The costs involved with owning a yacht

They do say that the best two days of owning a yacht are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. But we don’t like to listen to ‘they’ do we. Do we? Of course we don’t.

That said, yacht ownership is not cheap. Everything on a boat costs more than it would on land it seems and sometimes many times more. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t be clever and find bargains.  I know of one boat that circumnavigated with an IKEA shower rail in place in the snakepit for hanging halyards! It did the job.

The costs of boat ownership are many and varied and mostly predictable. The primary costs are likely to be mooring fees, sail wardrobe (and covers) and boat depreciation. If you are borrowing money on a marine mortgage, then interest charges will need to be included in your budget too.

On top of these costs you have insurance, the cost of which will vary dependent on the value and type of vessel and it’s sailing area, boat lifts and antifouling, general maintenance costs such as engine and winch servicing and replacement of electronics, charts and chart updates, almanacs, halyards and sheets and also deck and hull maintenance.

No-one in their right mind goes to sea without life jackets and a liferaft, a VHF radio, flares, danbuoy, horseshoe buoys and a liferaft and these need to be periodically checked, serviced or replaced. This can be expensive. From time to time batteries need to be changed out and everything from torches and binoculars to a tender and outboard all add to the little costs it’s easy to miss when budgeting.

If you intend to charter out your UK registered vessel then it needs to be fitted out to code as defined by the MCA. What’s more, it needs to be inspected periodically by an MCA surveyor. And yes, there is a charge for that too.

All in then, owning a modest, secondhand, 12 metre yacht is probably going to leave you with little change out of between £12,000 and £20,000 per annum, dependent upon how much money you borrow, the yacht’s condition, where you keep her and how many times you sail her. 

On top of these annual costs remember too that you will have costs of purchase (and sale) including surveyor’s fees, boat lifts and storage and broker’s fees. None of these costs are cheap. 

All in all then, owning a yacht is never going to be cheap - but money isn’t everything, right.

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