On the hard - Mariah did us proud in light winds

Top Tips for Calculating the Cost of Buying a Boat

It’s a common question – ‘how much does it cost to buy a boat?’ Read on to find out our Top tips for Calculating the Cost of Buying a boat.

What budget do I have to purchase a boat?

Whatever budget you have you will probably find a boat just a little over budget, that you want! It’s at this point that there are a few things to remember. (1) There will be additional items found in the survey that will require fixing/repairing/replacing. (2) There will be ongoing maintenance and repairs. (3) There will be additional equipment you want/need. (4) Things will break/wear out. Therefore, part of your purchase budget needs to be put aside for these items.


What do I get for my money?

This is the right question to ask. Also, ‘what other factors do I have to consider?’

What do I get for my money?

What do I get for my money?


You must carry out in-depth research. After you’ve studied the market will have a feel for the value presented.


By asking lots of questions and reading/partaking in forum discussions your knowledge will grow.

$0 – millions

On the initial purchase, you can spend as little as a few thousand. But then you have to consider whether you want to GO cruising now or WORK for several years on the boat first.

Other considerations

Maintenance is ongoing. The harsh marine environment adds to this. Without proper, regular care your boat can deteriorate quickly, and those problems can spiral out of control quickly.

Everything that moves will, at some point, need replacing, including the sails.

We found that everything that moves will last about ten years: (if looked after well and is made well to begin with). When calculating your budget for your boat think about how old everything is: engine, sails, winches included

There are plenty of other costs to keep in mind. Click here for an article on Calculating Your Costs. Ongoing expenditure will depend on:

  • From what point you start, i.e. the initial condition of the boat
  • Equipment on board
  • Your wants/needs
  • Your capabilities
  • Your location and where you intend to go

A small seaworthy vessel maintained well, is better than a large, poorly maintained boat that can quickly become a money pit!

Size matters.

Boat size matters.

Boat Size Matters

Well, we can all adapt, but this is what we found. Our requirements changed ten feet per decade.

  • Ten years old – sailing dinghy of ten feet.
  • The twenties – you make a 27 footer work.
  • Thirty +  a bit more comfort is necessary, and so on.

It’s a bit like a foot for every year of your life, levelling out in your fifties.


Boat material will be a factor. We’ll share an article on this soon. In summary, choose a material you like or can handle working on. As you will be. Unless you are happy to pay someone else to do so, which will take huge chunks of your cruising budget.

Our priorities when buying a boat

Watertight integrity


Material/keel setup

Heavy displacement (important for us when crossing oceans)/handling capabilities

Equipment (is it all working? Can we maintain it?)


Can we accept (the equipment as is), repair or replace it?

When we bought Pyewacket, we had to install solar panels and wind generators.

Our first big expense on this boat was installing solar panels and wind generators.

The Answer

The answer to How Much Does a Boat Cost to Buy is dependent on:

  1. Where you are buying (USA, Caribbean, UK, Australia, Europe…..) Don’t forget taxes in some countries
  2. Condition of boat
  3. What equipment does it come with?
  4. What practical skills do you have?
  5. What is your budget (allowing for additional unseen/planned costs and running costs)?
More help

Down the line, we’ll talk about WHICH boat

Our book, Cruisers’ AA contains lots more helpful information.

See what else we get up to here.

1 thought on “Top Tips for Calculating the Cost of Buying a Boat”

  1. It was interesting when you explained that the market will have a feel for the value presented when you do your research prior to buying a boat. My father will find this tip helpful because he is interested in buying a new boat in time for his birthday next month. Your tips will help him to choose a boat that will benefit him the most, so I will share your tips with him.

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