How Much Does a Boat Cost?

How Much Does a Boat Cost

Owning a boat allows you to take your own private escape anytime you want. It’s a wonderful investment if you want to get your daily dose of sunshine and water throughout the boating season.

For many boat owners, boating is more than recreation; spending time on the water provides more tranquility and calmness than many other pursuits. Plus, there’s so much you can do while you’re out on your boat. You can go fishing or skiing, swim with your family, or simply sit there and admire the sunset with a nice cold beer.

However, buying a boat is a hefty decision. It’s not something you’ll want to take lightly. Your expenses do not end once you’ve bought your dream boat, but you’ll need to consider the upfront purchase costs as well.

Even when you’re on a break and not using your boat, it can quickly turn into a financial burden. Insurance, fuel, storage fees, and other expenses can pile up. It’s also costly to maintain and comes with expensive accessories.

If you’re still on the fence about buying a boat, make sure to first decide how you want to use the boat and the type of boat you want to get. Then, consider how much money you are willing to shell out. Planning this venture in advance may help you manage your expenditures.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy a Boat?

How Much Does It Cost To Buy a Boat

Since boats come in various types, styles, sizes, and material construction, determining the average prices of boats may be difficult. A simple inflatable boat, for example, may cost you around $150. But if you wish to have a floating lodge that draws tourists, you can expect to pay a very hefty sum.

For some who aspire to have their own boat at a reduced price, a used vessel would be a viable option. Depending on the type, you could get used boats around the $10,000 to $200,000 range. You may also get an even cheaper deal if you buy it from a private reseller.

However, the price you have to pay for buying a boat is only the tip of the iceberg.

How Much Does a Boat Cost: General Prices

To give you an idea of how much new and used boats may cost, I looked into different boats from Jon boats and catamarans to the most magnificent and costly yachts, and evaluated the potential pricing points for each boat type.

Keep in mind that these figures are only estimates. Prices will still vary based on many factors, which I’ll discuss later in this article. These prices also may or may not include trailers.

Boat TypeAverage Boat Price Range (New)Average Boat Price Range (Used)
Airboats$40,000 – $100,000$5,000 – $40,000 
Bowrider Boats$15,000 – $50,000$10,000 – $25,000
Catamarans$10,000 – $30,000$6,000 and up
Pontoon Boats$15,000 – $65,000$8,000 – $12,000
Sail Boats$80,000 and up$20,000 and up
Speed Boats$75,000 and up$20,000 and up
Cabin Cruiser Boats$250,000 – $500,000$100,000
Cuddy Cabin Boats$50,000 and up$20,000 – $30,000
Canal Boats$100,000 and up$50,000 and up
Deck Boats$20,000 – $50,000$10,000
Fishing Boats$25,000 to $100,000$5,000 – $10,000
Jon Boats$500 to $3,000$100 – $750
Trawlers$90,000 and up$15,000 and up
Yachts$250,000 and up$150,000

Factors That Determine Boat Price

Factors That Determine Boat Prices

A number of factors can influence a boat’s price. One of the first things you must do is to consider the purpose of your boat. How are you going to use it? Do you have the budget to get a new boat or you’d rather opt for a used one?

Generally, buying a boat from a private party will often be less expensive than buying through a dealership or marina.

The price can also vary depending on the time of the year. During the off-season, you may expect a change in price for the same boat you’ve been eyeing in the full-swing. And depending on the boat you want, the changes in price can be hundreds of dollars in difference.

Several other factors affecting boat prices include the boat’s condition (used or new), features, size, and style. Keeping these things in mind will help you plan a budget for your dream boat.

Used Boat vs. New Boat

If you’ve decided that you want to buy a boat, you’ll perhaps contemplate whether to buy a new or used boat. Whichever you pick, it’s important to note that both have their set of pros and cons.

Used boats can definitely save you money. However, sometimes you don’t know the entirety of the boat’s history, and you could end up spending a lot more on repair costs. This will vary depending on the degree of care provided by the previous owner.

Buying a used boat is sure to be a viable option if you’re on the lower end of the budget spectrum. Used boats are particularly ideal if you have the technical skills to do the repairs yourself. Being able to do the maintenance will even save you more.

New boats, on the other hand, would be the route you may want to go if you have the money. The best thing about buying a new boat is that it saves you time and repair costs. However, it does not exempt you from spending normal maintenance such as oil changes.

Size and Style

Just like cars, boats come in a range of sizes and styles. Before finalizing your decisions, consider how you’re going to use it in the long term.

Hosting a large number of people? Then you have to make sure that your boat has enough space. If you’ll mostly only bring around 4 people, spending a fortune on a boat with 10 seats will be unnecessary.

For the sizes, obviously, larger boats tend to be pricier than smaller ones. If you prefer the 24-foot boat over the 22-foot model, you can expect that the base model will most certainly cost more. But if you’re a first-time boat owner, suitable boats will most often be 15 to 18 feet in length with a small engine.

When it comes to style, boats boasting cabins and covered cockpits are likewise more probably costing more than open-top vessels. A more confined space means a more expensive boat.

Considering the size and style of boat you want to have, you must always remember to buy one based on your degree of experience. For first-time owners, don’t just buy a big boat and expect that you’ll eventually grow into it. Operating a larger boat will only put you and your friend’s life in danger. Plus, it has higher mooring charges. 

Extra Features, Equipment, and Accessories

The set of features that a boat comes with are among the factors that have the most effect on its cost. Each boat can have a great number of extras, advancements, and smart gadgets.

Some boats feature an advanced chart plotter, and you can expect it to be expensive. It’s a marine navigation device that combines GPS data with an electronic navigational chart. You may also find built-in multimedia, specialty LED lighting, battery chargers, autopilot functions, and hydraulic steering.

For water adventure seekers, boats with swimming and diving platforms are also available. With the higher-end boats, having extra comfort or luxury elements will also greatly up the price. Which can include items like bespoke floors, worktops, and joystick steering controls. As well as vacuum head systems.

Many boats also have climate-controlled cabins and cockpits, as well as satellite weather systems and GPS position holding. All these things mentioned can drastically increase the boat’s price. And it’s up to you which features you can go with and without.

Other Expenses You Need To Know

Other Expenses You Need To Know

As I’ve mentioned at the beginning, the costs of boat ownership don’t stop with the purchase price. You’re still going to be responsible for considerable fees tied to owning a boat. Just like many other vehicles, you are subjected to taxes, licensing, and other expenses.

If you do not plan for these coasts accordingly, you may find yourself paying more in the long run. Make sure to set a budget for these expenses.

Boat Insurance

Owning a boat is an expensive investment so you must protect it. Boat insurance guarantees protection for your vessel if anything happens to it.

Most states do not mandate boat insurance, however, this does not suggest you should not get one. It is often unlawful to run a boat that does not have insurance. You may risk personal liability if any of the people you have on board get hurt while on the boat.

Acquiring boat insurance can be a fairly affordable process, especially if you’ve completed a boater safety course and obtained your certificate. You can get boat insurance and pay a yearly, quarterly, or monthly fee of between $20 and $50.

Loan Interest

You will almost certainly owe loan interest if you couldn’t pay it in cash.

You can expect boat loan interest rates to range from 3.99 percent APR to 20.50 percent APR, based on a variety of criteria such as the boat’s worth and deposit. As well as the term of the loan, and your credit score and history. Shorter-term loans usually come at cheaper interest rates by creditors.


Boat ownership will require you to pay local taxes.

The amount of this tax duty is highly dependent on your location. Additional forms of taxes that may be applicable include a use tax, which you will pay to the jurisdiction where you frequently use the boat if you miss paying sales tax. The personal property tax will be levied on you each year.

Education and Licenses

Boater education is critical so you can safely operate a boat. Completing a boating safety course guarantees that you have the core knowledge required to run your boat safely and successfully. Taking up the course can also save you money on boat insurance.

Owning a boat doesn’t exempt you from getting a certification. While some states will not require you to have a boater education, others do. This usually costs between $100 and $500.

Boat licensing and registration processes differ per state. The cost depends on the kind of boat you have and its length, and the duration your boat is registered for. You’ll get some form of documentation that proves your boat’s registration.

Aside from proof, you’ll also get a registration number. The fee can range from $20 to $200.

Mooring and Marina Fees

Mooring fees can be quite expensive, ranging from hundreds to even thousands of dollars per month. The fees will also depend on the length or size of your boat.

This is especially important if you reside in an area where you’ll be boating frequently and if you prefer not to transport your boat from storage to the launch every time. You can also rent a boat slip at a marina for the season.

Marinas will sometimes charge you based on the length of your vessel and the amenities you need. Renting a storage space not only keeps your boat safe, but it also gets your vessel ready for launch at any time.

Winter Storage

When it starts getting cold, it’s time to plan for storing your boat. If you have a smaller boat, you can just store it in your own garage after winterizing it. Otherwise, you can hire an off-season storage space at a marina to keep your boat safe and well-maintained.

You can expect to pay between $20 and $50 per foot each season. Storing your boat indoors will be even more costly, ranging from $50 to $200 per foot.

Boat Trailer and Tow Vehicle

Whenever you need to haul your boat from the storage to the water, you will need a trailer. If you have a larger boat that you need to transfer through a greater distance, you’ll need a towing vehicle.

Boat trailers come in different sizes to fit your boat, so make sure to have all the specs ready. The trailer must be capable of holding the weight of your boat as well as any additional items on board. You should also have the trailer inspected ​​on a regular basis to guarantee safety and operation.

Most places will require you to register your trailer like a regular vehicle. And this can add to your annual expenses.


The price of gas fluctuates a lot, and these days, it’s at an all-time high. Fuel costs might sneak up on you if you don’t keep track of your boat’s gas condition. If you’re renting a space at a marina, your gas is usually included in the fee.

Boats can consume between two and 35 gallons of fuel per hour, depending on how heavy-handed you can get with the boat. A small, single-person boat with 1 to 2 gallons of gas could last you all day.

You must familiarize yourself with how much gas your boat consumes. This way, you’ll be able to calculate in advance how much fuel costs you have to easily spend. You may also conserve gas by leaving the revolutions low and studying how to modify your trim appropriately.

Maintenance Costs

Your boat will require maintenance, no matter the size and type, and even when you’re not using it. This should be expected as a part of boat ownership. But with proper operation and preventive actions, you can reduce your regular maintenance costs.

Parts for an inboard motor can cost between $200 and $500. A four-stroke outboard engine may cost around $300 up to $1,000 per engine in parts.

Another maintenance your boat may need is oil changes, water flushes, and deck and seat cleaning. Inspections and maintenance for the steering system, propeller, hull, and possible anchor replacement are also necessary.

Renting vs. Buying a Boat

Rental boats could be accessible in many places. They are common in locations that include recreational activities or sports fishing. If you don’t want to own a boat or don’t see boating as something you’ll be doing long-term, renting a boat would be a sensible option.

Renting a boat instead of buying one allows you to get out on the water without spending too much. You won’t have to deal with the stress of having to pay for maintenance or the overall cost of boat ownership like storage fees during the off-season.

While renting a boat may be a great thing, it can have some disadvantages. If you want to rent a specific boat in the boating season, for example, you might not secure the boat you choose even with arrangements or reservations. In addition, you often rent relatively basic boats with limited range and capability.

Certain rental places also prohibit nighttime navigation and this can be an inconvenience. If you have your own boat, however, you can go boating anytime you want for as long as it’s safe and you can afford the overall expense.


Is a boat worth buying?

Owning a boat may be a good investment. Although not in the particular sense that real estate or mutual funds can, but definitely in a non-material sense.

Having your own boat allows you to try out new adventures and have fun with your family and friends. And for others, boating gives that sense of freedom that they could only feel when they’re out on the water.

What are the cons of owning a boat?

Boat ownership is not an inexpensive venture. Even when you’re not using your boat, the extra expenses that come with owning one can pile up. You’ll need to pay the seasonal and monthly bills for insurance, maintenance cost, insurance, and dock fees, among others.

How much do small baots cost?

Small vessels like a bowrider and a pontoon boat can cost between $8,000 to $25,000. These boats are some of the most affordable boats you can get.

How much is a 26-foot boat?

It depends on the type of boat you want to purchase. A 26-foot large twin-engine fishing vessel, for example, typically costs between $150,000 and $300,000 and up. It’s quite expensive which is why purchasing used boats is a popular option in this range.

How much does the cheapest boat cost?

The price of a boat depends on its size, style, and features. One of the cheapest boats you can get is a Jon boat. You can buy a cheap 12-foot Jon boat for as low as $500. Depending on the material and a range of customizations, you can also get a higher-end Jon boat of the same size at $30,000.

An all-purpose fishing vessel is also another cheap option with a price starting at $10,000. It is relatively inexpensive due to its emphasis on fishing, which means it isn’t well equipped. Although the boat’s practicality could reduce its popularity among anglers, it also allows manufacturers to keep the costs low.

How much is a 20 ft boat?

Depending on the type you pick, a 20-foot boat may cost you between $40,000 and $60,000. If you’re a little bit on a budget, you may also find boats of the same size priced at around $10,000 to $20,000.

How much does a boat cost in the USA?

The average price of new boats cost between $60,000 to $75,000. It may cost you either much less or much more depending on your needs. Aside from the price of the boat itself, you should also consider the cost of mooring and storage, fuel, license fees, insurance, repairs, and other costs.

Why are boats so expensive?

Boats are expensive because they are generally handcrafted. Unlike cars, which are virtually entirely automated now, boats must be built mainly by hand. And this entails potentially higher labor expenses per ship.

Large shipyards are necessary, where only a few boats may frequently be produced over the period of several months. Most labor-saving solutions are just not practical with low production.

Final Thoughts

Due to the wide selection of boat styles and sizes, it is impossible to provide an average price for boats. But I hope the estimations I’ve provided allow you to determine the amount of money you have to prepare in order to get that boat you’ve always wanted.

Consider your other fees that come before purchasing a boat. You must plan a budget to assess how much you can pay in overall boat ownership monthly expenses. Once everything is in order, you may go ahead and buy your dream boat.

Don’t forget to have fun and good luck!

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