How Much Does a Boat Cost? | How Much Does it Cost to Own a Boat?

Boat Ownership 101: How Much Does it Cost to Own a Boat?

Many people who live close to the water dream of someday purchasing a boat. But the big question is, how much does it cost to own a boat? Buying a boat is not like buying a car. There are many additional expenses you’ll be responsible (in addition to the down payment) that you may not initially be aware of. 

For example, you'll likely need some way to transport your vessel to the water, like a trailer. There are education and licensing fees, annual maintenance costs, storage, insurance, and other factors to consider. With all this in mind, it's essential to understand how much a boat costs altogether before making your initial purchase. Let's break it down.

Upfront Costs and Annual Maintenance

So, how much does a fishing boat cost? You might get lucky and find a used boat you can pay for in cash, but in most cases, you may need to take out a loan. Here are the purchase prices of various types of boats. The lower number is the average used price, and the higher is the average new purchase price.

  • Jon Boats: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Midsize Bowriders: $15,000 to $50,000
  • Small-to-Midsize Pontoon Boats: $19,000 to $90,000
  • Speedboats: $30,000 to $75,000
  • Midsize Fishing Boats: $50,000 to $100,000
  • Small-to-Midsize Sailboats: $12,000 to $500,000

As of September 2023, boat interest rates on loans are in the 7.9% to 8.1% range, depending on your credit score. This means that a $100,000 fishing boat on a 20-year mortgage term would have a monthly payment of about $843, and the boat's final cost would end up being $202,540 once the mortgage is paid off.

You'll also have annual maintenance costs associated with owning a boat. When you buy a new boat, you should expect to pay about 10% of the purchase price per year on maintenance (a $25,000 vessel would cost $2,500 per year extra for maintenance). You'll also pay for specialized cleaners to protect the boat's exterior, antifouling paints, sealers to protect wood or metal components, etc.


Whether you keep your boat in your driveway, backyard, or storage facility, you'll need a way to transport it from there to the water. A trailer is an added expense that you’ll have to consider when purchasing a boat. New trailers can run over $2,000, although you may be able to find a used one for a few hundred. Most states also require you to register the trailer annually if you're taking it on the road, so that's another cost to consider.

Another option is to rent a trailer anytime you want to take your boat out. This can range from $150 to $350 for eight hours from most rental facilities.

Slips and Storage

You may live in a state where you can't take your boat out on the water during the winter months. That means you may have to rent a boat slip or pay for a boat storage facility for the season. Storing your boat at your home is the cheapest option, but it requires owning a trailer. Your homeowner's association might also have rules prohibiting you from keeping a boat in your driveway. If you opt for at-home storage, you must winterize your boat yearly to protect it from the elements.

The other options are dry stack storage, a self-storage facility, or renting a marina slip. These options all charge a fixed rate per foot and per month. These are the rough averages for storage costs in the US currently:

  • Dry Stack Storage: $10-$30 per foot per month
  • Marina Slip: $5-$30+ per foot per month
  • Self-Storage Facility: $10-$40 per foot per month

For example, a 25-foot boat stored in the most expensive self-storage facility ($40 per foot) would cost $1,000 monthly.

How Much Does a Boat Cost With Insurance?

Your boat insurance is likely to cost much less than your car insurance. Insurance costs can vary depending on the size and worth of the boat and which state you live in. If you live in a northern state where your boat will likely be in storage for the winter months, your annual insurance will be cheaper than in a place like Florida, where your boat is probably seeing year-round use.

A good rule of thumb when calculating boat insurance is that it costs 1% to 5% of its insured value. When assessing an insurance rate for you, the underwriting company will look at the type of boat, its condition, its age, the intended purpose of the boat, and other factors. If you tow your boat, the insurance company will check your driving record and factor that in.

The same insurance company might charge different rates in different states. For example, Progressive charges about $250 a year to insure a boat that would cost $750 annually in Florida. One last thing to consider: Some states charge an annual boat tax, so you may have to factor that into how much it costs to own a boat.

Education and Licenses

The National Association of Boating Law Administrators website has information on education, testing, and licensing requirements for all 50 states. The good news on this item is that it's relatively cheap to take a course, pass the test, and receive your boating license – and it is usually good for a lifetime. Don't forget that some states charge an annual registration fee for owning a boat, just like owning a car.

Invest in the Best to Reduce Costs Down the Line

One way to reduce your annual maintenance costs on gear is by purchasing your boating and fishing gear from a reliable provider like Gemlux. Our stainless steel boating fixtures and carbon fiber fishing gear are made with the highest quality manufacturing and materials, minimizing your maintenance and replacement costs. When you deck out your vessel with Gemlux, you’re making a long-term, cost-saving investment.