Boating IS Affordable
February 8, 2012 3:15 PM | Tagged as Affordable Boating, Fuel, Maintenance, Storage

Boating IS affordable and there’s a boat out there for every age, lifestyle and budget. Most people don’t realize how affordable boating actually is: in some instances, you can buy a brand new boat financed for around $250.00 a month, like a car. Let’s talk about fuel costs first. The average boater only operates his or her vessel about 75 hours a season. And the NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) estimates people use their boats about 15 times per year on average. So that makes the average time spent per trip roughly 5 hours. Nearly 95 percent of boats on the water today are less than 26’ in length. These crafts do not require large amounts of gas, so any impact would be negligible. In fact, 64 percent of boaters say they purchase less than fifty gallons of gas per season—roughly two trips to the gas station to fill up your SUV or Minivan. (NMMA/RMRC, July 2005) Boating is an activity that unlike driving you don’t always have your motor running the entire time you’re on your boat. In fact, when a person is boating, they may be fishing or swimming and not using the motor at all or at least a minimal amount of time. Higher fuel prices present a marginal increase in the operating cost of your boat. For owners of $500,000 boats that use 100 gallons in a weekend, a 50 cent increase in gasoline means that a weekend of fun on the water will cost $50 more, while owners of smaller boats that use 20 gallons of gas will end up spending $10 more on gas. The small increase in operating cost isn’t expected to limit boaters’ time on the water. Next let’s take a look at insurance costs associated with owning a boat. Boat insurance costs vary by boat length and type, cost of the boat and level of coverage. Consult your insurance agent for quotes or compare rates online. Some smaller boats can be insured for a nominal sum as a rider on a homeowner’s policy. One way to try and cut your insurance costs is to take a boaters education course. Not only will this help you become more confident with your vessel but it will in some cases also lower your insurance premium. Maintenance is also a major factor in the affordability of boat ownership. Boat, trailer, and motor maintenance can be as simple as a freshwater wash down after each use and keeping them covered between adventures, helping to keep maintenance costs at bay. Costs for routine maintenance vary by region, but for more involved services, such as oil changes and winterizing, expect to pay what you would for your car on an hourly basis. And don’t forget to do your research when choosing your service provider. Make sure that where you take it is certified to work on your boat. Also check reviews of how their service has been in the past which will in turn help save you time and money if your boat breaks down mid-season. Pre-owned boats can require significantly more maintenance. One good way of choosing a pre-owned boat is try to find out as much about the boat history as you can before signing on the dotted line. Another key issue in regards to the affordability of boating is your storage costs. You have several options depending on the size of your boat. You won’t find a less-expensive way to keep a boat than storing it on a trailer in your driveway or backyard. Another alternative for smaller boats is rack storage. A typical rack storage facility keeps your boat in a covered shed with trailer-like cradles. For owners of larger boats, and owners of small boats who crave convenience, a marina slip is the best way to go. Costs vary by state/region as well as by the size of your boat. Also some marinas offer dry land storage which is an alternative to both slip rental and storing it at your house. Your boat is already on the marina property you just hook up and drop in the water. While this is still more expensive than just keeping it at home it does make it much more convenient.

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