Family fun on the water doesn’t have to cost the earth. Luxury yachts might only be accessible to the super-rich, but those of us with more modest disposable incomes can also join the world of boat ownership and enjoy fantastic trips and holidays with a small motor yacht, RIB, sail boat or barge.
Owning a boat as a hobby can be affordable, if you put in some thought and planning, so here is a guide to boating on a budget:
Do your homework:
Be sure of what you want, and what you can afford. Do your financial homework and budgeting long before you actually buy a boat. Remember to allow for general maintenance costs, mooring, storage, insurance and other important add-on products you may require such as extended warranties, safety equipment, electronics and clothing.
Consider buying a second hand boat:
Pre-owned boats cost less than new, and it follows that if you have a boat loan, the monthly payments will be less for second hand. The cost of insurance is also likely to be less, and it’s worth remembering that the depreciation curve has flattened out when you buy a pre-owned boat – so the value won’t drop off so quickly in the years to come.
That said, it’s recommended to also look at new boats even if you are on a tight budget. If you visit boat dealers, and take the trouble to talk to boat manufacturers at Boat Shows, you will learn a lot about what’s on the market, the latest designs and technology, how electronics work and what’s on offer in terms of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems (MEP).
All this knowledge comes free – and will the experts’ help you as you progress your hobby.
Search for a great price:
Online boat marketplaces such as www.boatshop24.com and www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk provide the ideal place to search for a boat to exactly suit your needs and your budget. Searching within your price range and by boat type is easy and you can do a lot of research about what you get for your money before contacting with the seller. You can also use the onsite insurance calculator to work out what you should expect to pay to insure your boat.
Find a great deal on marine finance:
You can finance a boat, just like a car, and there are many great finance provider specialising in boats. Marine finance is available from high street banks, specialist lenders and via brokers. The British Marine Federation provides a useful list of the companies that can help you to finance a boat: Click here for list of Boat Financiers in the UK.
Keep boat insurance costs down:
Boat insurance costs vary by boat length and type, value of the boat and level of coverage required. It’s best to ask your insurance agent for quotes or compare rates online. Remember that some smaller boats can be insured for a nominal sum as an add-on to a homeowner’s policy. In some cases you can reduce the cost of marine insurance premiums by taking boat owners education courses.
Boat membership and boat share schemes offer an alternative to boat ownership. You can also charter a yacht – something that may suit those people who want a degree of flexibility and aren’t able to commit to full boat ownership, mooring costs and maintenance issues. Members who join up to schemes can have flexible access to one or more boats that they enjoy over a 12 month contract.
Cheaper storage options:
Storage options will vary depending on the size of your boat. Of course it’s inexpensive to store a boat on a trailer in your driveway or garden, and it can be cheaper to store your boat on land than to dock it in water. So explore your options locally. Dry-stack systems – where boats are stored on giant racks – can make boat ownership more affordable too.
Controlling maintenance costs:
Boat, trailer, and motor maintenance needn’t be complicated or costly. With a small, trailerable boat, keeping everything covered between adventures will also help keep maintenance costs at bay. Hosing down small boats after use and before storage can be quick and help with long-term maintenance. Antifouling products are worth investing in to keep your boat in great condition, and fuel efficient in the water. Costs for more involved maintenance services, such as oil changes and winterizing, expect to pay what you would for your car on an hourly basis.
Search for great value boats today: