The true cost to own a yacht is an area of concern for many prospects of yacht ownership. Maintenance costs, exploitation costs, worth compared to yacht charter, we detail in this article the expenses (including the hidden ones) you have to consider before buying your first yacht!

We also provide you several solutions to lighten your investment and reduce the cost to own your yacht. 

The real price of yacht ownership: be aware of the hidden costs

If, of course, when it comes to yacht ownership, we think of the purchase price and the interest in the case of leasing, we sometimes know less about the recurring costs for maintenance, storage, and operation, and other additional costs. 

Yacht exploitation and running costs

It always cost you money to exploit your yacht.

When you are chartering a yacht, a part of it is included in your APA (Advanced Provisionning Allowance). When you own a yacht, these costs still apply, but you will have to pay directly for them.

Among the operation costs, you will find :

  • the fuel: its cost will depend on the type of boat, her fuel consumption, the region, and the distances traveled;
  • the mooring fees which depends on the area but also on the boat size;
  • the crew, if you need it. The cost will depend on the frequency and the crew’s size;
  • the communication fees;
  • the food and beverages supplies;
  • all the expenses related to your leisure activities.

Yachts maintenance costs

Also, out of its operating period, it still costs you to own your yacht! Maintenance of your boat must be done on an ongoing basis. The price depends especially on the type (motor, sail, etc…) and size of the vessel.

The maintenance costs include :

  • the regular maintenance of certain equipment, like engines, thrusters, sails, rigging, safety equipment, hull(s) (fairing)…;
  • the occasional maintenance operations in case of breakdown or damage;
  • the painting;
  • the cleaning and the specialized maintenance products (for teak, leather, …). 

The costs of maintenance and upkeep will obviously not be the same if you do it yourself or if you call in specialists.

Taxes and insurance premiums of a yacht

Consider the different taxes (at the purchase and annual) and the yearly yacht insurance that you have to pay. A specialized insurance policy is generally estimated at between 0.8% and 1.2% of the boat’s purchase price per year.

Yearly harbor fees

Another important annual expense not to be overlooked is the port and/or winterization fees. Depending on your region, you may need to consider “dry-docking” your boat, which involves handling, transport, and storage which can be really expensive. 

If you can leave your yacht in the water all year round, you will need to go for a harbor ring concession. Depending on the marina and its infrastructure, the region, and your boat’s size, the costs may considerably vary from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars a month. However, it is easy to obtain this information from marinas once you have chosen which yacht to purchase.

The depreciation’s price of a yacht

A yacht, like a car, will depreciate. It is difficult to estimate the depreciation, as it depends on economic conditions, exchange rates, price inflation when new, the type of boat, and the shipyard. 

However, it is reasonable to estimate a minimum depreciation of 10% in the first year, then 7% in the following years. From the fifth year on, the depreciation tends to slow down. On the other hand, the operating costs increase.

Summary of the main yacht operating and maintenance costs

So, how much does it cost to own a yacht? It largely depends on your type of yacht and your location. But the usual yacht maintenance and operating costs to take into account include :

  • Fuel
  • Mooring
  • Crew
  • Communication
  • Maintenance
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Taxes
  • Insurance premiums
  • Harbour fees
  • Cost of depreciation

Are you worried? Do not. Luckily, there are numerous ways to decrease the overall cost of yacht ownership and still enjoy yachting as it should be.

Yacht Charter as an alternative to ownership

If you can’t enjoy your yacht frequently or are still unsure about whether it’s worth the cost or not to own a yacht, you might consider chartering instead. This will allow you to try out different models, from various shipyards, and see which ones you prefer.

Therefore, renting will save you from having to worry about all those hidden costs. All you have to do is pay for your charter, your cancellation insurance and set your APA during your stay. This way, you only pay money, time, and effort when you use the boat.

But, for those who still wish to become owners, there are also ways to minimize costs and even make a return on your investment.

If you liked this article you will also like : HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CHARTER A YACHT?

Reducing the burden of yacht ownership

A yacht keeps on costing money even when not in use, so the best way to make it a more profitable investment is to increase its exploitation.

Rent your own yacht

When you are not using the boat, you can earn income by renting it out. The rental price depends on the type and size of the boat, but also its location. While making money from renting is possible, don’t expect to pay back all your expenses. Nevertheless, it will help you in avoiding your yacht becoming a financial burden. 

The easiest way to do this is to hire a professional charter company to help you. If you go for a reputable and experienced company, you will benefit from their expertise and contacts. It will also save you from legal, insurance, and withdrawal issues and avoid red tape.

Fractional yacht ownership: become the co-owner of a yacht

Another solution to own a yacht at lower cost is fractional ownership of a boat, which means that you own a fraction of it. It can be half, a quarter, or even less. For a long time, boaters have been opting for this option of partial ownership with friends or family. These days some companies create formalized fractional ownership arrangements for more guarantees. 

For example, in partnership with the Windward Islands, SAILING RESORT proposes fractional boat ownership on the fabulous trimaran, the LEEN 72’. So you can become a co-owner of the new hybrid-powered multihull which can accommodate up to 10 passengers and 4 crew members. You will enjoy private use of the trimaran (depending on the period) from 6 to 12 weeks during the first 5 years.

This program proposes a profitable commercial operation with 24/7 premium service. It is a tailor-made solution for all those who want to feel like owners of a prestigious yacht for a few days a year while limiting their investment and responsibilities. WI manages the operation of the yacht for you out of your personal use, like the charter’s organization, maintenance, insurance, annual mooring, and all other administrative tasks.

Once you have weighed the pros and cons and have the means to finance both the purchase and the annual costs (maintenance, operation, …) of your yacht, you should go for it! Indeed, if you can evaluate the hidden costs and expenses of owning a boat, the freedom and unforgettable memories are priceless. 

Read also : SUSTAINABLE YACHTING: HOW IS THE BOAT INDUSTRY BECOMING MORE ECO-FRIENDLY?

Frequently asked question

How much does it cost to own a small yacht?

For a 60-foot or million-dollar yacht, the cost per year will be about 10% of its value or $100,000 per year.

How much does a 100-foot yacht cost per year?

You should expect to pay about 20% or more of the original price of your boat to run it annually. So, for a $10 million yacht, the cost to operate will be about $2 million per year, including fuel, insurance, dock fees, maintenance and repairs, crew, etc.

How much does it cost to maintain and run a mega yacht?

A 180-foot superyacht and/or mega yacht costs a minimum of $4.75 million per year to operate and maintain. Kitty McGowan of the US Superyacht Association estimates an annual budget of $1 million for maintenance and repairs, $350,000 for dockage, $240,000 for insurance, $400,000 for fuel, and $1.4 million for the crew. Add another 15-25% of the vessel’s value for V.A.T.

Should I buy or rent a yacht?

Once you have weighed the pro and cons, if you can afford the purchase and all the hidden annual expenses, have found your dreamed yacht, and have time to enjoy it, you should go for yacht ownership!

Are yachts good investments?

It is not the best way to make money, but you can minimize your annual expenses by renting it or opting for fractional boat ownership.

Is owning a yacht worth it?

It’s hard to tell. As long as you have the money and enough time to enjoy it, it is worth owning a yacht! Everything cannot be estimated. For example, it will bring you invaluable freedom and happiness.

How can I reduce the maintenance cost of a yacht?

One of the easiest way to reduce the maintenance cost of a yacht is to fractional yacht ownership. That way, the maintenance expenses are spread among co-owners according to their shares.

How rich do you have to be to own a yacht?

It varies greatly depending on the size of the yacht. For a yacht of 60ft (18m), you will likely spend around 10% of its purchase value each year in maintenance and exploitation costs.