Boat ownership isn’t for everyone, but it sure is rewarding. The only downside is that it can be an expensive hobby. Between the upkeep, maintenance, and storage, you can easily spend thousands of dollars per year. But with the right approach, you can lower the cost and still enjoy the experience.
5 Ways to Lower the Cost of Boat Ownership
Buying a boat is just the first expense. After purchasing your boat, you have to invest in regular upkeep and maintenance to keep it up and running. Here are some suggestions to help you make wise decisions:
1. Invest in Preventative Maintenance
The best rule of thumb in boat ownership – or, for that matter, the ownership of any mechanical system – is to invest in preventative maintenance. While it’ll cost you money up front, it’ll significantly lower your long-term cost of ownership.
Preventative maintenance is especially important when it comes to the engine, but it also matters for things like electrical systems and even seat upholstery. By proactively addressing small issues now, you can prevent major problems in the future.
2. Do As Much of Your Own Maintenance as Possible
Speaking of maintenance, you can save a lot of money by doing as much of your own repairs as possible. Not only can you save by purchasing parts directly, but you’ll eliminate the biggest expense: labor. They key is to know what you can reasonably do.
“If my engine block cracks, I would need a boat mechanic,” boat owner Bobby Hoyt admits. However, I can still do my own oil changes for a fraction of what a dealership would charge (which is several hundred dollars), change out belts, work on the water pump, and even fix problems with the fuel cell and pump (which happened to be the last thing I fixed).”
If you have friends who are boat owners and happen to be handy, offer to help them out with their own repairs and maintenance work. You’ll learn a lot more by getting hands-on with a boat’s key systems than you will watching videos and reading articles.
3. Know Where to Shop
When it comes to lowering the cost of boat ownership, where you shop matters. If you’re simply buying everything from your local marina, you’re likely paying a major premium for products that could easily be purchased elsewhere.
For things like boat covers, propellers, fenders and buoys, boat shelters, boat seats, ladders, and bimini tops, try shopping at Savvy Boater. They’ve been in the business of supplying quality products at lower prices for more than a decade.
4. Downsize Your Boat
When you own a bigger house, you have to pay higher property taxes, your energy bills are more expensive, and more upkeep and maintenance are required to keep the house safe and protected. The same goes for owning a bigger and nicer boat. It costs more – both in terms of time and money – to keep it running smooth.
In regards to lowering the cost of ownership, one option is to downsize your boat. This will allow you to save money at purchase, as well as over the life of ownership. (You may also find that downsizing allows you to buy a nicer and newer boat, which requires less upkeep.)
5. Be Smart With Storage
Proper storage of your boat during the winter and offseason is important. Protecting your boat during inclement weather will reduce the risk of damage and lower the amount of cleaning and maintenance required before putting it back in the water.
Take the time to compare different storage options in your area. Are you able to purchase a cover and store it in your driveway? Or do you need to rent dry boat storage at a marina? It’s ultimately your decision. Don’t simply choose the cheapest one. Go with the option that provides the best protection over time.
Learn to Love Your Boat Again
If you’re like thousands of other boaters, you’ve reached a point where the cost of maintaining your boat is ruining the joy that you get from using your boat. By implementing some of the aforementioned tips and tricks, you can save money and learn to love your boat all over again.