The true cost to own a yacht is an area of concern for many prospects of yacht ownership. And it should be.
Maintenance costs, exploitation costs, total cost compared to yacht charter, we detail in this article the expenses (especially 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.
If you are looking for the price of a yacht charter (rental), please read this article instead.
How much is a yacht?
Before diving into the expenses that comes monthly, yearly or every decades once you own a yacht, let’s answer the elephant in the room: How much is a yacht (alone) in the first place? The short answer is… it depends, of course. But in most cases, the longer the yacht, the higher is her selling price.
Generally speaking, you can expect to find yachts for sale in the following price ranges:
- Below 50ft (15m): between 500K – 2,500,000 € / USD
- Between 50-70ft (15-21m): between 2 millions and 6 millions € / USD (See our 9 catamarans for sale under 6 millions here)
- Between 70-100ft (20-30m): between 6 millions and 20 millions € / USD
- Superyachts over 100ft (30m): minimum 10 millions € / USD
You can always find exceptions to the rule and find cheaper or more expensive yachts for sale outside of these price brackets.
A lot of factors come into the selling price of a yacht: supply and demand, brand / model reputation, age and condition of the vessel, urgency or lack of for the sale and so on.
What are the main hidden costs that come with yacht ownership?
You probably already guessed it, the cost of owning a yacht doesn’t stop at its purchase price. In some cases, the price you bought your yacht at can seem like a bargain, but it really isn’t once you start adding all the hidden costs, and many of them come yearly.
Here are the main ones you should be wary of.
Yacht exploitation and running costs: always calculate them carefully before buying your yacht
It always cost you money to exploit your yacht.
When you are chartering a yacht, a part of these operation costs 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 main operation costs, the most important are usually the following:
- 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: a cost that you should definitely not overlook
Even outside of its operating period, it still costs you money to own your yacht!
Maintenance of your boat isn’t an option and must be done on an ongoing basis. The price vary depending on the type of yacht you are owning (motor, sail, etc…), the size of the vessel, but also how old she is.
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. But regardless, you should have a budget buffer dedicated to maintenance costs when you plan on buying a yacht, especially if she already had a long sailing life.
The taxes and insurance premiums of a yacht: a cost that most forget
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.
Must Read : Yacht Insurance : The Definitive Owner’s Guide
Yearly harbor fees: a very important hidden cost of yacht ownership
The port and/or winterization fees are also a big part of yacht ownership costs that you should carefuly estimate.
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 operating and maintenance costs of owning a yacht
So, to sum up, how much does it cost to own a yacht? It largely depends on your type of yacht and your location.
But in general, owning a yacht will cost you between 10-25% of its value annualy. The longer the yacht, the likelier you are to be at the end of the spectrum.
Here are the reasonable costs you could consider:
- 10% of its value annually for a 60ft (18m) / 1 million USD yacht and below (=max 100K / year)
- 20% of its value annually for a 100ft (30m) / 10 millions USD yacht and above (=min 2 millions / year)
These brackets of total costs include everything: usual yacht maintenance, upkeep and operating costs that will be distribued as follow:
- 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. Read the next paragraphs to know these valuable tricks.
If you liked this article you will also like : HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CHARTER A YACHT?
How to reduce the cost 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.
Renting your own yacht: a good way to reduce the costs of owning a boat
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.
On the topic : Yacht to Charter : Can It Be Profitable?
Fractional yacht ownership: share the cost of owning a yacht with co-owners
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.
Yacht Charter remains a cheaper alternative than yacht ownership in many cases
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, the cost of renting a yacht will save you from having to worry about all those hidden costs of owning one. 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.
Frequently asked question
For a 60-foot or million-dollar yacht, the cost per year will be about 10% of its value or $100,000 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Luxury yachts have maintenance and operation costs that are around 10% of their value yearly. So if a yacht value is 2 millions USD, its maintenance and operations costs should be around 200K / year.
Operating a sailboat is usually 20-40% cheaper than the same size motoryacht. Motoryachts tend to be more expensive to operate than sailboats as the fuel consumption can become an important expenditure fast.
A small yacht below 50ft is usually for sale between 500K and 2,5 millions USD / €. A mid-size yacht between 50ft and 100ft is usually for sale between 2-15 millions USD / €. Above 100ft, the selling price is rarely below 10 millions USD / €.