. Boat buyers who don’t understand that at the point of purchase will be miserable. These are the “cons” they’ll notice the most.
- Infrequent usage: A survey conducted by Bass Boats in 2013 reported that the average boat owner in the United States uses their boat just 10.2 days per year. That’s roughly 245 hours on the water. Keep that number in mind before you go boat shopping. It should help you decide how much to spend.
- Maintenance costs: The sticker price of the boat might be cheap, but maintenance costs include cleaning, repairs, storage in the offseason, and filling it up with gasoline every time you use it. Add in a hobby like waterskiing or fishing and those costs go up even further. Boat owners need a separate budget to cover all this.
The Bottom Line
Boat ownership is all about perspective. If you focus on the positive aspects of boat ownership, like fellowship, flexibility, and affordability, you’ll enjoy your time as captain of your craft. You’ll be unhappy if infrequent use and maintenance costs get under your skin. Perhaps a motorcycle or RV would be a better choice for you.