Are boats a good investment?

21st January 2022 Elena Manighetti

Are boats a good investment?

“Boats are money pits.” Boat owners who fell out of love with their vessel often tell a newbie this negative old adage. Yet, it’s not necessarily true. The key to making sure that a vessel is a good investment for you is to fully understand what boat ownership entails and to choose your boat well.

First, we’ll take an objective look at the advantages and disadvantages of owning a boat.

Pros of buying a boat

  • You will be able to use it anytime, even if you decide to go out at the very last minute

  • It will allow you to have a great time on the water and bond with loved ones

  • You can make modifications on board to suit your needs

  • You know the boat and the standard of its maintenance, so you can trust it.

catamaran

Cons of owning a boat

  • You will need to invest time and money into regular maintenance

  • Insurance is getting more and more expensive and difficult to obtain in some areas

  • If you choose the wrong boat for your needs, you’ll need to sell and start over again

  • You will be limited to your local area when boating

  • Every time there’s a storm in the forecast, you’ll be worried (if you store it in a marina).

So there can be quite a few disadvantages to owning a boat, but if you buy a small boat that you can purchase in cash and maintain properly, boat ownership isn’t quite as overwhelming. 

The enjoyment you’ll get from the time you spend out on the water will make up for the money and time you spend looking after it. So make sure you love boating in the first place. Go out on a cruise, charter a boat, go fishing with a friend, or crew for someone.

It’s very important not to overshoot your budget. Take time to calculate how much it will cost you to run and maintain the boat after you’ve paid for it and refitted it. If the costs worry you, consider buying a smaller boat.

The resentment in the voice of those disillusioned boat owners who call them “money pits” comes from the fact that they spent more money than they wished on the boat over many years. 

If you’re undecided, look into co-ownership. This is where you buy a boat with a friend or acquaintance, so you can split the costs. 

motoryacht

Do boats retain their value?

The short answer is no. Boats go down in value as they age and the gear on board becomes old. 

As time goes by, you’ll need to replace some of the equipment and you won’t be able to recoup the money you spend on it. Plus, you can’t recuperate any of the ownership costs (registration, insurance, mooring fees, and more).

However, if you look after it well, it will retain the value it has to you - be it being a great weekend hobby, a stress-reliever, or a vehicle to get you to stunning places.  

Can you resell a boat for more than you paid for it?

Yes, if you buy an old boat for little money and you can refit it for cheap. A few people do this because they love to work on boats. However, you need to make sure you’re striking an excellent bargain and you don’t overspend on the refit. 

If there was a time to do this, it’s now. The boat market has improved drastically since the pandemic hit in 2020. Before then, it was a buyer’s market and selling a boat could take years.

Bear in mind that if you buy a new or recent boat, you won’t likely be able to sell it for more than you paid for it.

sailboat

So, does it make sense to buy a boat?

Yes, if you understand the costs related to the ownership of a vessel and that you won’t be able to recoup much of what you spend on it long-term.

No, if you expect it to retain its value or to sell it for more than you invested into it.

Think of a boat like you would of a car. You don’t buy a car assuming it will run smoothly for many years without maintenance and that you'll sell it on for more than you spent on it. Before purchasing one, you look into insurance and road tax costs to make sure you can afford them. The same goes for boats.

If you own a boat and maintain it well, however, you will be able to keep it for a lifetime. The hull of a vessel is extremely solid and can be repaired. Plus, every piece of equipment on a boat can be replaced. So if you’re able to afford it, you can keep your boat in tip top condition for as long as you like.

If you’re ready to buy a boat, check out this article to find out what to consider before going boat shopping. If you have budget restrictions and want to go boating on a budget, this blog post is for you.


Do you boat every once in a while? Download the Deckee app from the App Store or Google Play for free. On the app, you can look up points of interest, check the marine weather forecast, investigate Aids To Navigation on the map, and track your route. 

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