The True Cost of Boat Ownership

If you have landed on this page it’s probably accurate to assume you love spending time on the water and are considering purchasing a boat. Given the investment you are contemplating, not to mention the time commitment you are making, it makes sense to ensure you fully understand not just the purchase costs but also all the additional costs of operating a boat.

At Pure Latitude, we’d also say you should explore the alternatives and compare all the options for getting out on the water to find what best suits your individual needs, before you take the plunge!


In this blog we’ll break down the costs such as maintenance, mooring, insurances and running costs, that are often overlooked.

You can assess the best option for you and gain a clearer idea of how you’re going to make the most of 2020 on the water.


To give some headline numbers, excluding the purchase of a boat, we calculate that the total annual running cost of a new typical Solent boat is as follows (based on costs of the boats in our fleet):


Annual costs at a glance

Mid size sailing boat (around 34ft) – £31,620,

Mid size motorboat (around 33ft) – £35,250


These include finance and depreciation costs, plus all operating costs.  Insurance, mooring and all the maintenance, both routine and unexpected mount up, and that’s before any little extras you inevitably decide you want to add to your boat.

Let’s break it down.



Just like buying a new car, you can expect your boat to depreciate every year. It can be tricky to pinpoint exactly how much because used market values are effected by economic conditions, exchange rates, inflation in new prices and boat type and brand, but a general rule of thumb is to expect at least 10% depreciation during the first year and then 7% for the following 4 years. After 5 years, values tend to level off and depreciation slows, although running costs increase as you find yourself upgrading sails, electronics, engines, etc.



Whether you borrow or use cash you have in the bank, the capital has a cost. We think 5% is a reasonable estimate.



The reality of owning a boat is that you are restricted to the one you have purchased, and at some point your circumstances will likely change. Be it an upgrade, a temporary break in boating where you keep paying for the upkeep or just selling your boat, costs are significant. It takes on average over 6 months to sell a boat and brokerage fees are between 5-10%.



These costs vary according to geographic location, the size of your boat, and the facilities you require. Do you want access to washrooms, restaurants and on-site boat care? Or do you want to keep it simple? You can find somewhere for as little as £1000 a year if you are happy with a swing mooring with no power that you row out to, but if you want to be in a premium Solent marina with 24hr security, reciprocal moorings, access to excellent facilities, you are looking at more like £8500 a year for a mid sized boat.



Generally speaking, the cost to insure a boat is roughly 0.6% of the boat’s value, per annum.  So a boat costing £150k will cost around £900 per annum to insure, with reasonable excesses.


Maintenance, equipment servicing and replacements

The true cost will vary according to the size and age of your boat, but generally the shopping list of work to be done will be similar. This includes everything from routine items like engine servicing, winter lift and anti-fouling, safety equipment servicing, sail and rig servicing to one off problems like electrical equipment failures, interior wood and upholstery repairs, hull damage and engine issues.

You may be a dab hand at carrying out some maintenance yourself (some people enjoy tinkering!), but there are almost always some jobs that you will require external help.

Also bear in mind that boat maintenance isn’t just a financial burden.  It can be a significant drain on your time too. Don’t overlook the management time in keeping lists, organising contractors, as well as administrative tasks like renewing your insurance and annual mooring.


What’s the total cost?

When you count everything, estimated costs are many and varied, not to mention alarming, so to make it simple we have categorised into the following, based on new and nearly new boats we run, moored in Port Hamble marina:


PURCHASE COSTS 34′ Sailboat 33′ Motorboat
Boats and equipment £150,000 £175,000
Cost of capital (5%) and depreciation (7%) £18,000 £21,000
Mooring, Insurance and Maintenance £13,620 £14,250


Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to talk through the detail of any of these costs with our expert maintenance team. It’s an eye-watering total to keep your boat on the water, especially considering most owners will use their boats for no more than 20 days each year.


Is there an alternative?

The primary alternatives are to charter or to join a boat club. The charter market is established and understood but the new “boat clubs” provide an ownership experience offering more freedom and less hassle, for a fraction of the cost. They are especially good as a try-before-you-buy option.

You can get a membership that provides the same level of usage (20-25 days) for less than the cost of an annual mooring, and all the maintenance and insurance is accounted for, so no hidden costs along the way. You also get access to new and nearly new boats with great availability (stay tuned for our new Hanse 348 arriving very soon!) – plus a host of training and support options.

How Pure Latitude Boat Club Works



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