We recently had a Patreon ask us what we thought the hidden costs were when buying a sailboat. Oh goodness, there is always something to spend money on. So the list could go on forever but let's talk about a few lessons we've learned here.
When we purchased the Lazy Gecko we used cash and bought her for $39,000. We didn't have a ton of money past that, we figured we'd get our foot in the door and then figure it out then. It worked out for us but there were associated costs. We'll put a few in bullet form:
- A survey. The survey was about $500 or so. You'll need this to buy the boat and to get insurance to cover the boat. So plan on it!
- Zincs. When hauling a boat out (even if you don't end up buying the boat), the person having the survey completed is responsible for replacing the zincs. No idea why...
- Insurance. When you buy the boat, you'll need to insure it. If you pay the boat off, this is easy! We paid under $100 a year for the Lazy Gecko. Calypso has cost us from $9,000 to $18,000 per year to insure. This is a MAJOR deal that needs considered. Insurance for boating is crazy now. Plus most limit where you can even go!
- Marina fees. Now you own your boat! Time to start a monthly payment for the spot that you keep it. This ranges depending on how large the boat is. We see a lot of boats, some that are nice, get left at anchor. Obviously trying to save money but now you risk an event like theft, dragging into something, etc...Why even have a boat if you're going to just leave it out there to rot?
- Maintenance Costs. We've done plenty of posts about the cost of maintenance. You can do minimal work and not spend a lot or you can try to stay on top of it and end up spending a lot. It's up to you and how you want to maintain the boat.
Now you have your boat, you've moved aboard and are ready to cast off! Let's talk about some costs associated with cruising away from land.
- Cruising costs. Misc fees for customs entries, etc are all part of cruising. Each place will need a little money from you. Especially if you have a dog. Having a dog onboard quickly became our largest financial responsibility as we cruised through the islands.
- Fuel. Obviously you'll need to fuel up here and there. Sailboats get much better GPH then a motor vessel so this isn't too bad. Our Volvo Pentas each burn 3/4 of a gal of diesel per hour.
- Have a car? If you kept your car then now you'll need to store it. Prepping it to store and paying for the space is all part of it.
- Did you sell everything? And I mean everything! Because if not, you'll need to store anything you have left. This can easily reach the $500 a month range and more. Big expense there for nothing.
- Internet/Data/Phone - If you need to work through the internet or want to keep a phone going that will be a cost. At one point we received a bill from Verizon for $2000 because the dang phones would repeatedly connect as we sailed by islands and they'd charge us each time. This can by much less with some proper planning but again, a $100 a month maybe for limited data maybe? More if you need a lot of data.
And of course there is routine maintenance.
- Routine Stuff. Every year or two you'll need to haul out and paint the bottom plus other tasks. This can be very expensive but you can help with that cost if you do the work yourself. Plus it will probably be a better job once complete. Still plan on at least a couple thousand dollars each time.
There are so many things to spend on out here...Now, there are people cruising without spending too much. Are their boats in the best shape? I'd imagine some aren't even safe to be out on the water but they're doing it. So it all depends on how you want to do it!