Yachting Monthly

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The true cost of cruising… and how to afford it

  • Katy Stickland
  • June 29, 2020

What’s the real price of long-term cruising? Accountants Christine Muir and Keith Hunt reveal their meticulously 
kept 12-year balance sheet, and how to afford the lifestyle

A cruising yacht anchored

There are many ways to save money while cruising, like spending more time at anchor. Credit: Tor Johnson Credit: Tor Johnson

We, Keith and Christine,
 have just finished our 12-year voyage on 
a 45ft sailing boat, Poco Andante , visiting
 47 countries and covering some 30,000 miles.

During this epic journey, we have
 kept detailed records of all expenditure,
 from purchasing the vessel and getting her ready for crossing oceans, to maintaining
 her and finally, selling her.

We’ve often been quizzed by prospective cruisers about the costs of such a venture.

We have honestly examined the financial aspects of embarking on a real-life adventure – using real data.

A couple sailing together

Keith and Christine in colder climes at the start of their trip

We have cruised with,
 and met, hundreds of fellow cruisers on
 our voyage and feel that we are Mr and Mrs Average Cruiser, although some spend far more than us, and some far less.

Hopefully we have given a true and fair picture of the average costs involved.

In order to understand these figures, we must firstly explain the type of cruising we did, the vessel we chose, where we 
went and our philosophy towards
 boat maintenance and improvement.

When we were searching for our boat, 
we decided that a heavy-displacement centre-cockpit cutter-rigged sloop around 45ft in length would suit our needs, and our planned departure was for late summer 2003.

We viewed many vessels and 
were often advised that steel was the 
way to go, but were pleased in our final choice of GRP fibreglass.

A skipper on deck while passing New York's Statue of Liberty

Passing the Statue of Liberty was a huge highlight

Our budget for the boat was modest (about the cost of a second ‘holiday’ home), so we limited our choice to older designs.

Our final choice was a well-maintained Bruce Roberts-designed GRP Mauritius 45 built in South Africa in 1981.

A couple in the sea

Aussie Christine Muir and Wales native Keith Hunt made the decision to buy a bluewater cruiser in July 2002 and set sail

Not a spring chicken, but with two Atlantic crossings under her belt and fitted out for bluewater cruising, she suited our needs comfortably.

An added bonus was that, although based in the Mediterranean, she was arriving in Southampton, UK, our home port in May 2002.

We sailed her for one season and 
then hauled out for a mini refit before 
we left the UK the following year.

This refit 
included a new engine – we replaced the 
old 56hp Ford Transit engine with a new 75hp FSD425 unit from Lancing Marine, and they have also provided excellent after-sales service over the last 13 years – an excellent investment.

We also replaced the rigging, sailing instruments, laundered the sails and had a storm trysail made, plus a myriad of other jobs.

All in all, we were pleased with our choice.

Poco Andante was sea-kindly, comfortable and handled excellently in all conditions.

With that, we were ready for our big adventure.

The liveaboard lifestyle

When we left to go cruising, we weren’t 
sure what type of lifestyle we were in for.

We hadn’t even decided where we were going; the initial plan was a period in the Mediterranean, then we would reassess.

Boston waterfront

Poco Andante moored off Boston on the US leg of the voyage

We weren’t sure if we were going to be away for three months or three years
 – 12 years was outside our thinking!

Most of our plans were for a short period;
 we rented out our house and put all
 our furniture in storage, expecting 
to return in the not-too-distant future.

Within four months of leaving, we
 were enjoying ourselves and the cruising community so much that we decided
 to turn right at Gibraltar instead of left.

As in all walks of life, people live on very different budgets.

Our budget included
 the occasional marina stay when there was not a suitable anchorage (our preference); regular entertaining of fellow cruisers; occasionally eating in restaurants (approximately once or twice a week); side trips; hire cars.

A yacht with a white sail

Major failures had to be dealt with while crossing the Pacific

We slept on board for most of our 12 years cruising and only flew back to the UK twice.

Our 12-year, 30,000-mile voyage took us from the UK to Gibraltar, across the Atlantic, north to Maine, USA, south to Florida 
then across to Cuba and back along the Caribbean chain to Trinidad, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, across the Pacific
 to Fiji, down to New Zealand, back to
T onga, then to Australia, north along the Queensland coast to Darwin, Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, where we sold 
 Poco Andante .

The Middle East became 
a no-go zone and still was in 2015, and 
the prospect of another three ocean crossings (Indian and the long passage across the South and North Atlantic) did 
not appeal.

Boat maintenance

The adage that cruising is ‘boat maintenance in exotic locations’ is exactly right.

Our philosophy was to try to keep the boat ‘up together’ rather than replacing.

A boat being hauled out

The boat was only hauled out five times in 12 years

When not on passage, we had a general routine of boat jobs in the morning, and the afternoon for leisure, visiting, swimming, diving, snorkelling and socialising.

We did most of our own maintenance and only used outside labour a few times, where specialist equipment was needed such as refrigeration and sailing making.

Fellow cruisers were always on hand to offer advice and if necessary, assistance.

The camaraderie and willingness to help is a cruising mainstay – and work hard/play hard is a fair description.

A man maintaining his yacht

Boat maintenance was often done in the mornings

Lift-outs are major projects that need to be planned meticulously – and usually involve large outflows of cash.

We hauled out only five times in 12 years.

Between those times, we would scrub the bottom and clean the props about every six months.

At each haul-out, we used three coats of hard antifouling at the highest copper content we could get locally.

Major failure or breakdowns are a fact of life and we were lucky that we only suffered four major incidents that needed substantial repair.

A fouled prop sheared our drive plate; we blew out both out main and genoa during our Pacific crossing; the exhaust manifold blew; and a failed engine mount resulted in a catastrophic loss of oil that caused our engine to seize.

A blown out main sail

Some repairs were more unexpected

Our other philosophy was to have a backup for every system on board.

Over time, we also fitted items that made our life easier like an electric winch in the cockpit, improving the entertainment system, installing a washing machine, and so forth.

On a yacht, there are always upgrades available – after all, there is a multi-bullion-dollar industry that benefits from all these new gizmos.

The magic comes in deciding which ones you really need – and which ones work.

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Analysis of expenditure

How Much Do Sailboats Cost? A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to the world of sailing, one of the first questions that often comes to mind is the cost associated with owning a sailboat. The price can vary significantly depending on factors such as the size and age of the boat, its make and model, and whether it is new or used. In this article, we will explore the average costs involved in buying and owning a sailboat, giving you a better understanding of what to expect when considering this exciting investment.

cruising sailboat cost

The average price of new sailboats is $250,000, with a range from $96,000 to $654,000, while the average price of used sailboats is $111,000, ranging from $19,000 to $518,000  (Improve Sailing) . It is important to note that these figures can fluctuate depending on the specific model, brand, and features that come with the boat. For instance, a 20 to 30-year-old cruising sailboat in excellent condition can cost between $30,000 and $150,000, with some luxury models exceeding $200,000  (Life of Sailing) .

cruising sailboat cost

Aside from the initial purchase price, potential sailboat owners must also consider the ongoing expenses associated with maintenance, dockage, insurance, and other costs. Annual maintenance can range from $2,000 to $3,000 for most boats, with the total annual cost of ownership falling between $3,000 and $7,000  (Improve Sailing) . By understanding these expenses and being prepared for them, you can make a more informed decision when purchasing a sailboat and enjoy the many benefits of this exciting and rewarding hobby.

cruising sailboat cost

New vs Used Sailboats

When it comes to purchasing a sailboat, one of the first decisions a buyer has to make is whether to opt for a new boat or a pre-owned one. Both options have their own advantages and potential shortcomings, depending on the buyer's budget, preferences, and sailing goals.

New sailboats provide the advantage of being in pristine condition, with no wear and tear, and come with a manufacturer's warranty. Buyers can often customize them according to their specific needs and preferences. However, buying a new boat usually comes at a higher price, and depreciation can be a significant factor in the first few years of ownership. In contrast, used sailboats can cost considerably less, as they already have some usage and age Two Get Lost .

Pre-owned boats may include additional features and equipment that were added by previous owners. These can contribute to the value of the vessel and help the new owner save on additional costs. However, used sailboats may require more maintenance and repairs than their new counterparts, which could affect the overall cost of ownership. An essential part of purchasing a pre-owned sailboat is obtaining a professional survey to assess the boat's condition and identify any potential issues. This typically costs around $500 for a 40-foot or smaller yacht Discover Boating .

Finding the right sailboat ultimately depends on a balance between one's budget, specific requirements, and realistic expectations. By carefully assessing the pros and cons of both new and used sailboats, buyers can make an informed decision in line with their personal preferences, budget constraints, and long-term sailing objectives.

cruising sailboat cost

Size and Type of Sailboats

When considering the cost of a sailboat, it's important to take into account both the size and the type of the sailboat. Smaller boats tend to be more affordable, while larger boats tend to carry a higher price tag. However, prices can also significantly vary within a specific type or brand of sailboat, so one should consider all factors before making a purchase decision.

For example, a 22-foot sailboat may be close to $30,000 brand new, yet an older model of the same boat built in the late 1970s might be purchased for $5,500  source . Similarly, a new Islander 36' can cost nearly $150,000, while a used one can cost you around $40,000  source .

Different types of sailboats may have varying costs as well. Some popular types of sailboats include:

  • Day Sailers: These smaller vessels are designed for short trips and are a popular choice for beginners. They have limited amenities and are typically less expensive.
  • Cruisers: These mid-sized boats are equipped for extended trips and can accommodate multiple passengers in comfortable living quarters. They are more expensive than day sailers, but usually more affordable than racers or luxury sailing yachts .
  • Racers: These high-performance boats are designed for speed and competition. They tend to have fewer amenities than cruisers but may be more expensive due to their specialized features and lightweight materials.
  • Luxury Sailing Yachts: These high-end vessels are designed for comfort and extravagance, featuring state-of-the-art amenities and ample space for passengers. They come with hefty price tags, often costing millions of dollars.

As previously mentioned, used sailboat prices vary greatly, but on average, they tend to be around $21,000. New boats, on the other hand, can cost $60,000 and upwards  source .

cruising sailboat cost

Additional Expenses

When considering the cost of sailboats, it's important to factor in additional expenses beyond the initial price of the boat. These costs can significantly impact the overall cost of boat ownership.

One such expense is  insurance . For new cruisers, insurance can be a considerable expense, with rates dropping the longer you own your boat. For instance, insurance can start at around 2.8% of the boat's value and later drop to 1.3% after a year of ownership  (The Home That Roams) .

Annual maintenance costs  are another expense to consider. On average, maintenance costs for sailboats range from $2,000 to $3,000 per year, but they can be even higher for larger boats  (Improve Sailing) . This includes costs for servicing, repairing, and upgrading various components of the sailboat.

Other recurring expenses include:

  • Docking fees  - Depending on the marina and location, docking fees can vary greatly.
  • Equipment upgrades  - From time to time, you may need to upgrade your boat's equipment for safety and comfort.
  • Fuel  - Although sailboats primarily rely on wind power, they still require fuel for auxiliary engines and generators.

Considering all these additional expenses, the true annual cost of owning a sailboat can range from $3,000 to $7,000  (Improve Sailing) . Keep these figures in mind when budgeting for sailboat ownership, as they can significantly affect the long-term costs involved.

cruising sailboat cost

Maintenance Costs

The cost of maintaining a sailboat can vary greatly depending on factors such as the size, age, and build quality of the boat. Typically, the annual maintenance cost for sailboats falls between $2,000 and $3,000, but can range from as low as $1,000 to as high as $5,000 depending on the specific needs of your vessel  (Improve Sailing) . For larger boats of 30 feet and up, these costs can increase significantly, potentially reaching $7,000 or more when considering additional expenses like docking and insurance fees.

It's important to keep up with regular maintenance to prevent future expenses from rising. Such maintenance tasks may include engine servicing, hull upkeep, rigging inspections, and sail assessments  (Better Sailing) . In some cases, annual maintenance costs can be estimated at around 10% of the boat's value, meaning a $30,000 sailboat may cost approximately $3,000 per year to maintain  (Life of Sailing) .

Some common sailboat maintenance expenses include:

  • Haul-out and bottom painting
  • Engine service and repairs
  • Rigging inspection and replacement
  • Sail cleaning and repair
  • Electronics maintenance
  • Hull cleaning and waxing

Keep in mind that the costs provided are averages, and individual sailboat maintenance expenses can vary based on factors such as usage, location, and owner preference. Prioritizing regular maintenance can help you save money in the long run by addressing potential issues before they become major problems.

SeaMag's Take

The cost of sailboats varies greatly depending on factors such as size, age, and model. New sailboats have an average price of $250,000, while used ones average at $111,000  [source] . However, older cruising sailboats in voyage-ready condition can be found for around $30,000  [source] .

An example of sailboat pricing includes a new Islander 36' costing nearly $150,000, while a used one can be around $40,000. A new 26' Catalina sailboat typically costs around $80,000  [source] . While prices can range from $1,000 for a small dinghy to over $1M for a new 50ft catamaran, it's possible to find a suitable sailboat within a reasonable budget  [source] .

Maintenance costs play a significant role in sailboat ownership. Annual maintenance costs usually range from $2,000 to $3,000 for most boats, while the total annual cost, including other expenses, could range from $3,000 to $7,000  [source] .

cruising sailboat cost

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Sailboat Cost Calculator

With this calculator, you can quickly calculate your ownership cost based on up-to-date sailboat price data from our yearly research.

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This calculator will help you get underway by making your sailing dream actionable. It's a lightweight version of our full calculator that is part of our paid Sailing Dream Calculator Suite, which you can get here .

Detailed ownership costs

Each year, we compare thousands of sailboat listing prices to come up with reliable average prices of sailboats. This calculator uses the most up-to-date data. If you want to read a more in-depth exploration of sailboat ownership costs, I recommend you read our guide.

cruising sailboat cost

How Much Sailboats Cost On Average (380+ Prices Compared)

Wave Watermark




















How Much Does An Average Sailboat Cost?

cost of a sailboat

If you have ever spent a glorious afternoon on the water on a sailboat, you know what a thrill it is. Sailing represents freedom, harnessing the wind to drive you forward. It is a quiet time on the water and developing the skills to sail well can be addicting. It doesn’t matter if you want to simply go out for a few hours, enjoy an occasional overnight or weekend cruise, join the racing crowd and be in the frenetic chaos at the starting line, or dream of tropical sunsets in paradise far over the horizon. Sailing has great appeal to those romantic souls who discover its pleasures. And sailing can be a lifelong passion.

The average cost of a sailboat for sale will vary all over the board, given the many sizes, complexities, and types of sailboats out there. New or used, they can range from small, open daysailers to large catamarans that have multiple staterooms and accommodations for the entire family. Modern speedy monohulls will provide the adrenaline rush for those athletic enough to push them to their limits, while heavier, slower sailboats provide a comfortable platform to sail safely around the world, or wherever your dreams take you.

A 22-foot sailboat may be close to $30,000 brand new, yet an older model of the same boat built in the late 1970s might be purchased for $5,500 or less. A shiny new 48-foot catamaran will cost you well over $1,000,000, while a similar boat built in 2008 may be purchased for $425,000, and be better equipped. This new-versus-used situation is going to be true for all sailboats, no matter if they are monohull, catamaran, motorsailer, daysailer, or racing machine. Is it best to always buy a brand-new boat? That depends. The key is to understand that there will be additional costs that may not be obvious.

(Seen below: The Hanse 315 is an approximately 30-foot sailboat that costs between $100,000 and $150,000 when purchased new.)

hanse 30-foot sailboat

The docks at all major boat shows showcase the diverse range of sailboats to satisfy everyone’s ideas, and it is easy to fall in love with one boat after another. Sailboats are funny like that, so similar, yet so different. How to choose the right one often comes down to what one can afford. That sail away special during the show may be enough to pull out your checkbook, but there is more to it than just the sale price. There is the obvious need to keep it somewhere, insure it, and maintain it.

Relevant: Frequently Asked Questions About Owning A Sailboat

One must have realistic ideas of what they are looking for, and an experienced yacht broker will be of great value to help determine that. A broker is key to weave the person’s sailing experience with the kind of sailing they hope to do, while working within their budget. But once the basic plan is in place, it becomes a fun adventure to look and learn from as many boats as possible. Some will appeal straightaway, for any number of reasons, while others may be intimidating in terms of size, complexity, and finishes that demand expensive maintenance. Boats with highly varnished brightwork will be much more labor intensive than white fiberglass, minimal interior appointments, and just basic systems. Low maintenance boats are literally a wash and wear proposition that live just fine during the season on a mooring.

For instance, most new production boats are built to the level of completeness necessary to satisfy most buyers. It is sufficient for how most people will use it. That is smart and intentional. It makes no sense to fully outfit a sailboat to the level where it can safely cross oceans, because the builders already know few owners have that desire and doing so drives up the costs significantly. So, the manufacturers complete the boats to around 80 percent of what would be necessary for a passagemaker ready to conquer the world.

If you have long-distance cruising plans, keep that in mind.

(Seen below: This is a very interesting video from a couple that lives on their sailboat. It gives you an idea of what you 'could' equipped with.)

What new boat buyers soon learn is the extent of associated costs that necessarily increase as the boats get bigger, more complex, with more systems for comfort and ease of sail handling…all intended to provide a higher quality living aboard experience.

A partial list of such items may include :

• Diesel engine propulsion system, including transmission, shaft and seal, and propeller • Additional standing and running rigging, such as whisker pole and inner forestay • A sail inventory beyond regular sails, such as spinnakers, Code Zero, and special purpose sails • Some form of renewable anti-fouling protection for hull and propeller • Batteries, which often must be replaced every six years or so • Ground tackle, which may include electric windlass, chain/rope rode and heavier anchor(s) • Navigation electronics and autopilot • Safety gear, such as PFDs, life raft, EPIRB, flares, harnesses • Dinghy and perhaps a gas or electric outboard • Comfort appliances, such as refrigeration/freezer, air conditioning • Generator • Bow thruster • Exterior canvas for bimini and covers for sun and weather protection • Additional fenders, dock lines, shorepower cords

One will also have to put together tool bags to maintain all the above, and there needs to be storage for these and other special tools that find their way aboard. In a harsh saltwater environment, tools typically must be replaced every so many years. (Read Our 4-Part Series On Boat Tools )

On a new or almost new boat, it is generally agreed that 10 percent of the value of the boat will be needed for recurring annual maintenance costs, for things like varnish, bottom paint, zincs, cleaning supplies, fuel filters, oil, grease, and other consumables. If one can do the work themselves, it will be much cheaper than paying the going yard rates.

On an older boat, the budget for keeping things working will generally be higher, unless the boat is simple and does not have lots of winches, systems, or complexity. The gaff-rigged Tahiti ketch comes to mind, as does the Westsail 32. Once a boat reaches 10+ years, things just start to wear out, hoses get brittle, plumbing cracks, wires corrode, pumps fail, and seacocks deteriorate. While older sailboats have the obvious appeal of a low initial price, a false sense of value can be shattered when it is determined that the engine must be replaced, all the leaking ports need major work, or it’s time for a new mast and rigging. Old roller furling gear goes into the dumpster.

That romantic cutter, all covered in teak decks and gleaming brightwork will cost you thousands of dollars to maintain the varnish. Unless you want to do it yourself, of course, but most find it tedious and time consuming.

Many younger people go the old, fixer-upper route, and they figure they can make it work while learning new skills. But they are still in their prime, don’t mind a little discomfort by roughing it, and their dreams and vision cuts through the cloud of difficulties to get the boat that much closer to begin living the dream. There are scores of YouTube channels that celebrate this lifestyle theme of living the experience.

While there are compelling reasons to buy a new boat, the sweet spot for managing the cost of buying a sailboat, I believe, is to find one that is neither brand new nor very old. Searching for a boat that fits one’s needs and is under 10 years old can result in a purchase that has the best all-around value. The boat’s propulsion, plumbing, steering, and electrical components are still working, the equipment still current and good for the foreseeable future. One does not expect the same service from an autopilot that is 30 years old, assuming it even works.

Look at the popular Beneteau Oceanis series sailboats, for example. Keeping it under 10 years old, one finds a 2015 Oceanis 41 around $178,000, and a 2018 Oceanis 41.1 at $198,000. These are not bad prices for newer boats that are also well equipped. The same holds true for other main brand manufacturers, such as Jeanneau and Hanse .

Many of the classic, proven sailboats are still out there, though, and worth a look if you can find one. While the design is now 50 years old, the Valiant 40/42 remains a popular choice for cruisers. The older, original Valiant 40s come on the market for around $75,000, while the newer V42s built in Texas still hold their value about $225,000. The same is true with established designs from other top yards, such as the Swedish and English builders of Hallberg-Rassy, Malo, Rustler, and Oyster.

(Seen below: This 2000 Jeanneau 45 Sun Odyssey is a good example of a used sailboat on the brokerage market. It is listed for under $200,000.)

Jeanneau sailboat

For performance and fun, a five-year-old J/22 can be bought for $9000 and offers a lot of sailing pleasure in a small package. A 10-year-old J/105, a more capable sailboat, is right around $70,000.

Not surprising, the age of the boat has as much to do with the asking price as its condition and how well it is equipped. A 1977 Catalina 30 can be purchased for $15,000, while a five-year-newer boat is listed for $25,000. A Catalina 30 built in 1993 is asking $29,000.

Ultimately, the cost of buying a sailboat must be balanced with the value it brings. Newer boats aren’t just fresher and cleaner, they are arguably better boats, as the technology of boat building has made great strides in improving the product. Vacuum infusion is now commonplace and is far better for building a strong hull that is lighter than traditionally hand laid fiberglass, where it was difficult to control the resin to glass ratio.

Diesel engines are now much cleaner, lighter per horsepower, have better fuel economy, and overall, propulsion systems have greatly improved with electronic controls. The same is true for most other components, from appliances to steering systems. And today’s electrical systems are lightyears better than what is found in older boats. LED fixtures, lithium-ion batteries, regeneration gear, and much improved wiring practices add to the marvelous systems of today.

Across the board, hull shapes have changed, and they are more powerful, more easily driven, and the sailing systems that power them are also much improved, while being safer and easier to use. Some builders, such as Tartan Yachts, even promote that they have put the fun factor back into sailing, as their sail handling systems are a joy to use.

If you are ready to join the sailing world, find yourself an experienced broker to share your ideas and plans, and get real. Dreaming is fun but being at the helm of your own sailboat is better than any fantasy.

The world awaits. Good luck.

Enjoy these other boating and cruising articles:

  • The Unexpected Side Of An Aging Sailor
  • What Is The Safest Sailboat?
  • Is Sailing A Cheap Hobby?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Sailboats?
  • How Big Of A Sailboat Can One Person Handle?
  • What Is The Best Size Sailboat To Live On?
  • Moving From A Sailboat To A Trawler
  • Sometimes It's All About Simplicity
  • The Bucket: A True Story
  • Essential Supplies For Extended Cruising
  • The Exhausting Need To Keep Up With New Technology
  • Have A Backup Plan!
  • Northern Marine Exhaust Systems Are Better
  • Cruising Boats Come Of Age
  • Changing Rituals
  • Did Wisdom Come To The Ancient Mariner?
  • Going World Cruising? Not So Fast
  • What Engines Are In Your Boat?
  • Letting Go But Still In Control
  • Learning To Handle A New Boat
  • Improving The User Experience
  • A Paradigm Shift In Cruising
  • Consider Buddy Boating
  • A Matter Of Staying Safe While Boating
  • Should I Carry A Gun While Cruising?
  • A Boater's 3-to-5 Year Plan
  • Provisioning Your Yacht For Extended Cruising - Bahamas
  • Provisioning Your Yacht For Extended Cruising - Alaska
  • The Evolution Of The Trawler Yacht
  • Getting Ready For The Great Loop
  • A Winning Great Loop Strategy
  • Tips For Cruising South
  • The Great Loop

cruising sailboat cost

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The True Cost of Living on a Sailboat: Our Monthly Expenses

pin of of man standing on front of catamaran holding onto jib rigging looking out at horizon

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Catamaran at anchor on the water

How much does it cost to live on a boat? This was my biggest question when we were planning and saving to cruise. I was clueless when it came to creating a budget for our future life aboard. I was looking for someone to tell me exactly how much it would cost ME to live on a sailboat full-time.

I quickly learned some people cruise for less than $1,000 a month and some for upwards of $10,000 a month. Most are somewhere between.

Not so dissimilar from living on land, different people cruise on all sorts of budgets.

For us, our cost of living on a sailboat isn’t so far from our land-based spending.

Part of this journey was learning to live with less, but we still maintain some creature comforts on the water.

Here is a breakdown of our cost of living on a boat full-time while cruising the US east coast.

Cost to Live on a Sailboat

pie chart of cost of living on a sailboat

Average cost of $2,424 per month*

Sailboat Maintenance Expenses

Average cost $1,006.

Sunnyside captain working in bilge on the sump pump

Maintenance, Parts & Tools ($687)

It’s no surprise boat maintenance is top of the list.

You will continuously be fixing broken things or maintaining things on a sailboat. You will also need different tools, spare parts, cleaners, etc., as you cruise.

There will be months when you won’t need much in the way of tools and parts (especially if you already have a lot of tools and spare parts onboard). Then in one month, you might spend 40% of the annual budget.

We make a strong effort to do most boat projects ourselves.

Shortly after we began cruising, our wallets learned the hard truth of paying people to work on your boat.

Since then, we’ve been our own plumber, mechanic, seamstress, and electrician.

You’ll always be learning. But if you can maintain and fix your vessel, you’ll save boatloads of cash (pun intended, I couldn’t resist).

READ NEXT: Check out our 9 Helpful Things You Need in Your Sailboat Tool Kit .

Insurance ($233).

If you are a newbie cruiser, your boat insurance options will most likely be limited. Insurance was a considerable expense in our first year. In our second year, the cost dropped from 2.8% of the boat’s value to 1.3%. (We now have restricted cruising grounds for July – November.)

Do your research and consider using a broker. Get quotes based on where you’ll be cruising and staying in hurricane season.

Miscellaneous ($86)

The miscellaneous category is everything else boat-related. This includes any small purchases we make for the boat (ex. rug for the salon), our USCG documentation, Amazon Prime membership, etc.

We also have a Boat US membership , which more than pays for itself. We get dockage and fuel discounts often. And, of course, the towing service is priceless when you run aground with only one engine. (What, just me?)

For a modest fee, this membership is a no-brainer for boat owners.

Marinas vs. Anchoring

Average cost $339.

Sailboat at anchor with dinghy behind it at sunset

Marina Costs

If you’ve been researching the cost of living on a boat, you know it is more economical to anchor than to dock in a marina slip. We love anchoring out, but it does come with a set of variables that dictate comfort and safety while you’re on the hook. Not to mention, it requires a lot more planning.

Marinas can be expensive, especially in popular cruising areas. Dockage is usually charged per foot, so the bigger the boat, the higher the costs associated with docking fees. However, you can find liveaboard boat marinas with slip fees that are paid monthly.

Many cruisers prefer to dock at a liveaboard marina during hurricane season and save anchoring for cruising season. This allows you to keep your cost per night at marinas down, and your overall costs balance out throughout the year.

READ NEXT: Check out our post on Liveaboard Marinas: Finding the Best One for You .

Anchoring challenges.

Dreaming of our cruising days, I had the idea we would anchor out and rarely pay for marinas.

In reality, that’s not what worked for us out of the gate. Being beginner sailors and newbies to cruising and boats in general – there was an enormous learning curve.

Learning to live this lifestyle is not always easy. And yes, marinas make it easier. Especially when you REALLY need it to be easier.

Anchoring out requires the captain to always be “on”. You must be aware of the weather, wind direction, currents, and tides. You also have to be aware of the boats around you. None of this stops when you leave the boat or when you sleep.

The reality is you need to slowly become more comfortable living on the hook.

With experience, you can build more confidence.

You’ll become more comfortable with boat systems, weather, and making repairs while on the anchor. Conserving power and water becomes more natural, and you learn how to stay warm in the cold and cool off in hot weather. With some practice, you can spend less time (and money) at marinas.

For folks dreaming of this lifestyle, I’m not saying you won’t be able to start living on the anchor immediately. But the stress level accompanying living on the hook will lower with time and experience.

Average Cost $449

Provisions are consistently one of our most significant expenses on the boat.

Anticipating my new life on the water, I knew I wanted to learn more about cooking, baking, and making things from scratch. And since we planned to live on a smaller budget, I also wanted to be conscious of spending on food.

A game I often play with myself is to see how long we can go until the next big provisioning trip.

Buddha bowls with lettuce, carrots, peppers, chickpeas, tomatoes and hummus

You might be thinking – that sounds miserable. But we eat pretty darn well most of the time.

We ration veggies and fruits, ensuring we leave the hardiest for last. We start with fresh salads and other raw veggie meals, such as cilantro hummus bowls. As the freshest veggies thin out, we work our way to curries and stir-fries. Then, when the fridge grows empty, we move on to rice and bean dishes, pineapple and jalapeño pizza, and bean tacos with pickled onions and cabbage.

One skillset you develop living on a boat is the ability to eat more sustainably.

Learning to make bread, yogurt, and vegetable broth from scraps is super satisfying.

Spend time learning to make flexible meals. Use a balance of fresh, canned, and dried ingredients. Do this, and you can stretch your provisioning budget without sacrificing flavor.

You can also save money by minimizing disposables, such as paper towels, sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil.

READ NEXT: Check out our ideas for Flexible Meals on a Boat and our Best Zero Waste Swaps for Small Spaces .

Having sundowners is a bit of a staple in the boating community. It’s a common way to meet and greet other boaters in a marina or in an anchorage. Given that, we always like to have a few extra beers onboard or the ingredients for a simple cocktail.

We love good wine, but we managed to find some enjoyable boxed wines. (Bonus, lose the boxes at the dock, and there’s very little trash to contend with.)

Sunnyside crew on beach with beers

When we find a deal, we stock up on beer. Nothing hits the spot like a cold beer after the anchor drops. We even discovered a reasonably priced rum we enjoy. (No boat is complete without rum!)

Expenses here are based on personal taste. For us, it was possible to have more affordable beverages and still enjoy sundowner traditions!

Average Cost $233

Sunnyside crew member enjoying a seafood platter at a restaurant

As a couple who dined out regularly in our Colorado ski town, it was going to be tough to start cooking three meals a day living aboard.

I read a lot of advice that said, “if you like eating out, you probably won’t stop eating out because you move on a boat.”

There is truth to this. Whenever we are in a place where eating out is convenient, we tend to fall back into old habits.

However, when we dock in remote places or anchor away from shore access, there is less (or no) opportunity to eat out.

Instead, we experiment with different types of food to make meals onboard rewarding.

We still enjoy going out to experience the local cuisine, but it has become a treat instead of how we live.

A great way to cut costs is by dining out for a late lunch rather than dinner or skipping the alcohol. Opting for a refreshing drink on the trampoline while watching the sunset isn’t a bad way to close out a night.

Average Cost $103

Sunnyside boat captain driving the dinghy

Diesel, gas, and propane are three resources you will continuously be aware of while living on a boat.

Here are a few adjustments we make to maximize our fuel efficiency.

  • We use our sails. This isn’t easy as new sailors on a big boat. We have slowly become more confident, but it took us months of traveling on the water to start getting comfortable using the sails. We are still learning.
  • We don’t put ourselves in a position where we are in a hurry or have a schedule. This almost always leads to running the engines more.
  • We run on one engine. We can run one engine instead of two on our catamaran and only lose about 1 – 1.5 knots. On the ICW, we unfurl the jib to improve speed if the wind is right.
  • We always make sure to travel at an optimal time for the current. Some areas of the Intercoastal Waterway can have a current that’s pushing 2-3 knots. Choosing a departure time around the current makes a big difference in travel time and fuel efficiency. 
  • Heating water with the electric kettle if the engines are running or we are on shore power.
  • Using hot water from the engines (when we have it) to get water boiling.
  • When cooking pasta, we use a minimal amount of water. We’ll often turn the propane off and let the noodles finish cooking in the hot water.
  • Quality cookware makes a big difference. Once brought to a boil, some dishes can finish cooking with the lid on. This is helpful when coming into an anchorage. Often, I’ll kill the propane, and by the time we are anchored, dinner is ready.
  • If we plan to make a few trips to shore, we’ll anchor closer to the dinghy dock. This doesn’t always work out, but being conscious of it has helped us stretch our gas budget.
  • If it’s a short trip to the dock and we aren’t carrying supplies, we use the kayak. Paddling is free (and fun)!

Average Cost $140

Working on the computer on the boat

When we were saving for the cruising kitty, we found ways to cut our mobile bill by using data on our home and work WiFi. When we moved aboard, our phone plan became the primary internet source. We quickly realized we would need to rethink our data plan.

There are a lot of options for unlimited data in the US, as well as hotspot data. I recommend having at least unlimited mobile data for research and logistics involved when cruising. If you need to work from the boat, you may also want to invest in an additional mobile service as backup or satellite internet. Starlink is starting to become popular in the boating community.

Our Mobile Plan

While cruising the east coast, we use T-Mobile. With this carrier, we get unlimited data and 40GB of hotspot data each month (20GB per phone). This is on the pricier end, and we have been looking into other options, but we enjoy having the hotspot data. Even after the 40GB, we still have hotspot data at 2G. When we cruise the Bahamas, we are planning to use My Island WiFi service .


Average cost $23.

TV with streaming services loaded on the screen

This category is for consumable entertainment since most other entertainment on the water is free.

Music, movies, and books are popular forms of entertainment onboard. Even when we cut down on spending, we kept a few options that provided these services. Instead of ditching all the monthly streaming apps, we looked hard at our memberships and cut back or found free services to supplement.

  • Spotify membership for music (we can download or stream) $11
  • Movie library on an external hard drive created before we ditched our DVDs Free
  • Hulu (included with Spotify) Free
  • Disney Plus (prepaid for three years during a special offer) $4
  • Nexflix (included with T-Mobile plan) Free
  • Tubi (a free streaming app) Free

Spotify and Audible are great for downloading books and playlists for when you are out of service or on passage. You can also download movies and shows through many streaming apps for playback when you don’t have a signal or are running on a budgeted amount of mobile data. An external hard drive of your favorite movies is also a great source of video entertainment that will never let you down.

Personal Care & Clothing

Average cost $73.

Crew member applying tinted moisturizer

Hair & Skin Care

Go more natural with skin and hair care. Most boats won’t have spare power for hairdryers and straighteners. On top of that, the sun and humidity will destroy makeup.

Start now researching ways to simplify your personal care regimens. It will make the transition abroad much easier.

Tips for Hair & Skin Care

  • Get a tinted moisturizer with SPF for your face (I like Raw Elements ), a flexible eye shadow, and waterproof mascara. Opt for reusable makeup remover cloths to cut down on waste.
  • Work on a natural look for your hair, and see if you can find a style you can cut yourself. Shampoo and conditioner bars are a great way to save space and are typically made with clean ingredients that won’t harm sea life.
  • Opt for a simple personal care routine. The fewer products you use, the more space, time, and money you’ll save.
  • We love to use UPF clothing in combination with sunscreen. The more you can cover up, the less sunscreen you’ll need.

For us, this area is where expenses remain similar to land life. There are no unique expenses with health or dental care, although finding healthcare coverage for multiple states can be challenging.

For the lady sailors, I recommend researching ways to have a zero-waste period. A menstrual cup is something I wish I had transitioned to before cruising. It will make your life easier, plus save you money and storage space.

If you can minimize laundry and wash some stuff on board, you can limit the need to find a washing machine.

Tips for Laundry on a Boat

  • Wear clothes that are easy to wash and dry and can be worn several times between washes.
  • In the summer months, wear UPF synthetics and bathing suits that can be washed by hand. This will also extend their life.
  • In the winter months, wear merino wool and dress in layers to get the most wears out of your clothes before washing.
  • Save sheets, towels, and bulkier clothing for when you have access to a washing machine. We aim to do machine washing about once a month.

Having a solid system in place for handwashing clothes helps limit our laundry budget. We average $8 per month spent on machines.

We try to buy high-quality clothing that is durable for boat life. Once you’ve created a boat wardrobe that works, you’ll find there is little you will need.

In six months, the only clothing I have purchased is a UPF shawl, a sun hat (to replace one I lost overboard), and a tank top. I previously spent a lot of money on clothes. Now I enjoy dialing in a functional, minimalist wardrobe for living on a boat.

READ NEXT: For more on clothing for boat life, check out What to Wear Sailing and How to Downsize Your Wardrobe .

Average cost $58.

View from commercial airline

For us, our travel budget for many years has consisted of only credit card membership fees. These help us earn points that pay for our travel.

Booking a flight or rental car without worrying about how it affects the budget is a nice perk in this lifestyle. There are times you need a car to get a project done or to book a last-minute flight to visit family.

We also get an annual travel credit with the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. We use a lot of the credit toward Ubers and Lyfts – great for when grocery stores aren’t within walking distance or you need to make a larger provisioning run.

Getting Started With a Cruising Budget

Sunset on the Intracoastal Waterway

Here are some final thoughts when creating your future sailboat cruising budget.

  • The above expenses are based on actively cruising on our 38-foot catamaran. For us, extended time at the dock is just a redistribution of funds. Maintenance and fuel go down, and marina expenses go up.
  • Our maintenance costs are at about 4% of the hull value. Aside from the trampoline, we have not replaced any big-ticket items, so we expect this percentage may increase over the next couple of years.
  • If you hope to stretch your cruising kitty, give yourself time to overcome the learning curve. Learning to maintain, operate, cook, and just be on a boat will take time. As you get more experience, your spending habits will improve. Be patient and keep moving forward.
  • I highly recommend you continue researching and reading as much as possible about the cost of living on a sailboat. Get perspectives from different cruisers. This will help you create a cruising budget that will be unique to you.

Other Resources

  • Gone with the Wynns created a very detailed article and video that breakdowns their cost of living on a boat.
  • Sailing Kittiwake also has a great video on the cost of living on a sailboat on a budget .

*Costs not included in this overview are health insurance, taxes, business expenses, and gifts or donations. These expenses are particular to each individual’s situation and so are excluded from this article.

Want more tips on how to get started cruising on a boat?

For more information on the reality of boat life and tips for living on the water, view our complete guide.

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5 Big Costs of Living on a Sailboat

Morgan, the founder of The Home That Roams, has been living nomadically for over five years. She began her journey traveling across the U.S. in a motorhome and cruising on a liveaboard sailing catamaran. Currently, she lives full-time in a travel trailer, sharing resources on RV living and boat life to help others downsize their lives and thrive in an alternative lifestyle.

Excellent article. Thank you!

I started getting the urge to return to the sea not long after I got out of the Navy in 1974…. Started out on a 15′ Phantom…. Up to 21′ Keels, up to a 26′ Bristol and finally a 28′ Newport…. You learn alot of tricks of the trade at a working marina… Barter system, I used to go up the mast or anything Aloft in return for favors with anything that I had a problem with …. Had to give up the sailboat when I couldn’t sail it by myself anymore … Looking for a 35′-38′ trawler to live in the Tampa Bay area for the rest of my day…. From the Sea I came, back to sea I will return … Anchor’s Aweigh….

Hi George, it sounds like you have lived and breathed boats for a while! One of my favorite things about a good liveaboard marina is how everyone trades boat maintenance favors and helps each other out. I sure hope you find a good trawler to liveaboard in Tampa – sounds lovely!

Do you use a specific budgeting software or anything to track your transactions? Please share if so

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cruising sailboat cost

Sail Away Blog

Understanding the Costs of Owning a Sailboat: A Complete Guide

Alex Morgan

cruising sailboat cost

Owning a sailboat can be a dream come true for many sailing enthusiasts. It’s important to understand that there are various costs associated with owning and maintaining a sailboat. By gaining insights from reputable sources such as BoatUS, we can explore the different factors that affect the cost of owning a sailboat and provide helpful tips for managing these expenses.

Factors that impact the cost of owning a sailboat include the type and size of the sailboat, age and condition, location and storage costs, maintenance and repair expenses, insurance and registration fees, as well as any upgrades and customizations. These factors can significantly vary and contribute to the overall expenses involved.

Initially, when purchasing a sailboat, you need to consider the purchase price itself, survey and inspection costs, tax and title fees, as well as any delivery or transportation costs. Additional expenses may arise from the need to purchase equipment and accessories specific to sailing.

ongoing costs are an important consideration. These include mooring or slip fees, insurance premiums, winterization and storage costs, maintenance and repair expenses, as well as fuel, water, and propane costs. In addition, annual registration and licensing renewal fees must also be factored into the budget.

To help manage the cost of owning a sailboat, it is recommended to research and purchase wisely, creating a budget and maintenance plan, considering shared ownership or boat clubs, as well as taking on your own maintenance and repairs. identifying cost-saving opportunities can help make owning a sailboat more financially feasible.

By understanding the factors influencing the cost of owning a sailboat and implementing effective strategies for managing expenses, sailing enthusiasts can enjoy the pleasure of owning a sailboat while being mindful of their financial commitments.

Key takeaway:

  • Owning a sailboat can be costly: The cost of owning a sailboat is influenced by various factors, including the type and size of the boat, its age and condition, as well as location and storage costs. It is important to consider these factors when budgeting for a sailboat.
  • Initial costs of owning a sailboat: When purchasing a sailboat, one must account for the purchase price, survey and inspection costs, tax and title fees, delivery or transportation costs, as well as equipment and accessories expenses.
  • Ongoing costs of owning a sailboat: Owning a sailboat comes with ongoing expenses such as mooring or slip fees, insurance premiums, winterization and storage costs, maintenance and repair expenses, as well as fuel, water, and propane costs. These costs should be factored into the overall budget.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Owning a Sailboat

Owning a sailboat is more than just a hobby—it’s a thrilling adventure that comes with its own set of costs. In this section, we’ll explore the various factors that influence the expenses of owning a sailboat. From the type and size of the vessel to the age and condition, we’ll uncover how these factors play a role in determining the overall cost. We’ll dive into the expenses associated with storage, maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration, as well as upgrades and customizations. So, hold onto your hats as we navigate the financial currents of owning a sailboat!

Type and Size of Sailboat

Pro-tip: Consider your intended use and budget when choosing the type and size of sailboat. Assess your sailing skills and needs to find the right balance between cost and functionality. Research thoroughly and consult with experienced sailors to make an informed decision.

Age and Condition of the Sailboat

The age and condition of a sailboat are crucial factors to consider when evaluating its cost and value. When assessing a sailboat, it is important to take into account various aspects such as the age , maintenance , structural integrity , equipment and systems , upgrades and renovations , as well as the potential resale value .

Older sailboats often have more wear and tear, which may result in frequent repairs. Age alone should not be the sole factor in determining the value of a sailboat. A well-maintained boat, regardless of its age, can be in better condition than a neglected newer boat. It is essential to thoroughly inspect the hull , deck , rigging , and sails for any signs of damage or weakness, as structural issues can be costly to repair. Older sailboats may also have outdated or malfunctioning equipment and systems, which might require upgrading or repair , leading to additional expenses.

On the other hand, considering any enhancements or renovations made to the sailboat can increase its value and overall enjoyment. An older sailboat in good condition may have a higher resale value than a newer boat in poor condition. Therefore, it is vital to assess the potential resale value if considering selling the sailboat in the future.

In a true story, a seasoned sailor once purchased a 30-year-old sailboat in excellent condition. Despite its age, the boat had been meticulously maintained , providing years of reliable cruising without significant expenses. This highlights the importance of not only focusing on the age but also the condition and care given to the sailboat.

Location and Storage Costs

When it comes to owning a sailboat, one cannot underestimate the importance of location and storage costs . These two factors play a significant role in determining the overall expenses.

One key consideration is the mooring or slip fees associated with marinas or yacht clubs. These fees are charged for docking the boat and can vary greatly depending on the location and amenities provided. Whether you are looking to spend a few hundred or several thousand dollars per year, it is crucial to factor in these costs.

Another vital aspect to consider is winterization and storage expenses . Particularly in areas with harsh winters, it becomes necessary to store the sailboat during the off-season. Winterization involves preparing the boat for cold weather conditions and safeguarding it against potential damage. The storage costs can include fees for dry storage or renting boatyard space .

It is essential to take maintenance and repair expenses into account. Depending on the chosen storage location, there may be onsite facilities and services available for routine maintenance and repairs. Proper research and comparison of storage options are crucial to finding a solution that not only meets your needs but also proves to be cost-effective. Key factors to consider in this assessment include proximity to water, security measures, and convenience. These factors will ultimately determine the location and storage costs associated with owning a sailboat.

Maintenance and Repair Expenses

Maintenance and repair expenses are crucial for owning a sailboat. Ensuring that you budget for these costs is necessary to maintain the good condition of your sailboat and guarantee its longevity.

To gain a better understanding of the maintenance and repair expenses, here is a breakdown of the common costs associated with sailboat ownership:

  • Regular Maintenance: This includes activities such as cleaning, polishing, and basic upkeep.
  • Haul-out and Bottom Painting: Periodically hauling out the boat to apply anti-fouling paint to the hull.
  • Rigging: This involves inspecting, tuning, and replacing standing and running rigging.
  • Hull Repair: It covers fixing any damage to the hull caused by collisions or accidents.
  • Engine Servicing: Maintaining and repairing the boat’s engine and its associated systems.
  • Sail Repair: This entails fixing tears, replacing worn-out sails, or upgrading for improved performance.

These maintenance and repair expenses are typical for sailboat owners. Costs can vary depending on factors such as boat size, the extent of the repair required, and whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire professionals.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can prevent more costly issues in the future. By actively maintaining your sailboat, you can ensure it remains in optimal condition for many years of sailing enjoyment.

It is important to always consider maintenance and repair expenses when calculating the overall cost of owning a sailboat. By being prepared and budgeting for these costs, you can avoid any financial surprises.

Sailboats have been adored by sailors for countless centuries. The joy of sailing remains unchanged from ancient times to the present day. Alongside sailing, sailboat ownership entails taking responsibility for the necessary maintenance and repair expenses. Sailors understand the significance of keeping their vessels in good condition, as it ensures safety and prolongs the lifespan of their sailboats. By dedicating time and resources to maintain and repair their sailboats, sailors have embarked on countless adventures, participated in races, and experienced the serene beauty of gliding through the water. The tradition of caring for sailboats has been passed down through generations, preserving the spirit of sailing.

Insurance and Registration Fees

When owning a sailboat, it is important to consider insurance and registration fees . These two factors play a crucial role in protecting your investment and ensuring legal registration. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

– Insurance : Sailboat insurance is essential in safeguarding against accidents, damage, or theft. The cost of insurance can vary based on several factors, including the value of the boat, its age and condition, your boating experience, and claims history.

– Registration fees : Registering your sailboat is necessary to meet legal requirements. The fees associated with registration can vary depending on the length of the boat, its usage location, and whether it is intended for recreational or commercial purposes.

Both insurance and registration fees should be considered as ongoing costs when budgeting for your sailboat. The specific amounts will vary depending on your individual circumstances and location.

For reference, BoatUS reports that the average annual boat insurance premium typically ranges from 1.5% to 2% of the boat’s market value. In terms of registration fees, they can range from $20 to $200, with the actual amount dependent on the state and size of the boat.

Upgrades and Customizations

When it comes to owning a sailboat, there are various upgrades and customizations that can enhance your sailing experience. Performance upgrades, comfort upgrades, technology upgrades, safety upgrades, and aesthetics upgrades are all available options. Consider your needs, preferences, and budget when deciding on upgrades and customizations for your sailboat. Prioritize upgrades that align with your sailing goals and enhance your sailing experience.

Initial Costs of Owning a Sailboat

Owning a sailboat may be a dream come true, but it’s important to understand the initial costs involved. In this section, we’ll dive into the different factors that contribute to the price tag of owning a sailboat. From the purchase price of the boat itself to survey and inspection costs, tax and title fees, delivery or transportation costs, and necessary equipment and accessories, we’ll break down the expenses you can expect when setting sail into the world of boat ownership. So, let’s hoist the anchor and navigate the financial waters of owning a sailboat!

Purchase Price of the Sailboat

The purchase price of a sailboat is an important factor to consider when owning one. It can vary depending on the size, age, and condition of the boat. Here is a table summarizing the average prices for different types of sailboats:

It’s crucial to note that these prices are estimates and can vary depending on the brand, model, and condition of the sailboat. In addition, other costs such as taxes, registration fees, and survey and inspection expenses should also be taken into consideration.

When purchasing a sailboat, it’s important to thoroughly research and inspect it. Consulting with experts or hiring a professional surveyor to assess its condition is highly recommended .

Buying a sailboat can be a significant investment, but it can also be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It’s advisable to set a budget and carefully consider all associated costs, including ongoing expenses, to ensure financial preparedness .

If necessary, negotiate the purchase price and consider buying used sailboats as a more affordable option. Wishing you happy sailing !

Survey and Inspection Costs

To determine the cost of owning a sailboat, survey and inspection costs are crucial. They ensure the condition and seaworthiness of the sailboat before buying it.

– Haul-out and bottom inspection: $300 – $500 – General condition survey: $10 – $20 per linear foot of boat length – Out-of-water inspection (including mast and rigging): $300 – $600 – Sail inspection: $150 – $300 – Engine inspection: $200 – $400

These costs can vary depending on the sailboat’s size, complexity, location, and the expertise of the surveyor. It is important to hire a knowledgeable professional surveyor who can thoroughly assess the vessel.

Survey and inspection costs are essential to uncover any potential issues or hidden problems with the sailboat. They allow buyers to make informed decisions and negotiate the purchase price based on the findings. These costs contribute to the overall expenses of owning a sailboat and ensure the vessel’s safety and seaworthiness.

Tax and Title Fees

Owning a sailboat involves considering various costs, including tax and title fees . These fees are necessary for legal ownership of the sailboat and may vary based on the boat’s location and size .

Location | Tax and

——— | —————–

Florida | $500

California | $1,000

New York | $800

These fees are typically a percentage of the sailboat’s purchase price and are required to register the boat and obtain the necessary documentation. It’s important to include these fees when budgeting for the overall cost of owning a sailboat.

To manage the cost of tax and title fees , it’s recommended to research the fees specific to your location beforehand and create a budget that includes these fees. Considering shared ownership or joining boat clubs can help reduce the financial burden of owning a sailboat. Purchasing a used sailboat or performing your own maintenance and repairs can save money in the long run.

Delivery or Transportation Costs

To understand sailboat ownership costs, consider delivery or transportation expenses. Factors like distance, transportation mode, and additional services can affect these costs.

Distance is a key factor in delivery costs. Shipping a sailboat long distances, especially across borders or overseas, significantly increases expenses. The sailboat’s size and weight determine the transportation method (land, sea, or air).

Other contributors to delivery costs include the need for specialized equipment (e.g. cranes, trailers) to load and unload the sailboat. Remote or hard-to-reach locations require extra logistics and fees.

To minimize costs, research reputable transportation providers with competitive prices. Comparing quotes helps find the most cost-effective option. Coordinating the delivery during low-demand periods also reduces expenses.

Pro-tip: Prioritize safety and proper handling during transportation. Investing in reliable services prevents damages or delays, ensuring a smooth journey for your new vessel.

Equipment and Accessories

When owning a sailboat, it is important to factor in the cost of equipment and accessories. These items are vital for the proper functioning and enjoyment of your sailboat.

The cost of equipment and accessories can vary depending on the size and type of sailboat, as well as personal preferences and requirements. Investing in high-quality and durable equipment is crucial.

It is worth considering ongoing maintenance and replacement costs for certain equipment and accessories. For instance, sails may need replacement every 5-10 years, depending on usage and care. Electronics may also require upgrades as they become outdated.

By meticulously considering necessary equipment and accessories and budgeting for their costs, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

Ongoing Costs of Owning a Sailboat

Owning a sailboat can bring both joy and ongoing costs. In this section, we’ll explore the various expenses that come with owning a sailboat. From mooring or slip fees to maintenance and repair expenses, we’ll uncover the financial considerations that sailors need to keep in mind. Additionally, we’ll touch upon insurance premiums, winterization and storage costs, as well as fuel, water, and propane costs. Lastly, we’ll discuss the need for registration and licensing renewal fees. Buckle up as we dive into the financial realities of sailboat ownership!

Mooring or Slip Fees

When owning a sailboat, one of the ongoing costs is mooring or slip fees. These fees secure a location to dock or store your sailboat. Here are some important details to keep in mind:

Location: Mooring or slip fees can vary depending on the location. Popular coastal areas or marinas in metropolitan cities tend to have higher fees than remote or less populated areas.

Size of boat: The size of your sailboat affects the cost of mooring or slip fees. Larger boats require more space and may have higher fees.

Type of mooring: Marinas offer different mooring options, such as floating docks, mooring balls, or fixed piers. The type of mooring chosen may impact the fees.

Length of stay: Mooring or slip fees are typically charged monthly or yearly. Longer-term contracts often have discounts or lower rates compared to short-term or transient mooring.

Amenities and services: Some marinas offer additional amenities and services, such as electricity, water hookups, Wi-Fi access, security measures, and facilities. These extras may contribute to higher fees.

Research and compare different marinas or docking facilities in your desired area to find the most suitable and cost-effective option for mooring or slip fees.

Insurance Premiums

Insurance premiums are an important ongoing cost to consider when owning a sailboat. Here are some key factors:

  • Boat’s value: Premiums are often based on the sailboat’s value. Higher-value boats may have higher insurance premiums.
  • Type of coverage: Different insurance policies offer varying levels of coverage, which directly affects the premium amount.
  • Boating experience: The owner’s sailing experience and history may be taken into consideration. More experienced sailors may be eligible for lower insurance premiums.
  • Location: Insurance premiums can be impacted by the location where the sailboat will be primarily used and stored. Areas prone to natural disasters or high rates of boat theft may have higher insurance premiums.
  • Previous claims history: Insurance companies consider the claims history of the sailboat owner. Owners with a record of previous claims may be charged higher insurance premiums.
  • Security measures: Installing security devices such as GPS tracking, alarms, or sturdy locks can help reduce insurance premiums. Storing the sailboat in a secure location can also have an impact.
  • Insurance provider: Rates and coverage options vary among insurance companies. It’s important to shop around and compare quotes to find the best insurance coverage at an affordable premium.

Considering these factors can help you make an informed decision about insurance premiums for your sailboat.

Winterization and Storage Costs

When owning a sailboat, it’s crucial to carefully consider the expenses associated with winterization and storage costs . These costs are necessary to safeguard your sailboat during the colder months.

Winterization , which can amount to approximately 1% to 3% of your boat’s value, involves various tasks such as removing and securely storing sails, electronics, and disconnecting the battery. In addition to these tasks, there are supplementary costs involved, such as purchasing antifreeze, fuel stabilizer, and other materials essential for the winterization process.

On the other hand, storage costs are determined by factors such as the size of your boat and its location. If you opt for indoor storage, you can expect to pay a monthly fee ranging from $300 to $900. Outdoor storage options, on the other hand, are more affordable, with costs typically falling between $100 and $400 per month.

In order to efficiently manage these expenses, it is crucial to plan ahead and establish a budget. A sensible approach would be to contact local marinas or boatyards and compare prices to find the most suitable storage option for your sailboat. You should inquire about any available long-term storage discounts or package deals that can help you protect your sailboat without exceeding your budget.

Maintenance and repair expenses are significant for sailboat ownership. Consider the following factors for these costs:

-Regular maintenance: Sailboats require routine upkeep for proper functioning. This includes cleaning, painting, and lubricating various components.

– Engine maintenance: Sailboats with engines need regular servicing, including oil changes, filter replacements, and inspections. Costs vary based on engine size and type.

-Sail and rigging repairs: Over time, sails and rigging may wear out or become damaged. Repairing or replacing these components is necessary for sailboat performance and safety.

-Hull repairs: The sailboat hull may need occasional repairs due to impacts, corrosion, or wear and tear. Costs vary based on damage extent and repair materials.

– Electronics and electrical system maintenance: Sailboats with electronics and electrical systems require periodic inspections, repairs, or replacements for proper functioning.

To manage maintenance and repair expenses effectively, consider these suggestions:

-Create a budget: Allocate funds specifically for maintenance and repair costs.

-Perform regular inspections: Assess the sailboat’s condition regularly to detect potential issues early and address them promptly.

-Learn basic maintenance skills: Develop DIY skills to handle minor repairs and maintenance tasks, reducing the need for professional assistance.

-Stay proactive: Address maintenance and repair needs promptly to prevent further damage and potential cost increases.

-Consider professional assistance: Some complex repairs or specialized tasks may require professional expertise. Factor in the cost of hiring professionals when budgeting for maintenance and repairs.

Fuel, Water, and Propane Costs

Fuel, water, and propane costs are important ongoing expenses to consider when owning a sailboat. These costs can vary depending on factors such as frequency of use, distance traveled, and the boat size. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

– Sailboats require fuel for auxiliary engines during maneuvers or emergencies. On average, fuel costs can range from 5-10% of total operating expenses and propane costs.

– Sailboats have water tanks for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Refilling these tanks depends on location and water prices. Marinas offer refill stations, charging per gallon or per liter usage.

– Sailboats use propane for cooking, heating, and refrigeration. Propane costs vary based on tank size and frequency of usage. Consider refill costs and ensure a sufficient supply.

Fact: BoatUS Magazine reports that the average sailboat owner spends $1,000 to $2,000 per year on fuel, water, and propane costs.

Registration and Licensing Renewal Fees

Owning a sailboat requires considering the registration and licensing renewal fees. These mandatory fees vary depending on the boat’s registration location. They contribute to maintaining boating facilities and waterways.

Factoring in these fees is essential when considering the overall cost of owning a sailboat. Failure to renew registration and licensing can result in fines or the boat’s inability to be operated legally. It is crucial to check the specific renewal requirements and deadlines in your area.

Tips for Managing the Cost of Owning a Sailboat

Owning a sailboat can be a dream come true, but managing the costs can be a challenge. In this section, we’ll share some valuable tips to help you navigate the financial waters of owning a sailboat. From researching and purchasing wisely to creating a budget and maintenance plan, we’ll equip you with practical strategies to keep expenses in check. We’ll also explore alternative options like shared ownership and cost-saving opportunities, so you can indulge in your sailing passion without breaking the bank .

Research and Purchase Wisely

When owning a sailboat, research and purchase wisely for the best possible decision. Here are some tips to help with research and purchase:

1. Determine sailing goals: Consider racing or cruising, day-sailing or extended trips. Knowing goals narrows down options.

2. Research sailboat types: Each type has advantages and disadvantages. Research size, stability, and handling.

3. Read reviews and seek recommendations: Look for reviews of sailboat models and brands. Read about other sailors’ experiences and seek expert or fellow sailor recommendations.

4. Inspect sailboat: Thoroughly inspect any potential sailboat. Look for damage, assess condition, and check for necessary repairs or upgrades.

5. Consider maintenance cost: Account for ongoing maintenance when deciding to purchase.

6. Get a survey: Have a professional surveyor evaluate the sailboat’s condition and identify any potential issues.

Pro-tip: Take your time, do thorough research, and consult experts for an informed decision.

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Create a Budget and Maintenance Plan

To successfully create a budget and maintenance plan for owning a sailboat, it is crucial to follow these steps:

1. Assess your financial situation and establish your boat ownership budget.

2. Research and compile a list of potential expenses related to sailboat ownership, including the purchase price, insurance premiums, mooring fees, maintenance costs, and fuel expenses.

3. Categorize and estimate the average cost for each expense category, such as monthly insurance cost, annual maintenance cost, and seasonal winterization and storage cost.

4. Prioritize and allocate your budget appropriately, identifying areas where you can save money and areas where you should invest more.

5. Develop a maintenance timeline and schedule regular check-ups to proactively address small issues before they escalate into costly repairs.

6. Maintain a comprehensive record of all expenses and periodically compare them with your budget to ensure you are staying on track.

7. Establish a contingency fund specifically designated for unexpected repairs or emergencies that may arise.

8. Stay informed about potential cost-saving opportunities, such as discounts on mooring fees or fuel, and take full advantage of them.

9. Regularly review and adjust your budget and maintenance plan to accommodate any changes in your financial situation or boat ownership requirements.

By implementing these steps, you will be able to effectively manage your sailboat’s finances and upkeep, enabling you to fully enjoy your sailing experiences.

Consider Shared Ownership or Boat Clubs

Consider shared ownership or boat clubs as a cost-saving option when owning a sailboat.

– Shared Ownership: When considering the ownership of a sailboat, it would be wise to consider shared ownership programs or boat clubs. These options allow you to share the costs and responsibilities with others, resulting in significantly reduced expenses. By joining a shared ownership program, you can split the purchase price, maintenance costs, mooring fees, and other expenses among multiple owners. This arrangement offers shared usage, ensuring that you can enjoy the sailboat without shouldering the full financial burden.

– Boat Clubs: Another cost-effective alternative to purchasing and maintaining a sailboat individually is to join a boat club. Boat clubs grant you access to a fleet of sailboats for a monthly or annual fee. This eliminates the need for individual ownership and the associated expenses. Boat clubs offer various membership levels and allow members to reserve boats for specific dates and durations, providing flexibility and convenience. This is particularly advantageous for individuals who desire the joys of sailing without long-term commitments and heavy financial obligations.

– Membership Fees: Before finalizing your decision, it is essential to consider the membership fees associated with shared ownership or boat clubs. Take the time to compare these fees with the potential cost savings to ensure they align with your budget and sailing needs.

– Availability and Reservations: It is crucial to check the availability of sailboats and the ease of reserving them in your area. Consider the proximity of boat club locations to ensure convenient access.

– Community and Networking: Beyond the financial advantages, shared ownership and boat clubs offer an opportunity to connect with fellow sailing enthusiasts and foster a sense of community. By sharing experiences, knowledge, and resources with other members, you can enhance your overall sailing experience.

Considering shared ownership or boat clubs is a practical way to enjoy the benefits of sailing while minimizing financial obligations.

Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs

Doing your own sailboat maintenance and repairs saves money and ensures good condition. By taking the necessary steps, you can effectively Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs.

1. Regularly inspect your boat for damage or wear. Check the hull for cracks, inspect rigging for fraying or corrosion, and examine sails for tears or holes.

2. Learn basic maintenance tasks like cleaning, changing oil and filters, and checking and replacing spark plugs. This way, you can confidently Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs.

3. Invest in a versatile set of tools including wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and electrical testers. These tools will aid you in successfully completing Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs.

4. Educate yourself on more complex repairs like fixing leaks, repairing electrical systems, and replacing parts. By learning these skills, you will be equipped to effectively Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs.

5. Be proactive in addressing issues to prevent them from becoming costly problems later. By taking proactive measures, you can efficiently Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs, saving both time and money.

By doing your own maintenance and repairs, you save money and develop a better understanding of your boat, boosting your confidence in handling any issues that may arise. So, take charge and confidently Do Your Own Maintenance and Repairs.

Take Advantage of Cost-Saving Opportunities

To efficiently manage the expenses associated with owning a sailboat, it is crucial to capitalize on various cost-saving opportunities. These approaches include:

  • Making use of discounts and promotions provided by marinas and boat clubs. These organizations frequently offer reduced rates for services such as mooring or slip fees, as well as other facilities.
  • Engaging in co-ownership of a sailboat with other individuals or families to distribute the costs and enhance affordability.
  • Whenever feasible, handle your own maintenance and repairs. Acquiring basic boat maintenance skills can substantially reduce expenses related to labor costs.
  • Prior to purchasing equipment, accessories, and supplies for your sailboat, conduct thorough research and compare prices. Look out for sales, discounts, and consider buying used items in good condition to cut down on expenses.
  • Seek out opportunities to save on fuel, water, and propane. Look for marinas or fuel stations that provide boaters with discounts or loyalty programs.

By implementing these strategies, one can effectively reduce the overall cost of sailboat ownership and ensure a more affordable boating experience.

Some Facts About How Much Does It Cost To Own A Sailboat:

  • ✅ The initial purchase cost of a sailboat can vary depending on factors such as type, size, condition, and whether it’s new or used.
  • ✅ Financing options are available for those who can’t afford to buy a sailboat outright.
  • ✅ Maintenance costs for a boat can be around 10% of its value per year, and unexpected repairs may also be necessary.
  • ✅ Owning a sailboat can be affordable, with prices ranging from $1,500 for a used sailboat to $250,000 for a new sailboat.
  • ✅ The average price of new sailboats is $250,000, ranging from $96,000 to $654,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how much does it cost to buy a sailboat.

The cost of buying a sailboat can vary depending on factors such as type, size, condition, and whether it’s new or used. For example, a new sailboat can cost anywhere from $96,000 to $654,000, while a used sailboat can range from $19,000 to $518,000. Popular sailboats such as the Catalina 30, Islander 36, Contessa 32, Pearson 34, and Nordic 40 have different asking prices.

2. What are the annual components of owning and operating a sailboat?

The annual costs of owning and operating a sailboat include maintenance costs (around 10% of the boat’s value per year), insurance costs (approximately 1.5% of the boat’s value), mooring or berthing costs (varying based on location and convenience), off-season storage ashore fees (cheaper than marina berths), and additional expenses for upgrades and repairs.

3. What is the true cost of boat ownership?

The true cost of boat ownership goes beyond the initial purchase price. It includes various other expenses such as the price of the boat and additional equipment needed for sailing (capital cost), finance costs (if a loan is taken), depreciation (which may not be significant for well-maintained used boats over 5 years old), insurance costs, mooring or berthing fees, off-season storage ashore charges, and ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs.

4. How much are the hidden costs of owning a sailboat?

Owning a sailboat involves additional costs that might not be immediately apparent. These hidden costs include inspection fees, necessary add-ons for safety, potential repairs, and unforeseen expenses that may arise during ownership. It is important to factor in these hidden charges when budgeting for a sailboat.

5. What are the monthly expenses associated with sailboat ownership?

Monthly expenses for owning a sailboat may include maintenance costs (ranging from $2,000 to $3,000), mooring or docking fees, insurance premiums, fuel costs, electricity bills, dining out expenses, internet access fees, personal care and clothing expenses, and entertainment costs. These expenses can vary depending on individual preferences and lifestyle choices.

6. How can I make money from owning a sailboat?

While owning a sailboat does come with expenses, there are potential ways to offset costs or even make money. Some sailboat owners choose to rent out their boats when not in use, participate in boat chartering programs, or offer sailing lessons. It is important to research and understand the legal and financial implications of such endeavors.

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Average Sailboat Prices: 27 Helpful Examples (With Pictures)

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The average price of used sailboats is around $21,000, but new boats cost $60,000 on average and upwards. Some used boats can be purchased for less than $10,000, depending on their age, size, and condition. This is because pre-owned sailboats have about 80 percent of the market share.

You will find models from the early 1960s still racing across the Pacific and Atlantic like new. So what are your options?

Below, we provide a comprehensive list of enduring sailboat designs:

You can also check out our in-depth guide for more information on general boat average prices. In this guide, we have included a long list of boat types

Table of Contents

27 Good Examples When Looking At Sailboat Prices

1) tayana 37.

cruising sailboat cost

Marine designer Robert Perry is arguably one of the most prolific in the boatbuilding world.

His Tayana 37 is one of the most popular production sailboats of all time, with over 650 built.

The Tayana 37 features a sturdy fiberglass hull and a balsa-cored deck for smooth and comfortable circumnavigation.

It comes with a variety of customizations, including different rigs, decks, accommodation, and more.

However, the early boats have V-berths, a high-aspect-ration rig, and a luxurious teak-trimmed interior.

Measuring 36’8″ in length with a displacement of 24,000 pounds, the Tayana 37 is one of the best world cruisers ever made. While production stopped in 2016, you can get one for $34,000 to $65,000.

2) Catalina 22

cruising sailboat cost

Depending on the production year, the ubiquitous Catalina 22 can be as low as $4,000 or up to $15,000 for recent models.

This trailerable sailboat was first built in 1969 and enjoyed popularity thanks to its family-friendliness and compact design.

With over 10,000 boats commissioned, the Catalina 22 and its successors Catalina 27 and Catalina 30 are a permanent feature at lakes, rivers, and the high seas.

Despite its size, the Catalina 22 can hold its own in rough seas thanks to the hand-laid fiberglass hull. It is spacious below deck and comes with all the facilities you need to feel at home.

Whether you are a club racer or weekend cruiser, this dependable platform offers one of the best values for money when you want to spend quality time on the water.  If you get one with a trailer, that can save you a lot of money on marina and storage fees over time.

3) Hunter 356

cruising sailboat cost

Starting in 2000, Glenn Henderson’s Hunter 356 took the sailboat industry by storm.

500 boats later, the 356 is still one of the best high-performance sailboats in its class.

This boat features a solid and balanced hull, shoal draft, and exceptional sailing qualities.

It has a sleek design, a clutter-free cockpit, and is easy to handle.

Early production Hunter 356s are available for less than $60,000.

Hunter Marine no longer produces the 356, but the sailboat is still popular among sailors old and young.

4) Contessa 26

cruising sailboat cost

The compact Contessa 26 was designed by David Sadler and Jeremy Rodgers in the 1960s. It blew into the limelight when it helped Tanie Aebi complete her solo circumnavigation.

This fiberglass monohull is a sturdy and dependable vessel, and around 650 are voyaging across the oceans today.

She has a low freeboard, and the rudder is attached to the keel in a strong, traditional manner.

While you may have to bend a bit to access the cabin, there is plenty of space and amenities to deliver a home-away-from-home feel.

This is one of the most popular British sailboats and is most sought after by long-distance ocean sailors or just someone who wants a classic sailboat.

You can get a well-kept boat of this type for less than $10,000 or over $20,000.

The sister ship Contessa 32 is also a well-built model popular among sailors.

5) Island Packet 31

cruising sailboat cost

If you love sailing in shallow waters, the Island Packet 31 is designed for the shoal draft needed to safely navigate Florida waters.

Featuring a solid fiberglass hull, the 31 has an end-grain balsa core deck, which gives it a powerful and solid feeling.

The boat is roomy, comfortable, and is designed to be simple to use and maintain.

While her seagoing credentials might not be the best, the Island Packet 31 is a vintage liveaboard yacht with all the trappings of royalty.

This boat costs about $35,000 to $50,000.

6) Bristol 40

cruising sailboat cost

This Ted Hood design is one of the best cruising boat designs of all time.

Featuring a narrow beam and solid hull, the Bristol 40 has a low freeboard, large overhangs, and exceptional seaworthiness.

Its long keel carries an attached rudder for excellent tracking and stability.

The Bristol 40 has a relatively small interior with separate cabins , sea berths, and an enclosed head.

This boat was produced in keel or keel/centerboard configuration and came with the powerful Atomic 4 gas engine.  Many have been upgraded to diesel engines.

If you want a vintage racing sailboat that can deliver an impressive pace in the water, consider one of these.

The Bristol 40 was produced from 1966 to 1986, and you can get one for $29,000 to $49,000.

7) Cape Dory 30

cruising sailboat cost

This 30-footer introduced in 1976 is a popular sailboat for people on a budget.

It boasts a robust design with a solid single hull, balsa-cored deck, and extensive bronze and teak hardware in the interior and exterior.

Like the Bristol 40, this boat has its rudder attached to the keel for stable tracking and safety, but not as much overhang in the stern.  The space below the deck uses a traditional design. But this tried and tested design is still ruling the waves.

For more room and improved handling, you can check out the bigger Cape Dory MK11, which comes at over $50,000.

cruising sailboat cost

If you live on the West Coast of the United States, chances are you’ve seen one of these beauties.

Over 400 units of the Gulf 32 were produced, and the boat’s durable construction and beautiful design make it a good fit for many sailors.

It features a flush cambered deck, a sweeping sheer, and a low profile pilothouse, making it stand out on the water.

Specifications for the boat differ because it was built by two different boatyards. However, all Gulf 32 boats have a cavernous interior, comfortable wood finishes, and motorsailer dimensions.

Good samples of this model go for $24,000 to $39,000 but check the side decks for delamination.

9) Endeavour 37

cruising sailboat cost

The Endeavour 37 is the successor of the successful Endeavour 32.

It is available as a sloop and ketch and comes with a powerful Perkins 4-108 diesel to provide good power for its heavy design.

The Endeavour 37 can be slow going upwind because of its weight but offers comfortable and smooth rides.

The hull is single fiberglass, and the interior comes with plenty of plywood, although the craftsmanship is exceptional.

The boat could have two aft cabins with a convertible dinette forward or a single aft cabin with a V-berth forward.

It sells for $20,000-$49,000.

10) Tartan 37

cruising sailboat cost

The Tartan 37 is one of the three 37-footers Tartan Marine built over the years and the most popular.

This boat has a balsa-cored hull and deck and external lead ballast. The bulkheads are firmly tabbed to the deck to provide good structural strength.

With over 500 built, the Tartan 37 is a fast boat ideal for racing.

You can still find these boats for $23,000 and upward.

11) Islander 36

cruising sailboat cost

As the name suggests, the Islander 36 is a 36-footer sailboat designed by the Australian Alan Gurney for Islander Yachts.

It features a skeg-mounted rudder, fin keel and has a solid fiberglass hull.

Unlike most sailboats with end-grain balsa deck, the Islander 36 uses plywood, which increases weight and can be stronger, but it can also get wet from leaks in the deck and rot.

What the boat excels at is the interior space.

The boat’s wide beam allowed the builder to provide more accommodation, unlike other boats in its category.

Over 1,000 units of this boat were built, and you can buy one for $22,000 and above.

12) Hallberg-Rassy 35 Rasmus

cruising sailboat cost

This Olle Enderlein design features a center cockpit, a huge windscreen, and a full keel for improved stability and handling.

It has all the amenities of a small home, including a saloon, galley, main cabin, v-berth, and enclosed head.

The sailboat has a solid fiberglass construction and rides well in choppy waters.

A 75HP Volvo Pentad MD21 diesel supplements wind power, making this boat a reliable cruiser.

The boat sells for about $30,000.

13) Dufour Arpege 30

cruising sailboat cost

You might not hear of this boat builder often, but it was one of the most successful in France and beyond.

The Arpege 30 sports luxurious facilities include stylish sea berths, a large galley, and plenty of forepeak storage compartments.

This 30-footer was so popular over 1,500 were sold from 1966 onward.

If you need a classic sailboat with high-end performance and fittings, this weekend cruiser is it.

One of these beauties goes for around $18,000

14) Mason 43/44

cruising sailboat cost

The Taiwan-built Maison 43/44 from Al Mason is a fast, comfortable, and reliable oceangoing sailboat.

These boats were first introduced as the Mason 43 and upgraded to the Mason 44 in 1985.

The boat has a full keel and a cutter rig and rides well in the sea.

There are double-berth cabins fore and aft, a galley, and everything a small family or couple needs to cross any ocean in comfort.

These beautiful boats are still found in docks worldwide and go for $60,00 to over $120,000.

15) Nor’Sea 27

cruising sailboat cost

This 27-footer designed by Lyle Hess is one of the most affordable and ocean-capable sailboats still in production today.

Despite being compact enough to move by trailer from one boating hotspot to another, the Nor’Sea 27 can take you safely across any ocean.

Don’t be fooled by its small size; this is a solid boat that can withstand a heavy bashing at sea.

It has a lapstrake fiberglass hull, a full keel, sturdy bulwarks, and a round stern for exceptional seaworthiness.

The Nor’Sea 27 featured a bowsprit and extended anchor roller, giving it a traditional sailboat appearance.

If you need an affordable sailboat that can circumnavigate the world, the Nor’Sea 27 is a capable cruiser that won’t hurt your purse.

You can get a 1981 model for less than $30,000.

16) C&C Landfall 38

cruising sailboat cost

If you need a highly maneuverable sailboat, fast, and has exceptional cruising capabilities, one of the best examples is the Landfall 38.

This boat was produced in the shallow draft and deep fin configurations, and later versions gained 1700 pounds in weight.

However, this didn’t dampen the boat’s performance in bluewater environments.

The Landfall 38 was one of the first boats to feature a hull and deck with end-grain balsa coring, making it light and increasing stiffness.

There are a keel-stepped mast, through-bolted deck hardware, and a spade rudder, which provides improved control and sailing performance in all weather.

The interior is lavishly finished in teak, and the aft cabin has a double berth.

These boats were equipped with a venerable Yanmar diesel engine and sails upwind like a racer.

This boat costs around $33,000, and the last units were built in 1987.

17) Gulfstar 50

Gulfstar 50 is one of the most comfortable family-sized sailboats in the world.  Gulfstar also made versions from 36 feet to 60 feet.

Despite its luxurious trims and decent performance, the 50-footer from Gulfstar Yachts is affordable considering its features.

It features a center console cockpit, which provides for a spacious owner’s stateroom aft.

There is plenty of accommodation for a family or a small group because it was designed for charter. With its solid fiberglass hull and exquisite interior finishing, this boat continues to be one of the most preferred liveaboards for people who choose the sailing lifestyle.

A 1978 model goes for around $99,000.

18) Beneteau 423

cruising sailboat cost

This Groupe Finot-designed sailboat is one of the best from the French boatbuilder Beneteau.

It has a solid construction, exceptional speed and is easy to handle even in rough waters. The interior is clutter-free, comfortable, and spacious.

Plus, the 423 is a quality boat that delivers tremendous value for money considering the pedigree and quality.

You can get one for less than $100,000 to around $195,000, based on the year of production and condition.

19) Alberg 30

cruising sailboat cost

With over 750 of this boat built over 25 years, the Alberg 30 is one of the most beloved cruising-racing sailboats.

Featuring the wooden boats’ classy look, the Alberg 30 has a full keel, long overhangs, and a low freeboard.

Despite production stopping since 1984, these boats are going strong thanks to durable fiberglass construction and attention to detail.

The Alberg 30 is not the most accommodating by modern standards. But it has a sal0on, a V-berth forward, and an enclosed head aft.

There is also a small galley to starboard, and the design is clutter-free.

If you want to own one of these legendary club racers, you will be surprised they go for as low as $10,000 to $25,000. 

The price will often depend on whether the original Atomic 4 gas engine has been upgraded to a diesel engine.

20) Peterson 44

cruising sailboat cost

The Peterson 44 was designed by Doug Peterson of the Jack Kelly Yachts in 1975.

This fine boat was designed for long-distance cruising and its center-cockpit style provided ample accommodation and comfort.

You can still find these beautiful boats crisscrossing the oceans , and many of them have circumnavigated.

The Peterson 44 featured hand-laid fiberglass matt and polyester resin roving, making it a solid and dependable cruiser.

It has a three-cabin layout with V-berths, a dinette, and an enclosed head.

The boat is powered by a 62HP Perkins 4-152 Diesel, although a few have 80HP Ford Lehman’s, allowing it to run fast under power.

It is estimated that over 600 hulls of the Peterson 44 were built, and price ranges from around $73,500 to $230,000.

21) Hinckley Bermuda 40

cruising sailboat cost

Few sailboats hold their value, like the Bermuda 40 from Hinckley.

This elegant and capable boat was built to exacting specifications with its yawl rig, low freeboard, and sweeping overhangs.

Most used B 40s are still in mint shape because their proud owners well maintain them, many serviced by the boatbuilder.  So they retain most of their value even after thousands of miles on the high seas.

Despite its 40-foot length, the Bermuda 40 is limited in space, making it ideal for couples.

It has V-berths forward, which you can convert to a comfortable double bed.

There is plenty of storage space, and the head has a shower and a sink.

The deck is spacious, and the boat handles nimbly even in turbulent waters.

This boat is geared towards traditional sailors who want a top-end boat, as even a base model from 1975 goes for about$90,000.

22) Pacific Seacraft 37

cruising sailboat cost

Since its introduction in 1980, the Pacific Seacraft 37 has proven to be one of the best world cruising sailboats in its class.

This boat is fast, comfortable and solidly built for safe passages across the ocean.

It was offered in the cutter and yawl configurations, and its traditional stern style sits atop a modern skeg rudder underbody.

This boat has accommodation for six passengers and every amenity to ensure a comfortable time on the ocean.

She is a prominent feature at the Singlehanded Pacific Yacht Race and other top sail boating events.

This boat is still in production and goes new for around $450,000, so an older used model for less than $100,000 is a good deal.

23) Gemini 3000

cruising sailboat cost

A successor to the Gemini 31, the 3000 is the most popular American-built cruising cat on the market.

Featuring a simple design, this highly functional cat is affordable and fast.

Despite its narrow beam, the Gemini 3000 boasts a master stateroom with a queen-size double berth forward.

There are guest staterooms aft of both hulls with two small doubles.

It has a small saloon with a collapsible table with two settees and a galley, converting to a double berth.

This 30-footer can sleep three couples comfortably and will accommodate a family with several small children without issues.

The Gemini 3000 has deep pivoting centerboards for improved performance and directional stability.

Geminis are not considered suitable for bluewater cruising because they are not designed to withstand serious bashing.

However, these cats offer an affordable ticket for a family or group of friends to enjoy coastal cruising. This boat goes for around $35,000 to $65,000.

24) Gunboat 62 (catamaran)

cruising sailboat cost

The Gunboat 62 from the same name’s cat builder is one of the safest offshore sailing catamarans in its class. It’s also insanely expensive!

This high-performance cat is perfect for oceanic cruises.

Its innovative design opened up plenty of space for accommodation and recreation.

It features three private cabins, each with queen berths and 2 roomy heads with a separate shower in each hull.

There is a galley, a lounge, a folding dining table, and a full pantry below the deck.

The starboard bow has a crew head, and the port bow houses the crew quarters.

This cat comes with air conditioning, refrigerator, deep freezer, and dishwasher, among others.

The cockpit is lavished with teak, and every part of the boat oozes luxury.

This cat carries a premium price tag of over 2 million dollars.

25) Lagoon 380 (catamaran)

cruising sailboat cost

Lagoon 380 is a 4 cabin sailing cat built by Jeanneau.

This cat accommodates 10 passengers and is an excellent platform for cruising across the ocean or lounging on coastal waters.

With over 500 units cruising across the world, the Lagoon 380 has won the heart of many cat sailors as a comfortable and safe platform.

This workhorse comes with an exquisitely furnished interior at an affordable price.

It might not be the fastest catamaran, but the Lagoon 380 provides all the comfort and stability you need to have fun and memorable moments on the water.

These boats go for $400,000 or more, so they may still be out of many sailors’ reach.

26) Catana 50 Carbon (Catamaran)

cruising sailboat cost

If you need a light, fast and go-anywhere cat, the Catana 50 Carbon is one of the best on the market.

Using weight-saving carbon fiber, Catana reduced the weight, turning the boat into a racy oceangoing multi-hull.

With this vessel, you get a luxurious interior, ample deck space, superior performance, and easy handling.

This boat costs a whopping $1.3 million at a base price, making it a choice of select premium sailors.

27) Prout Snowgoose 37 (Catamaran)

cruising sailboat cost

With an estimated 500 units built, the Prout Snowgoose 37 from Prout boatyard is one of the most popular cats from the UK.

This catamaran features solid construction that allows it to sail across oceans, and many are reported to have completed circumnavigations.

The Prout 37 may not look like the newest designs, but it has a comfortable deck and interior.

Below deck, this boat has two large double cabins aft and a full queen berth forward.

There is a saloon with a large table and wraparound settees.

It has a changing station, a full-length bookshelf, and a large storage starboard hull. And the galley is well-equipped to keep a family well-fed on long voyages.

There are hundreds of Prout Snowgoose 37s plying the world’s ocean, and you can own one for less than $100,000.

2 Ways To Reduce the Cost of Buying a Sailboat

There are two main ways of saving cost when buying a sailboat or any boat. They include:

1) Buying Used Boats

If you’ve followed this article this far, you notice that the most affordable boats on this list are used.

Contrary to many novice sailors’ belief, you can buy sailboats for low prices as long as you do due diligence.

Many models from the last half of the 20th century are available for less than $30,000.

Because most serious sailors are passionate about their hobbies, they take exceptional care of their boats. This makes most sailboats on the market retain their value for many years.

In fact, you can get oceangoing boats of 26-32 feet in almost pristine conditions under $100,000.

The best part is most popular sailboats have a strong following worldwide, and sourcing spare parts won’t be a problem.

2) Partnerships

The other way to reduce the cost of a sailboat is to partner with someone.

Partners will share the purchase cost and other expenses related to the boat. However, this can be problematic.

Sometimes, a partner will not honor their commitment when it’s time to pay.

A partner may spend more time on the boat, and this can lead to conflict over responsibilities.

If you choose this route, it’s better to partner with a family or friend. And have a contractual agreement stipulating the rights and obligations of all the parties involved in the transaction.

Considering that most used sailboats are affordable and in good condition, you can save yourself the potential problems that come with co-owning a boat.

The best way to experience sailing life is to own your boat.

Final Words

Sailboats have come a long way since they became a serious pastime for people in the early part of the last century.

Because of the early sailboats’ quality construction, new sailors have myriad options to choose from without hurting their finances.

You can get a pre-owned offshore capable sailboat for less than $10,000 in many parts of the world.

However, very inexpensive used boats may need many repairs and upgrades, so it is often more inexpensive in the end, too, but a well-maintained and upgraded vessel. If you have a fat purse, you can go for newer, premium sailboats in the hundreds of thousands.

But whatever your budget and sailing dreams, there is a sailboat out there for everybody who dares to explore the oceans.

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How Much Do Sailboats Cost 2024? The Average Prices

The cost of a sailboat can vary greatly depending on a number of features, so it’s hard to give a definitive answer without knowing requirements.

Although it’s common to think sailing’s for the rich , that isn’t always the case. In fact, you can pick up project boats for as little as $1! This is unusual though, so what can you expect to pay?

To give a rough idea, a small, basic sailboat can start at around $10,000, while high-end, luxury boats can easily exceed $1 million.

Additionally, the cost of owning and maintaining a sailboat should also be considered. This can include expenses for docking fees, insurance, repairs and upgrades, and essential sailing gear and equipment.

cruising sailboat cost

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When we bought our sailboat four years ago we had no idea if we would like living aboard or how long we would want to cruise for. We knew we wanted a boat under 40ft so we could manage it as a crew of two (or even one if needs be), but bigger than 35ft so we had enough room to live comfortably.

Because we had a very small budget we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford a sailboat that was fully fitted out and ready to go, so we had to factor in upgrades and maintenance that we would complete ourselves as and when we could afford to.

We bought our 38ft sailboat for under £30,000, which was one of the cheapest sailboats that was ‘ready to sail’ in the size and age range at the time. Just like houses, sailboats go and up and down in price based on demand, and in today’s market it is much harder to find a boat like this in that price range.

So now that you have a bit of context, let’s dive into the factors that affect the cost of a sailboat and some average prices below.

‍W hat Factors Affect The Cost Of A Sailboat?

cruising sailboat cost

Before buying a sailboat you will want to consider many different factors, such as what you want your sailboat for, where you intend to sail it and how many crew you are likely to have onboard.

You will want to look at the existing equipment onboard and make a list of extras you will need to fit in order to make it meet your requirements. These extra costs can quickly add up! You should also factor in any maintenance that needs to be done before you start sailing.

Let’s take a look at some of the main factors that impact the price of a sailboat.

New or Used

This is an obvious one. Used sailboats are a lot cheaper than brand new versions. Sailboats are similar to cars and lose their value over time, no matter how much work you put into them. The most common opinion is that new sailboats lose their value on a bell curve, and you will make the most of your investment if you sell a new boat within four years.

Buying a much older boat is cheaper initially, but may cost you ten fold in maintenance and upgrades if it hasn’t been looked after well by the previous owner. You should always use a well regarded surveyor before buying a sailboat to make sure you are paying a fair price.

Larger sailboats typically cost more than smaller ones. You can buy a small used sailing dinghy for around £1000, which will be suitable for hobby sailing for a few hours on lakes or close to shore in calm weather. This is a great option if you’re keen to learn to sail on a small budget.

Here are a few price comparisons on new boats of different sizes.

Average Prices Of 22ft yachts

  • Catalina 22 Sport:  $27,000 + VAT
  • Marlow Hunter 22:  $30,000 + VAT
  • Marblehead 22:  $84,000 + VAT

Average prices of 40ft – 45ft yachts

  • Lagoon 40:  $400,000 + VAT
  • Hanse 418:  $200,000 + VAT
  • Ovni 445:  $600,000 + VAT

Monohull or Multihull

cruising sailboat cost

With two engines, two hulls and a lot more space multihulls fetch a premium. In recent years they have become more popular than ever, and therefore they are a lot more expensive both new and used than monohulls. They are also more expensive to upkeep and more expensive to run.

Well-known, high-end brands often come with a higher price tag. As you can see from the chart above, even sailboats of the same or very similar size can vary hugely in price. This is partly down to the reputation of the brand and boat manufacturer. If the boat has the reputation of being of excellent build quality then it will undoubtedly demand a higher price tag!

Additional amenities and technology can increase the cost. If you’re buying a new boat then it will likely come with all the essentials like depth souder and wind gauge (or this may be something you will need to add on as an extra). Used boats will come with whatever they come with, which may mean outdated or broken equipment, or none at all.

When we bought our used boat we drew up a spreadsheet of all the equipment we considered essential and we added missing equipment onto the cost of the sailboat, so that we knew how much extra we would have to spend after purchase.

Some things, like our sailboat watermaker , might not be essential to others but have changed our lives aboard.

Even things like our lithium marine batteries would now be on our ‘essentials’ list, as they are so power and cost effective compared to the alternatives.

⚡ We use BattleBorn batteries and recommend them highly. You can check them out here. ⚡

A used sailboat may be less expensive, but will almost certainly require more maintenance and upkeep. You can tackle a lot of boat maintenance yourself with the help of YouTube sailing channels and a decent sailboat toolkit , and this will keep costs down considerably.

‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍Overall, it is important to carefully consider all factors and do thorough research before making a purchase decision for a sailboat

The Average Cost Of A New Cruising Sailboat

cruising sailboat cost

We’ve classed a cruising boat as one you could live on comfortably as a couple, so ranging from around 38ft to 50ft.

On average, a new cruising sailboat can cost anywhere from $100,000 to over $1 million . Some popular brands, such as Beneteau and Jeanneau, offer models in the $200,000 to $400,000 range.

Luxury cruising sailboats from well-known brands like Hanse or any catamarans can easily exceed $500,000.

Of course, the cost will also depend on the size and features of the boat. A smaller, basic cruising sailboat may be closer to $100,000 while larger boats with more amenities can easily surpass the million-dollar mark.

Keep in mind that these prices do not include additional expenses for maintenance and upkeep.‍‍

Here are some examples:

  • Beneteau Oceanis 40.1 : $300,000 + VAT
  • Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410 : $400,000
  • Amel 50:  $1,100,000 + VAT
  • Hallberg Rassy 57:  £1,400,000  VAT

Used Cruising Sailboat Prices

cruising sailboat cost

The cost of a used cruising sailboat will depend on factors such as age, condition, and previous ownership.

A well-maintained, newer model used sailing boat can range from $50,000 to over $200,000. Older boats or those in need of repairs may be less expensive, but require more investment in upkeep and maintenance. You could pick up a used 38ft sailboat for around $40,000, though it will likely need some attention before it is ready to sail.

It is important to thoroughly inspect a used sailboat before purchasing and factor in potential repair costs. As with buying a new boat, the cost of owning and maintaining a used sailboat should also be considered. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍

Overall, the price of a used cruising sailboat can vary greatly and it is hard to give an average price, but expect to pay around $50,000 to $100,000 and then extra for maintenance.

  • Tayana 37:  $30,000-90,000
  • Moody 44:  €60,000-100,000
  • Lagoon 380:  $150,000-350,000
  • Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 42:  $130,000-200,000
  • Ovni 445:  $300,000-500,000
  • Hans Christian 48:  $120,000-180,000

How Much Does A Small Sailboat Cost?

Small sailboats, also known as dinghies or day sailors, can range from around $10,000 to $50,000. This cost will depend on factors such as size, brand, and features.

Used small sailboats may be less expensive, but it is important to carefully consider the condition and potential repairs that may be needed. A well-maintained, newer model used dinghy or day sailor can range from $5,000 to $20,000. Again, small catamarans tend to be more expensive than monohulls.

In addition to the initial purchase cost, owning a small sailboat also includes expenses for storage, maintenance, and necessary gear and equipment.

  • Hobie 16:  $11,000 + VAT
  • Catalina 22 Sport:  $28,000 + VAT
  • Catalina 22:  $3,000-22,000
  • Cape Dory 25:  $2,000-10,000
  • Catalina 27:  $4,000-15,000
  • Bristol 27:  $3,000-10,000

How Do People Finance Sailboats?

cruising sailboat cost

Sailboats can be a major financial investment, and many people choose to finance their purchase through a loan from a bank or other lending institution. It is important to carefully consider the terms of the loan and make sure that monthly payments fit into one’s budget.

Some boat dealers may offer financing options or payment plans. However, it is important to thoroughly research these options and compare them with outside lenders before making a decision.

In some cases, people may also use savings or sell assets in order to pay for a sailboat.

In addition to the initial cost of purchasing a sailboat, it is important to also factor in expenses for maintenance, storage, insurance, and necessary gear and equipment. Owning a sailboat can be a rewarding experience, but it is important to carefully plan for all associated costs before making a financial commitment. ‍‍‍‍‍‍

You can find out the cost of owning a sailboat before you decide to buy, and don’t forget it is possible to make money living on a sailboat to keep the kitty topped up. ‍‍

Overall, the cost of owning a sailboat varies greatly and depends on personal preferences and budget. It is important to thoroughly research all financing options and consider the ongoing expenses before committing to a purchase.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Sailboat?

cruising sailboat cost

The cost of building a sailboat can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the boat. Hiring a professional to build a custom sailboat can range from $50,000 to over $200,000.

Alternatively, some people may choose to build their own sailboat with materials and tools. This option can be less expensive, but also requires considerable time and effort. The cost of building a sailboat oneself will also depend on the materials used and any necessary equipment or hired help.

Overall, the cost of building a sailboat is quite personal based on budget, sailing needs, and willingness to DIY or hire professionals. Remember that if you choose to build the boat yourself you will need a covered space big enough to do so, and a way to transport it to water when you’re finished. All these costs can add up considerably!

Where Is The Cheapest Place To Buy A Sailboat?

cruising sailboat cost

Prices can vary by region and market demand. When we were first looking for a sailboat we realised they were a lot cheaper in the US. The only problem with buying there was that we wouldn’t have been able to get a visa long enough to give us time to work on the boat before leaving the country.

Another top tip is to look for sailboats in places that are ‘jump off points’. For example, many people will cross the Atlantic and sell after achieving their dream of crossing an ocean, or reach the beginning of a daunting ocean crossing like Panama to cross the Pacific, and realise it’s something they don’t have an appetite for. There are also cheaper boats in more remote, harder to get to places.

Some people may choose to purchase their sailboat in a different country or region in order to find a lower price, but it is important to factor in any necessary transportation and import fees.

Keep an eye on prices of boats around the world to get a good idea of where you can snap up the best bargain.

Conclusion: How Much Do Sailboats Cost?

cruising sailboat cost

All in all, the cost of a sailboat can vary greatly depending on factors such as size, age, and whether it is purchased or built. It is important to thoroughly consider all financing options and ongoing expenses before making a commitment to purchase or build a sailboat.

Find out how much new sails cost as an example of something you might have to budget for when purchasing a new sailboat.

Ultimately, owning a sailboat can be a rewarding experience but careful planning is necessary for successful budgeting and enjoyment. ‍‍‍‍‍‍If you’re looking for more sailing or liveaboard tips then follow us on social media to stay up to date with our latest articles.

Happy sailing!

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10 New Cruising Sailboats Under 35 Feet

  • By Cruising World Staff
  • Updated: November 3, 2020

It wasn’t so long ago that 30- to 35-foot cruising sailboats were likely to be the largest yachts found in many a harbor. And while 40-something and even 50-something footers are all the rage at boat shows today, there’s a lot to be said for setting sail on a boat big enough to carry family and friends, but still small enough to be easily maintained and handled alone from time to time. Small cruising sailboats are simple to dock or tie up to a mooring, and finding long-term marina space is easier as well.

Choosing a cruising sailboat, no matter the size, is a big decision. And it helps to have a trusted list of boats to get started. Here, then, is a look at 10 of the best daysailers , weekenders and coastal cruising sailboats under 35 feet that are all in production and can be purchased new.

Alerion Sport 30

cruising sailboat cost

A quarter-century ago, Garry Hoyt launched what would come to be known as the daysailer genre with the introduction of the Alerion Express 28, a boat designed by the late Carl Schumacher that featured a minimal interior and a large cockpit where an owner and guests could enjoy the simple joy of sailing. Traditional and lovely looking—but with a quite modern underbody and a powerful sail plan—Hoyt, ever the marketer, proclaimed the boat to be “the prettiest girl at the dance.”

Since then, a number of siblings ranging from 20 to 41 feet have been added to the Alerion family, including the Alerion Sport 30, which retains the graceful sheer line, oval ports and stylish overhangs of the original Schumacher design. Yet with input from naval architect Langan Design Partners, it also embraces a solid measure of performance-oriented DNA.

Read more about the Alerion Sport 30 »

Bavaria Cruiser 34

cruising sailboat cost

In every Boat of the Year contest, it seems, a boat rises up after sea trials to make a lasting impression on the judges. For 2018, that boat was the Bavaria Cruiser 34.

Says Boat of the Year Judge Tim Murphy, “The Bavaria was a lovely boat to sail. It has a single rudder, and she answered her helm just beautifully in the conditions we had today. We started off with around 10 knots of breeze that built to 13 to 15 knots. As a sailboat, it was just a pleasurable sailing experience, among the best we had during our judging. It was among the boats that felt like a really happy sailing experience.

Read more about the Bavaria Cruiser 34 »

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1

Sailed as part of the 2020 Boat of the Year sea trials, the 31-foot-3-inch Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 was the compact yacht best-equipped and spec’d out as a dedicated cruising boat, and not coincidentally, it was also awarded the title of Best Performance Cruiser for 2020. But don’t let her cozy interior accommodations fool you; this is also one peppy little vessel.

Read more about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1 »

Dehler 34

The 2017 Boat of the Year (BOTY) contest featured a stellar crop of crossover cruiser/racers; however, when all the testing was said and done, our independent panel of judges was sold on the Dehler 34, naming it the year’s Best Performance Cruiser. Designed by the highly regarded Judel/Vrolijk naval-architecture consortium, whose reputation was fostered by longtime success in international yacht-racing circles, the 34-footer combined contemporary good looks and a sweet turn of speed with better-than-average comfort and accommodations below. It didn’t hurt that the boat, nicely equipped at $215,000, was the least-expensive entry in the entire 2017 fleet. All in all, it proved to be a winning formula.

Read more about the Dehler 34 »

Dufour Grand Large 360

cruising sailboat cost

Dufour Yachts introduced its new 360 Grand Large model to CW’s Boat of the Year team in 2018 as a coastal cruiser intended for a couple or perhaps a small family. With that in mind, judge Alvah Simon found numerous clever elements to praise within the boat’s 35-foot-2-inch hull—a relatively modest LOA compared to the many 40-, 50- and 60-footers on display at the U.S. Sailboat show in Annapolis, Maryland.

Read more about the Dufour Grand Large 360 »

cruising sailboat cost

After a roughly 10-year hiatus from the U.S. marketplace, the Slovenian builder Elan is back in a big way. For the 2017 Boat of the Year contest, the company launched a pair of new boats in the States, including the Elan E4, a 34-foot-9-inch performance cruiser with an emphasis on performing, designed by renowned British naval architect Rob Humphreys. The brand has been in business for seven decades and lately is perhaps even better known in America for its skis. Not surprisingly, given its complementary product lines—lots of sailors are fine skiers—its boats are as sleek and sporty as its boards.

Read more about the Elan E4 »

Grand Soleil 34

Grand Soleil 34

Way back in the 1970s, when the well-known Italian boatyard Grand Soleil was just getting started, its first model was a Finot-designed 34-footer. With over 300 units sold, it was an instant success, and launched the company on an upward trajectory that spanned the intervening decades, mostly with an ongoing series of much larger, more complex racer/cruisers. For 2020, the builder decided to return to its roots with a completely revamped Grand Soleil 34, and it’s a terrific boat.

Read more about the Grand Soleil 34 »

cruising sailboat cost

Value. How does one determine it? Price is most certainly a factor. In the case of new boats, and our Boat of the Year competition, it means something more. As sailors, we wish to recognize good boats that not only are affordable but offer other, tangible rewards. The ability to get couples and families out on the water, to have a weekend escape, to take them on coastal vacations and even maybe a sabbatical to the islands, all without breaking the bank. For 2019, the judging panel determined that one boat had the potential to do these things better than the rest, which is why they awarded the Best Value prize to the Hanse 348.

With a price tag under $200,000, during sea trials the Hanse 348 wowed the judging team from the get-go. “In only about 8 knots of breeze, we were seeing 5.7 knots upwind and pointing very nicely, and even registered 6.5 knots once we cracked off,” said Tim Murphy. “It’s a pretty sweet little boat.”

Read more about the Hanse 348 »

Italia 9.98

Italia 9.98

Of the performance cruisers that made their North American debut in 2020, in terms of sheer appearance, the futuristic 34-foot Italia 9.98 was easily the most distinctive. There are actually two versions of the boat: the 34 Club—which is the cruising alternative, the primary features of which are its twin wheels—and the 34 Fuoriserie—the racing model, and the one we tested, with its tiller steering being the identifying characteristic.

Read more about the Italia 9.98 »


Beginning with the popular little J/24 way back in 1977, J/Boats has become famous for its steady introduction of terrific racing and cruising boats, almost all of which shared one main characteristic: They sailed like a witch. More than four decades later, having built more than 50 separate, mind-boggling models, the Johnstone family that designs, markets and sells the brand shows no signs of slowing down. Their latest offering, for 2020, was another fast and fun racer/cruiser: the 32-foot-7-inch J/99.

Read more about the J/99 »

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How Much Does a Sailing Yacht Cost?

The real cost of owning a sailing yacht.

When looking to purchase a sailing yacht in the UK, there’s a number of things that you’ll need to consider before buying the boat of your dreams. Whether that be the manufacturer, age of the yacht, the components of the sails and the maintenance costs after buying the vessel, the sailing yacht cost can vary from as little as £5,000 right up to £5,000,000 (excluding super yachts).

In this sailor’s guide, we outline exactly what a sailing yacht is, factors that can influence the purchase cost, maintenance fees and where you can buy a sailing yacht in the UK.

What is a sailing yacht?

Factors that influence the purchase price of a sailboat, maintenance fees, where to buy a sailing yacht, how much does a sailing yacht cost – quick summary.

When purchasing a sailing yacht in the UK, make sure to consider factors like brand, model, age, size, location, and demand. A typical yacht price can range from £5,000 to £5,000,000, dependent on your specific requirements. Maintenance fees, including insurance, mooring, and equipment, can be 5-10% of the yacht’s value annually so is a vital factor to consider when you weigh up the costs of buying a sailing yacht. There is a range of expert yacht brokers at Clipper Marine that can assist you during your search for the perfect sailing yacht.

A sailing yacht or sailboat is a boat that’s main power source is the wind, which is captured by the mainsail and headsail to propel the boat forwards. The sails consist of the mainsail, headsail and spinnaker.

Sailing yachts can be typically measured at 10m in length, however some vessels can come in longer.

As with everything sailors buy, sailing yachts and sailboats are no different in that they can vary greatly in price.

Location and demand

Sailing yachts are often linked to the rich and famous who harbour their vessels off the coast of luxury harbours and whilst this has some truth to it, they are easily accessible for ‘ordinary’ people who want to explore a new hobby or pastime. Some sailing yachts are more expensive in certain locations across the globe (such as Monaco and Dubai ) because of mooring costs, the desirability to store and buy boats in certain marinas and sometimes the exchange rate. 

For example, those in the UK will be paying an average global rate for sailing yachts, whereas those in the Middle East will be buying their boat at a premium rate.

Brand and model

Sailing yachts and sail boats from leading brands such as Bavaria and Bali are always in demand and with newly released models each year, prices can go up and down depending on what brand and model you choose to purchase. Sailing yachts from industry-leading manufacturers like Beneteau can fetch anything up to £1,000,000 brand-new, whereas a used sailboat from a lesser-known brand such as Sabre can be as little as £5,000 so the purchase price can hugely differ depending on what manufacturer you choose to go with.

Age and size of the sailing yacht

Another factor that can influence the cost of a sailing yacht is the age and size of the vessel. Typically, new sailing yachts fetch a higher value than their used counterparts simply due to the age of the vessel, so you’ll need to consider whether you’re desperate to buy a new or used sailboat .

In addition to the age and condition of the yacht, the size of it can influence the cost too. A smaller boat like the Bali Catspace Sail will typically cost less compared to a larger vessel such as the Bavaria C57 . The size of a deck, how many cabins there are on-board, the living space, condition of the sails and other features on the yacht can push the price up as these tend to be more desirable among sailors.

Whilst the initial purchase price of a sailing yacht is a one-off payment, there are ongoing costs to keep your vessel in the best condition it can be. As a ball-park figure, it can cost 5% – 10% of the yacht’s total value each year to maintain, store, insure and run.

Typical yacht maintenance costs

  • Mooring costs
  • Maintenance costs of the yacht, equipment and sails
  • Travel costs
  • Wintering and dry dock
  • Extras and contingencies
  • Paying a fixed monthly fee

Here at Clipper Marine yacht brokerage , we have sales offices across the UK and Spain so you’re never far from purchasing your dream sailing yacht. The team here at Clipper Marine can help find the perfect sailboat for your exact requirements, whether that be from a prestigious brand like Bavaria and Bali, we have stock of sailing yachts across the UK and Spain .

If you’re considering buying a new or used boat , speak to one of our yacht brokers who can help further.

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Sailo's Boat Calculator

The Sailo Boat Calculator is a tool that allows you to explore, predict, and plan costs and revenues associated to boat ownership. The most important user inputs can be found on the left side of the Cost of Ownership tab. The calculator has built-in models that compute costs as a function of the information provided.

The calculator is organized in multiple tabs that show costs breakdown and allow for detailed customization. For example, the fuel cost tab computes fuel consumption based on the type and size of your boat, estimated HP, and average current gas prices. To make this calculation more accurate you can enter a more exact fuel consumption for your boat and more accurate local gas prices.

The last two tabs are probably the most interesting. The Charter Profit section estimates the income your boat can generate on a platform like Sailo based on charter rates and days rented. Of course we increase maintenance costs due to chartering based on the number of extra days on the water. The Rent vs Buy tab shows a comparison between renting and owning an identical boat to find which option is the most economical and by how much. Note: we assume identical fuel consumption and cost for both rental and personal use. Read more about it here .

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How Much Do New Sails Cost?

How Much Do New Sails Cost? | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Sails are one of the most important parts of your sailboats. They're your engine or essentially, what propels your sailboat. Buying a new one is, without a doubt, a hefty if not expensive investment. You should, therefore, learn all about different types of sails, how much they cost, and how to buy them.

Sails are one of the most important parts of a sailboat. In addition to propelling the boat, sails play an integral role in efficiency and safety when sailing. Having high-quality sails not only makes your boat heel less but can also prevent your sailboat from rounding up into the wind in gusts. It can also reduce weather helm, make steering a lot easier, make you go faster, and make sailing more enjoyable even when short handed. In short, proper sails will improve reliability, increase speed, and improve your boat's handling characteristics.

Unfortunately, sails do not last forever. They'll, at one point, wear out and you'll need to buy new ones. To make it even worse, new sails are a huge investment; one that you hope to never make any time soon. But how much do new sails cost? Well, let's find out in this guide.

The prices of buying new sails vary greatly depending on several factors such as your boat's length, sail material, quality of the fabric, and many others. For instance, a 24-feet Bermuda sloop can cost between $1,000 and $2,500 while sails on mid-sized boats can cost between $3,000 and $5,000. The price of a new sail will, of course, depend on how long the piece is.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the process of buying sails, their prices, and making sure that you do not make a costly mistake when buying new sails.

Table of contents

How Can You Know that Your Sails Have Had Their Best Days?

Although sails are quite expensive, they seem to last forever especially on cruising sailboats . Without the stresses of competition or a yardstick of measuring whether your sails are appropriate or inappropriate for racing, it can be a lot harder to tell if your sails have worn out and need to be replaced.

This can give you a false sense of security that your sails are still in a working condition. So how do you know that your sails have had their day and what's the best time to upgrade to new sails? Well, you can know that your sails are worn out if they become saggy and dangerously long in the tooth or if they can no longer drive you upwind off a lee shore. If anything, you shouldn't wait until a self-destruct moment to buy new sails.

In essence, you should know that it's the right time to change the sails if it doesn't make economic sense to service or repair them. You should also change the sails if they absolutely refuse to work when you're trying to trim. This is because the sailcloth will break down or become extremely elastic to the point that you can no longer apply enough force to the corners or on the edges even when sailing in light winds.

How to Assess the Structural Strength and Damage of Your Existing Sails

When assessing the structural strength and damage of your existing sails, it's essential to know areas that are prone to tear and wear. While you should inspect every area of the sails you should put a lot of emphasis on the inboard batten pocket, the leech, and spreader patches.

You should also remember that stitching on your sails will get damaged by the sun and chafe long before the material itself. And because buying new sails is a huge investment, you should consider re-stitching the damaged parts if it means extending the sail's life. So how can you know that the stitches are damaged? Well, just rub your thumbnail along with the stitches. If you can pull them out easily, then they're weak and should be re-stitched. It would be appropriate to do it at an early stage to prevent it from becoming worse.

You can also assess the leech and see if it's in a working condition. You can do this by trying to poke your thumbnail into the weave fabric. If it's possible to poke the weave fabric, then it's in a bad state. That's not all; you should as well assess batten pockets for any form of damage or any worn-out patches on the sail.

As we noted earlier, you should know that your existing sails have seen their best day if they don't make any financial sense to repair or service them.

Different Types of Sails

When buying new sails, it's important to have even the slightest idea of the mainsail types. There are four main types of sails.

Mainsails - These include mizzen on yawls and ketches. They're the main driving force and should be fitted with anything ranging between one and four reefs.

Foresails - These include genoas, jibs, and can be used on cutter-rigged boats. Most boats have a single roller curling foresail. However, some have single-standing sails that are designed in different shapes and sizes but optimized for varying wind strengths. For example, you can use larger foresails when the winds are stronger and smaller foresails when the winds are somehow calmer.

Downwind Sails - These are symmetric and asymmetric spinnakers, as well as code zeros, and cruising chutes.

Storm and Heavy Weather Sails - These are storm jibs and trysails that are essential for safety, especially if you're often sailing offshore and may encounter challenging conditions. Given that reefing genoas have incompetent shapes especially when extremely reefed in heavy winds, it's recommended to have a smaller but heavier weather jib. This can be set as part of a removable inner forestay. In essence, this can be a crucial addition to your sail suit.

Choosing Sail Materials

The type of sail material that you choose when buying a new sail is another crucial thing to consider. Nearly two decades ago, the only viable option for sail material was woven Dacron. As such, the only thing to consider in terms of sail material was the grade of the woven Dacron. Sailors could choose between more durable but stiffer woven Dacron meant for cruising and a stiff, highly-resinated material used for racing.

Things, however, have changed recently thanks to technological advances. There is a wide range of sail materials with each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Let's look at the available sail materials.

Woven Dacron - This is not only one of the most durable sail materials but remains the least expensive option. The only downside is that it tends to lose shape quickly and may not retain the appropriate shape even when there's still more life left in the material.

Keep in mind that Dacron materials aren't made the same. There are Dacron materials meant for cruising sailboats . They generally use materials with the permeated finish. This is done by soaking the material in glue to bind the yarns together. Although this ensures that the material is softer and more long-lasting, the material will stretch more in strong winds, especially when it's still new.

On the other hand, there are Dacron materials used in racing sailboats. They're usually coated with a hard melamine finish to reduce stretch.

Hydrant Woven - These materials incorporate Dyneema fibers on the sails. This is fundamental in increasing resistance to substances such as ultraviolet degradation and chafe while also increasing durability and endurance. That's not all; the Dyneema fibers are known to help the sails maintain their original shape.

Laminate Sails - These are designed with load-bearing structural fibers that are crammed between two sheets of Mylar film. Several types of fibers such as carbon, polyester, Kevlar, and Twaron can be used.

However, the cost of fibers such as polyester and carbon tend to be expensive, which means that these sails might be a little costly. These materials can retain their original shape longer than other materials but have the shortest lifespan. But to increase durability, sailmakers do add taffeta layers on both sides but you may have to deal with a heavier and costly material.

String/Membrane Sails - These are molded in one piece using fibers that are aligned by following the exact load paths in the sail. These fabrics are effectively custom made and reinforced in the right places not just to maintain their original shapes but also to ensure that they remain durable.

Keep in mind that these materials are high-end products that can be costly and are mostly used in racing sailboats. This doesn't, however, mean you can't use them on your cruising sailboat . In fact, these sails are very appropriate for long voyages.

To this end, an appropriate sail material should be able to offer extraordinary durability and desirable shape retention. These are two important features to look for when buying new sails for your boat. So when buying new sails, make sure that you ask about the above-mentioned features as well as the weight of the material. Although woven Dacron is the standard material for sails, you can choose from other materials too as long as they suit your specific needs. More importantly, make sure that the prices and quality are within your specific and reasonable budget.

The Weight of the Material and Additional Extras

The weight of material used in making your sails may seem like a minute factor but it's of great importance. The idea here is that heavier material will generally be stronger and last longer. This should, therefore, depend on what you actually need but a heavier material will make the sail heavier.

In terms of additional extras, you should make sure that you ask what comes with the sails. For example, do they come with bags that can be of any use to you when out there on the water? This can be of great importance if you want to buy headsails that must be carried to the deck and hooked up. If this is the case, the bag should be bigger and longer to make carrying and transporting the headsail a lot easier.

You can also ask for boom covers. These are essential in protecting mainsails from various substances, especially when not in use. In essence, these extras are important in preserving and maintaining the life and conditions of your new sails. You should, thus, take advantage when negotiating for the new sails as it is these extras that sailmakers are willing to give out if it means making a sale.

How to Buy New Sails

Here is how to buy new sails.

Have Your Boat's Measurements

One of the most important factors that when buying new sails is your boat length. This is because the sail area is mostly determined by the boat length. If your sailboat is of popular design, the sailmaker may have enough information to make the right sail size. But if your boat is not that popular, you can take a few measurements to make it a lot easier for the sailmaker when giving you a quote. In most cases, you'll be given a form to fill in the information that the sailmaker needs in terms of measurements or anything else that might be of importance when choosing the right sails for your boat.

How Do You Want to Use the Sails?

It's very important to consider the type of sailing you're planning to do with your new sails. In most cases, there should be a fine balance between conflicting elements. For instance, the sails should be easy to handle, durable, and cost-effective. But to maintain this balance, you should always have an idea of what you want to use the boat for or how you'll be using the boat. For example, how often will you be sailing? Are you planning for long voyages? How many people do you usually sail with? Do you pick your sailing days or go out on the water irrespective of the weather?

Focus on the Detail

Do you want asymmetrical sails, symmetrical sails, or storm jibs? Are you planning to upgrade to roller reefing or will you go for a cruising chute? You should make the right choices in terms of design and the type of sail that you want. Keep in mind that more sophisticated designs such as tri-radial and bi-radial designs may be a little expensive. All in all, make sure that you put a lot of emphasis on buying sails that optimize the performance of your boat.

Choose the Right Fabric and Design

In addition to choosing the right fabric for the sails, you should make sure that the new mainsails have the right number of reefs. Ensure that each of the reefs is deep enough. You should as well decide whether to go with long or short battens.

If you're planning to use your sailboat for racing, mainsails with short battens could be the best option. This is because short battens offer more control in terms of speed, maneuverability, and acceleration. On the other hand, long battens are the best option for cruising sailboats as they are more durable even though they may come at an extra cost.

Generally, sails are often sold with standard two reefs but three reefs would be ideal for offshore sailing. This is to make it easier for you to reduce the sails to appropriate sizes in heavy weather or stormy conditions. The third reef will be essential in reducing the luff length by at least 40%. Again, you can choose sails with four reefs if you're planning to go for long voyages as this will eradicate the need to have trysails.

Compare Quotes

It's important to talk to a number of sailmakers to compare different designs and prices. The designs should be similar but prices will vary from design to design. You should, therefore, compare the prices of similar designs. You should also ask the sailmakers for detailed info on their designs and how much each design would cost you.

Estimated Costs for Different Boat Lengths

As we noted earlier, the costs of new sails will not only depend on the type of material and designs of the sails but also on the length of your sailboat. Let's highlight the estimated costs.

The Estimated Costs of Replacing a Jibs and Genoas

  • Sails for boats measuring 42' to 50' can cost around $5,500-$9,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 36' to 42' can cost around $4,000-$7,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 32' to 36' can cost around $3,000-$5,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 24' to 32' can cost around $2,500-$4,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 18' to 24' can cost around $1,000-$2,500

The Estimated Costs of Replacing Mainsails on Bermuda Sloop Rigs

  • Sails for boats measuring 42' to 50' can cost around $2,500-$4,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 36' to 42' can cost around $2,000-$3,000
  • Sails for boats measuring 32' to 36' can cost around $1,500-$2,500
  • Sails for boats measuring 24' to 32' can cost around $1,000-$1,500
  • Sails for boats measuring 18' to 24' can cost around $650-$1,200

It's important to note that these are estimated costs that should give you an idea of what to expect when buying new sails. It would, however, be appropriate to get a quote from a professional sailmaker, and most of them are willing to help.

The Aging Process of Your Sails

Whether you've just bought new sails or still using the old ones, the aging process of sails may depend on several factors such as the materials used, the type of use you subject them to, and the level of care you give them. That being said, it's almost impossible to accurately determine the lifespan of your sails based on the number of miles you've covered on the water or the number of years you've used the sails.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the shapes of the sails will change gradually without you realizing it. You should, therefore, check regularly to see if there are changes in the shapes of your sails. You can also take photos occasionally to determine the changes in shape over time.

This can be a great way of assessing not just the shapes of your sails but also in monitoring both the performance and the type of handling that new sails will provide. The idea is that new sails cannot instantly move from good to bad. They'll stretch as they age and this can lead to change in shapes. When your sails lose shape, they will not point well and steering will become difficult. This will, in turn, make your boat to drag, increase heel, and ultimately reduce speed.

Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Sails

Although sails can last a long time, they'll not last forever. Replacing your older sails with new ones will instantly increase the speed and handling capabilities of your boat. Here's how you can prolong the lifespan of your new sails and protect your sail investment.

  • Do not expose your sails to unnecessary sunlight and heat
  • Motor your sails down if they cannot be filled or if they are not in use
  • Avoid extended flogging and luffing
  • Use the appropriate halyard tension
  • Protect your sails from chafe
  • Take off the sails when not in use
  • Rinse the sails with fresh water from time to time
  • Dry the sails before storing

It's a known fact that sails don't last forever. While it's difficult to exactly determine how long the sails will last, it's a good idea to replace your sails before they become severely stretched and out of shape. Using old or worn-out sails can make a huge difference in the way your boat sails and handles. Just like you'd replace worn-out tires or an old engine on your car, replacing worn out sails with new ones will improve how your boat sails. This will give you a greater sense of control and going out on the water will be more fun.

Unfortunately, buying new sails can be a costly endeavor. That's why you should be well prepared and armed with lots of information when buying new sails. In addition to having in mind what new sails would cost you, you should know how to choose the right material for the sails and the type of sails that can be perfect for your sailing.

Don't wait until you experience serious structural failure with older sails to buy new ones.

Related Articles

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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cruising sailboat cost

How much does a boat cost to purchase and own?

Images by GettyImages; Illustration by Hunter Newton/Bankrate

Key takeaways

  • A boat from the last 10 years of models costs an average of $47,000, while basic models can run around $1,000 or less and yachts can go into the millions of dollars.
  • Annual maintenance for the boat costs 10 percent of the boat price on average, but you’ll also have to consider other costs like insurance, storage/mooring, fuel, registration and repairs, as some examples.
  • Make sure to choose the boat that works for your budget, usage needs and lifestyle.
  • You can find financing through boat, personal or dealership loans.

If you love cruising the open waters, fishing or just docking-and-dining, buying a boat may seem like a great idea. While boat costs vary significantly, you can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $75,000 for the average new vessel, and upwards of $100,000 for a more luxurious model.

Taking out a boat loan can make it easier for you to finance your purchase. However, there is more to the cost of owning a boat than the initial price tag. You must also consider the maintenance costs, boat insurance, fuel costs and potential taxes.

How much does a boat cost?

Boat prices can vary widely depending on if it’s new or what used condition it is in. The type of boat can also affect price drastically. Plus, market conditions can affect boat pricing, much like cars.

For instance, according to J.D. Power , the average retail price of the previous 10 model years for outboard boats was about $47,000 at the end of 2023. At the end of 2021, it was about $53,500. Meanwhile, the last ten model years for inboard boats saw an average price of about $350,000 at the end of 2023, down about $20,000 from two years prior.

How does the type of boat I get impact costs?

The cost of owning a boat differs widely depending on type. For instance, a larger boat will naturally have higher fuel costs to run. Storing a larger boat may also be more complex and costly.

The more expensive and feature-heavy your boat, the more it will cost to insure it. For instance, Nationwide states that faster boats often cost more to insure due to the increased risk. The length, age and type of the boat can also affect how much insurance the boat needs. Your insurance can even be dependent on where you use the boat. Lakes, bays, oceans and rivers all present different safety risks.

Further, a larger and more technologically complex boat could mean higher maintenance and repair costs. There are simply more parts that could break.

Bigger and more expensive boats may also require larger loans and longer loan terms to afford. You will pay more in interest to finance the boat in the long run.

Average boat prices in 2024

Jon boats are among the most cost-effective boat models, while yachts and catamarans are among the most expensive ones.

Affording a boat

The best time to buy a boat is typically in the fall. Most manufacturers start advertising discounts in September or October and continue to do so into the winter months. Purchasing your boat during the off-season could help you cut costs significantly and take on less or no debt.

Even if you find a boat at a discounted price or buy the boat used , you may need help financing it. After all, midsized boats often cost around $30,000, which isn’t exactly pocket change. If you need to borrow money to cover the cost of your boat, there are several options.

The most popular ways to finance your boat are through a boat loan, a personal loan or financing through a dealership.

  • Boat loan: These personal loans are designed specifically with purchasing a boat in mind. They typically come with fixed rates so you make the same boat loan payment each month and may use the boat itself as collateral if the loan is secured.
  • Personal loan : These fixed-rate installment loans can be used for any purpose, including purchasing a boat. Personal loans tend to be unsecured, so you may not have to use the boat as collateral.
  • Dealership loan : These are boat loans that are offered right through a dealership and are convenient because you don’t have to choose your own boat loan lender . However, they may have higher rates , longer terms and require a larger down payment.

Other boat costs to consider

When you buy a boat, you have to consider boat costs like maintenance, potential repairs and the cost of fueling and operating a boat.

Additional costs associated with boat ownership include the cost of storing your boat, the cost of a trailer, safety necessities and miscellaneous items such as water sports equipment.

Boat maintenance and repair costs

Typically, annual boat maintenance costs about 10 percent of the cost of the boat itself. For example, a boat that cost $20,000 to purchase would cost roughly $2,000 a year to maintain.

Examples of typical boat maintenance include:

  • Painting the hull.
  • Cleaning the deck.
  • Replacing broken or worn down parts.
  • Winterizing the boat to protect it from the elements during the off-season.

Like cars, boats require regular maintenance to reduce wear and tear.

Fuel and operating costs

You must also consider fuel costs, especially if you have a larger boat. Smaller boats typically just take regular or premium gasoline, while larger vessels may require diesel, which is more expensive.

You can avoid fuel costs if you get a sailboat, which is entirely wind-powered, but most other boats require fuel. You should research the fuel needs of the boat you want to buy before making a purchase.

Additional operating costs for a boat include oil changes, batteries, a pump and lights. Just like a vehicle, these elements should be checked and replaced regularly.

Boat insurance, taxes, certifications and registrations

When you buy a boat, you also have to get boat insurance, get your boat registered and potentially get certified to drive it, depending on the state you live in. Some states also charge boat taxes, so research your local requirements before buying a boat.Here is a breakdown of these costs:

  • Boat insurance: It typically costs around 1 to 5 percent of the boat’s value. So, using the example above, the average annual cost of insurance for a $20,000 boat would be between $200 and $1,000 a year.
  • Boat taxes: They are required in some states. If your state charges a boat tax, you will have to pay it once a year. There may also be a one-time sales tax when you purchase.
  • Certifications and registration: Depending on state requirements, you may need to pay for boat registration, including annual renewal. Your state may also require that you take safety certification courses to operate the boat.

Boating classes

In addition to the certification courses your state may require, you can take a wide variety of boating classes. Formal training with your boat may help lower your insurance payments, but you will also have to budget for course fees. It can be a good investment. Knowing as much as possible about using the boat helps keep you or anyone you take on the boat safe.

If you take boating safety courses through your state or the federal government, fees often range from about $10 to $40 per class.

Beyond introductory and basic safety courses, you might also look into specialized training. You can find courses on navigation, GPS use or waterfowl hunting safety. You might also need specialized training based on the type of boat you get, such as a sailing course if you get a sailboat.

Specialized boating courses might range from $45 from a single-day, online course to far more for a curriculum that’s weeks long. There is also the option for private courses that can happen right on your own boat, but these can run around $500 for a few hours.

Storage and mooring

An important but often overlooked element of owning a boat is properly storing it. Most people do not use their boat year-round, and you have to have somewhere to store your boat during the winter months.

There are a variety of boat storage options . Indoor storage is more expensive because it offers tighter security and you do not have to worry about winterizing the boat to protect it from the elements. Outdoor storage is more cost-effective and can be more convenient in certain climates, but since your boat will be exposed, you’ll likely spend more on maintenance to keep it in good shape.

Storing your boat in your garage or driveway is likely the cheapest option. However, you will likely have to buy a trailer and winterize the boat. Note that Homeowners Associations sometimes have rules about parking boats in driveways, so make sure you are allowed to do so before settling on this option.

Here is a pricing breakdown of the most common boat storage options:


In order to get your boat to the water, you need to have a boat trailer and a vehicle that can tow it, such as a truck. These costs can vary depending on the size of your boat.

A boat trailer can range from $700 to over $10,000. In addition to a trailer and a towing vehicle, you must invest in your boat’s required safety equipment. These include:

  • A fire extinguisher.
  • Enough life jackets for every passenger.
  • A flotation device.
  • A visual signaling device.
  • A sound signaling device.

The exact safety equipment you need can vary by state, but these are the basics.

Having a medical kit and flashlight is also a good idea. Depending on the size of your boat, you may want paddles on board in case your engine quits.

Additional cost considerations

Once you buy your boat, there will inevitably be accessories you want to splurge on that aren’t strictly required.

You may want to invest in water sports equipment, dry bags to keep your valuables safe, waterproof electronics, fishing equipment or other items that make boating more pleasurable. Before shopping, set a budget to limit your spending.

Tips for saving money on boat costs

If you really want to spend your weekends out on the water but don’t have the funds for luxury boating, there are some ways you can reduce boat costs:

  • If you find yourself strapped for cash, consider a smaller boat like a jon boat, fishing boat or speedboat.
  • To reduce the cost of owning a boat, consider buying a used boat in good condition. For instance, a new current-year Tahoe T16 bowrider is about $27,000. The same model a few years older is about $19,000.
  • Buy the boat off-season in fall or winter.
  • If you’re taking out a loan, shop around for the best rates, even if that means not taking the loan from the dealership.
  • You can also avoid paying interest on a loan by saving for the boat. It’s a luxury purchase and not an emergency. Some split the cost with friends or family and share the boat.
  • Use your local state programs for courses and certifications. They tend to be much more affordable than private lessons.
  • Work with your insurance for any discounts, such as getting better rates if you take a boater safety course. A clean boating record can mean cheaper insurance. Choose the types of coverage, limits and deductibles that make sense for your boat and budget.
  • If you can, store the boat somewhere on your own property to save on marina or storage fees.
  • Keep up on regular boat maintenance and care to reduce the risk of costly repairs.
  • Consider fuel costs. Larger boats may need more expensive diesel fuel. If you want to really save on fuel, opt for a sailboat.
  • See if you can get boat accessories and equipment, such as trailers, used and in good condition or on sale.
  • Renting a boat can get you out on the water without the added costs of storage and upkeep.

The bottom line

Buying a boat is an exciting adventure, but it is also costly and time-consuming. There are so many extra boat costs beyond the buying price. You must stay on top of maintenance and repairs to keep your investment ship-shape.

Before buying a boat, consider all these costs and write a cost estimate/yearly budget. It is important to ensure you can handle all of the costs associated with having a boat before buying one.

Choosing a financing option like a boat loan, personal loan, or dealership financing could help you plan some of the costs. However, you can avoid taking out a loan by saving up instead, buying a used boat for a lesser cost or splitting the cost and sharing the boat with a trusted friend or family member. You might also look into renting a boat if owning a boat is too expensive.

Whichever option you choose, make sure that you do your research and come up with a plan before making any decisions.

How much does a boat cost to purchase and own?

Here are the documents and costs to keep in mind when planning a cruise

cruising sailboat cost

As I made plans this summer to take a cruise, I worked my way through my pre-travel checklist. I booked my flights, researched ground transportation options and selected a hotel for the night before boarding.

But I had yet to tick one important box: renewing my expired passport .

I had not traveled internationally since the pandemic began and needed a deadline to motivate me, so shortly before my  sailing from the Netherlands to New York , I filled out the application, paid the fees, and did a quick photo shoot at my local Walgreens.

Passports are just one of the documents travelers may need when taking a cruise, which can add to the overall cost of a trip. Here's what travelers should have on hand and what costs they might encounter before and during their trip:

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What documents will travelers need to board a cruise?

The U.S. State Department recommends cruise passengers sailing from America have a passport.

U.S. citizens booked on closed-loop cruises – those that start and end at the same U.S. port – can enter the country with a government-issued photo ID and birth certificate instead, but the State Department encourages having a passport "in case of an emergency, such as an unexpected medical air evacuation or the ship docking at an alternate port," according to its website . Cruise lines may also require it.

Denise Jewell, owner of Opulence Travel Agency, also recommends having a passport, even on closed-loop cruises, in case you don't make it back to the ship in time during a stop.

"It'll be much easier to deal with the locals if you have a passport as opposed to a birth certificate," Jewell said.

If travelers need to apply for or renew a passport, "the sooner you get started the better," said Danny Genung, CEO of travel agency Harr Travel. He suggested beginning that process as soon as you book your trip, even if it's a year in advance.

"This is one of the big pain points and stress points of travel if you wait too long," Genung said.

Even travelers who have procrastinated, though, may not be out of luck. I mailed my passport renewal application on Sept. 7 and paid about $208 in fees overall, including expedited service. I received my new passport on Oct. 3, about two weeks before my trip.

What costs will travelers encounter while taking a cruise?

Many costs associated with a cruise are included in the fare travelers pay when they book. "I think one of the things I would point out is, spending money on a cruise ship is a choice," said Genung, noting that he has been on many cruises and spent nothing additional except on gratuities. However, with mainstream cruise lines, there are generally some key expenses to keep in mind (on luxury lines, many of these costs are likely to be included in the fare).

►  Taxes, fees and port expenses : In addition to the fare, travelers must pay taxes, fees and port expenses, said Brigitte Feinberg, a travel adviser and independent affiliate of Avenue Two Travel. Those can vary based on the specifics of your trip.

► Gratuities: On mainstream lines such as Royal Caribbean International, Feinberg said, gratuities are automatically added to travelers' bills on a per person, per day basis. 

Those prices can vary. Royal Caribbean  charges $16 per guest each day staying in non-suite staterooms, and $18.50 for those in suites, while Carnival Cruise Line applies a $14.50 daily charge per passenger for non-suite rooms, and $16.50 for guests in suites, according to their websites.

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Guests can prepay those gratuities, so they "don't have to worry about that bill at the end of the cruise," Feinberg said, or pay them as part of the final bill. Passengers can also adjust the gratuities up or down, though Feinberg does not recommend the latter.

She added that some guests also bring cash to tip crew members directly who "went above and beyond" during the trip.

► Some food and drinks:  While much of the food is included on mainstream lines, some restaurants and items may cost extra.

On my October Holland America Line cruise, I visited specialty restaurants with prices ranging from $19 to $49 per person, plus an 18% gratuity.

Lines such as Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line also include basic drinks like iced tea and regular coffee while charging for others. Genung said, "in a lot of cases there's good value" in pre-purchasing specialty dining or beverage packages.

► Shore excursions:  On mainstream cruise lines, Feinberg said, excursions are not included either. "Yes, the room's only $300 for a week, but by the time you're all said and done you're going to be spending a lot more than that," she said.

She said excursions can run from $50 to hundreds of dollars per person.

Most cruise lines have promotional sales on excursions and other packages before the cruise, Genung said, which can offer "significant savings," particularly for families traveling together.

"I have two little kiddos myself, and it's a lot more expensive to travel than when it was just my wife and I," he said. "So, you know, when you multiply an unexpected cost times four, or five or six, it gets pretty exponential."

► Wi-Fi:  Many cruise lines charge extra for Wi-Fi, but the price may depend on your needs.

Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, sells both basic and premium options for one, two, and four devices, starting at $25.50 per day if guests purchase online and about $30 per day if they purchase on board, according to its website . The line also sells a 250-minute option.

Genung noted that it is almost always cheaper to purchase the internet prior to boarding than it is after getting on the ship.

► Laundry:  Depending on the length of the sailing, travelers may run out of clean clothes as I did on my October transatlantic cruise.

Like many mainstream lines,Holland America offered laundry services with several options, to choose from. I picked the Laundry By the Bag package, which cost $30 for as many clothes as I could fit in a bag the line placed in my stateroom closet.

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There was also an Unlimited Pressing package for $75 and an Unlimited Laundry option for $135, including pressing, both for the duration of the sailing, according to an info sheet in my stateroom.

Feinberg noted that some cruise lines also have laundry rooms where guests can wash and dry their own clothes, such as Carnival, which charges $3.50 for each washer load, and $3.50 per dryer load, according to its website .


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