Yachting Costs, are these Reasonable?

I am still pretending to buy a yacht in order to liveaboard in my dotage. I am fortunate to find The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat by Mark Nicolas. He is brave and honest enough to make at least a stab at the costs of living on a boat in the US.

The author seems to have quite a minimalist lifestyle, even more than mine. Further he is a sailor who sails. I am looking at a power yacht. But take a look at these numbers and tell me if they seem to be in the ballpark roughly.

1 One-Time Costs These figures are pretty spot-on I think.
150,000 purchase price for a used 40' yacht. Plus 9,000 sales tax, survey, documentation, delivery
$ 3,000 initial repairs and modifications you just got to have at delivery

2 Monthly Costs ((Some annual divided by 12)
Insurance $200
Slip $450
Utilities 200 Phones 50
Internet 50 Cable TV 50
Parking $ 50
Storage 100 That is a storage locker for all the stuff you did not sell. !050/month

3 “Seasonal Costs”
Routine Maintenance $5,000
Commissioning $1,000
Decommissioning 1,000 Hauls & washes 700
Bottom Paint 1,500 Winter shrink wrap 700
“Liveaboard Fees” 500 Emergency service membership 100
(Call it another $800 per month)

4 Fuel (This is highly variable, but the guy makes a stab at it)
$8,000 a year.

Now figuring one figure might be high and another might be low,** does this seem to be a realistic estimate of the costs of living on and operating a yacht in the US?**

I feel my fever for buying a boat passing. :mad:

Looks about right. You can skimp on some things, and cut costs. In higher class marinas, you can pay a lot more. It’s doggone pricey.

(My b.i.l. is an officer in a yacht club, and for two years, I half-owned a 21-foot sailboat. It costs a lot… But, doggone, it was fun!)


As a boat owner myself, I have a few comments.

If you’re planning on living permanently on the boat, you don’t have to figure in commissioning and decommissioning. I’m not quite sure what that entails and why it costs $1000 a pop, but if it means taking all the stuff that doesn’t want to be out in the cold over winter (and taking the mast down for storage), I do most of that myself over a weekend. But as I said, if you’re living on the boat all winter long, it won’t be an issue. Note on the other hand that boats are normally not all that well insulated, so I wouldn’t recommend permanent living on a boat unless you’re in Florida.

Likewise, you won’t need to shrink wrap the poor thing if you’re not taking her up on land. Even if you are, a simple tarp from the gas station is more than enough to keep the snow off. $700 for shrink wrap…meh!

Washing her is something you can do yourself with a good pressure hose, no reason to pay anybody else to do it. Bottom paint costs me about $100 a can (and I need two cans for my 23 ft sailboat) and takes me about three hours to apply.

So, if you’re ready to take care of the boat yourself, you’re at least a couple of thousand dollars cheaper than the estimate above.

Thank you all.

I did not understand one could live on a boat that has been shrink-wrapped. The fellow lives in Boston, so it is worse-case scenario. Obviously the ideal solution would be to live in Boson in the summer and move to warmer climes in the winter. But that shirts cost to the fuel account.

(Lots of people live on immobile “boats,” I wonder why.)

As I said, shrink wrapping is a silly luxury. The idea is to protect the deck from sleet and snow, and a well wrapped $100 tarp does that job very nicely. And you get to use the same tarp 4-5 years at that.

Also, I’m not familiar with costs associated with motor boats, but $5000 maintenance yearly is a pretty heft sum, especially since a motor boat doesn’t have any sails to maintain. I doubt that you’d be that badly off. Note that my boat has an outboard engine, so I’m not the least familiar with costs of maintaining an inboard.

You might want to check out slip costs also. I’m off course not located in the US, but $450 is about what I pay per year to keep my boat in a well regarded harbor just outside of Stockholm, Sweden.

What’s the point of having a yacht if you’re going to live in a place that has sleet and snow?

I’m trying to figure out how you can spend $5K/year on maintenance after bottom painting and scraping is excluded. That’s the cost of a major engine overhaul, I would think. Or a complete new set of sails every year for a sailboat.

One thing I would factor in is the occasional hotel room or B&B, because if you’re cruising, you might occasionally get awfully tired of being cooped up on a 40 foot boat.

I agree that not many people live aboard boats here in the snow/sleet zones. Marinas can be cold lonely places in New England once all the boats are hauled.

The Swedish summers are gorgeous, all four days of them.

Some people have differing opinions, I suppose. The author is a lawyer who works in downtown Boston and who lives at a marina there.

New England marinas offer steep discounts in the winter, I bet.

I’ve been informed by the afflicted that the two best days of a yacht owners life are (i) the day he buys it and (ii) the day he sells it.

In between the experience is akin to standing under a cold shower tearing up $10 bills.


Someone said this about owning a yacht: if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it.

OP’s numbers seem to bear that out.

3,000 bucks initial costs for repairs and such? Maybe on a used 27’ boat. On a 40’ boat, the cash reserve for this needs to be $10,000.

Here’s a boat like that new

Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe (2011)

I can see the appeal the video is awfully nice.

You get about a mile per gallon with 40’ pleasure cruisers and with marine diesel pushing 4.00 a gallon, You get about 2000 miles of travel for your 8000.

If you live part of the year on land you have to throw in those costs as well. Plus you either have to own a home which you leave vacant for a good chunk of the year – or find new tenant every year. Or be a new tenant every year if you decide to rent or lease your land base.

Oh yeah, you have to move a bunch of your shit – twice a year.

I think you should be some rich babe’s boy toy. That way you’ll be one of her expenses.

It is doable on a budget only if you liquidate the house and most every other land-based cost. A house + a boat is quite expensive. A boat instead of a house is not too bad.

I have my eye on 40’ Jeffersons, I like the salon in the rear.

Then you’re looking to be a year-round boat guy?

Well, if global warming works out like expected, maybe you can even do it in Boston. You will be riding the tide of the future, my friend. You won’t care a lot if the water gets deeper and the air gets a little warmer. You’ll just need a longer anchor chain. The Biggie-sized hurricanes might be a problem, though.

The insurance companies want you to be north of Savannah, Georgia (out of Hurricane Country) in the summer, so the ideal would be to winter the South and summer further north. This frees up money in the insurance account and lets you spend it on fuel.