How Much Sailboats Cost On Average (380+ Prices Compared)

Written by Shawn Buckles in Sailing Guides Updated: September 26, 2023

Turns out that owning a sailboat is pretty affordable. OK, it isn't cheap, but it can absolutely be done on a budget. In this article, I'll show you exactly what to expect.

Sure, super yachts are expensive, but so is everything super (except for maybe supermarkets). But a modest, used sailboat can be as cheap as $2,500 and an additional $1,400 per year.

It may come as a surprise to you that you can get a decent sailboat for as little as $1,500 on Craigslist.

Average sailboat costs at a glance

We've compared thousands of listings, so you don't have to. If you just want the ballpark figures, here they are:

Situation One-Time Cost Monthly Cost
Average sailboat for most people (26') $25,000 $470
Low budget project (22') $2,500 $115
Budget ocean cruiser (35') $38,000 $450
Best-value ocean cruiser (40') $166,000 $1,300

The average price of new sailboats is $425,000 ($127,000 to $821,000). The average price of used sailboats is $278,000 ($67,000 to $555,000). Maintenance costs are on average $2,000 - $3,000 per year, and the average total annual cost is $3,000 to $7,000.

Of course the price of a sailboat depends on our choices. We decide whether sailing is a rich man's game, or actually a very good holiday investment. (It beats driving to a bungalow park for sure - both cost-wise and the experience itself.)

Also read:

How Much To Charter a Superyacht? (Less Than You Think)

Why you should trust us

  • These figures are based on our latest research which was last updated September 26th 2023.

  • We do this research every year, giving us very accurate numbers and clear insight into the trend of sailboat prices.

  • We've literally compared thousands of sailboat listings over the years, and we've done so methodically. The research is done by our researcher Tay, who is an engineer by trade.

This will be a long article because there are so many aspects to cover. I'd like to spend some time exploring the costs of actually buying the boat. Then I want to go into recurring costs, like mooring, maintenance, and insurance.

To really drive home what you're getting into, I'll give four real-life examples. These examples include every expense as a separate line-item. And we'll go over them line-by-line together.

Then I'll share our exact research results with you. This will include all our numbers: new vs. used, average price per foot, and much more. These are extremely detailed numbers (you don't have to read this if you don't want to).

At the end of the article, we'll discuss why a boat doesn't just cost money: she can actually make you some if you wanted.

Summary

  • A used family week-ender with a small cabin will cost roughly $30,000 (all-in for the first year).
  • If you dream of sailing around the world, expect to spend around $100,000.
  • New sailboats on average cost twice as much as used boats.
  • Maintenance cost are 5-10% of the boat's value per year. Docking costs are roughly $800 - $2,500 per year.
  • Sailboat prices have gone up 30% this year.
Lean sailboat in blue, protected waters with just the mainsail up

Average Sailboat Cost: 2023 Summary

Before we really get into it, I first want to give you the quick rundown. So I've summarized our research for you.

Buying a sailboat

Sailboat size New price Used price Craigslist
Small $75,000 $41,500 $11,000
Medium $400,000 $261,750 $87,000
Large $3.9M $1.9M -

Small boats are up to 30 foot long. They'll be very capable and great for solo sailors or small families who want to go on day trips, or short week-end trips on inland waters. Some of them will have cabins and sleeping quarters, although small.

Medium boats are between 30 and 50 foot long. They'll host larger parties and will be more suited for longer trips, coastal sailing, or even bluewater cruising. Sailboat length isn't necessarily the most important feature for that, though.

Large boats are 50 foot and up. This is proper yacht territory, and they'll be a lot more luxurious, and also exponentially more expensive.

If you buy via a broker, you typically get more reliable boats, but also pay more. If you buy off of Craigslist, you get a fat discount, but there are more lemons on there too.

You could hire a boat surveyor who will inspect the boat before you buy it (much like when you buy a house). Those surveys are not very expensive and can be worth your money.

Owning a sailboat

There are a lot of costs involved with simply owning a boat. The biggest expenses will be docking and maintenance.

Those two alone will account for roughly 80% of your yearly expenses.

  • Maintenance: 5-10% of the boat's value
  • Docking: $800-$2,500 per year on average, depeding on location
Sailboat size Small Medium Large
Maintenance $1,500 $9,000 $50,000
Docking $1,000 $2,000 $5,000+
Other $1,000 $4,000 $10,000
Yearly cost $3,500 $15,000 $65,000

If we want to know what we're getting ourselves into, we should know every expense to the dot.

Below, we'll go over four very different case studies. I'm hoping one of these will relate to your specific situation. It'll show you what to expect and how to budget for your purchase.

The four sailboat case studies

  1. What does it cost if you want to keep your boat in good shape and have a good sailing experience? - aka: most people
  2. What does it cost if you ONLY spend the absolute minimum amount to keep her floating?
  3. If I want to sail the world on a budget, what's the absolute minimum?
  4. If sailing is more of a status thing to you, how much money COULD you spend?
Model Price class One-time cost Monthly cost
Island Packet 26' medium $25,000 $470
Catalina 22' low budget $2,500 $115
Ocean cruiser 35' low budget $38,000 $450
Luxury yacht 40' expensive $166,000 $1,300

There are a lot of great boats out there for a good price and there are also some boats that are so expensive (or so cheap), it's not even fun to look at them.

But one thing's for sure: there are plenty of boats available, and even if you're on a very tight budget, you could absolutely still make it work. Sailing in and of itself is actually not that expensive: wind is free, water is free, boats can be cheap - if you're willing to look around a bit. It's all the little extras that add up quickly.

Listed below are 4 boats that make great beginner boats. Since more than 80% of all boats that are bought are second-hand, I'll use the prices of used boats I found on Craigslist.

If you want to know exactly where the numbers come from, don't worry, I'll explain them after the 4 examples.

1. Island Packet 26' for stressless weekends on the lake

  • The one-time costs are $24,860
  • Your total recurring costs are $5,650 per year, or $471 per month

Let's say you're like me and most other people and just want a nice boat without too much hassle. So you pay people for complex maintenance. You do the required maintenance and save up for future repairs. You do a little yourself, which saves you a couple of hundred of bucks a year. You also join a (cheap) sailing club to learn how to not trash the boat. You get the right trailer, and you save up some money for future repairs. You don't want to buy a bad boat, so you pay a fair purchase price

One-Time Costs:

Cost
Price of boat $20,000
Registration at $10/ft $260
Taxes at 5% $1,600
Sailing club $1,000
Trailer $1,000
Total one-time cost $23,860

Recurring Costs:

Cost
Mooring at $15/ft $400
Insurance $300
Maintenance $2,000
Fuel $150
Winterize $2,000
Sailing club $800
Taxes varies
Total cost per year $5,650
per month $471

2. Extreme Low Budget Catalina 22'

Catlina 22 white sailboat in marina
You could own this for under $2,500

Ok, I'm very interested in how cheap you could actually go (in theory). Is it do-able to buy a very cheap sailboat and just keep her afloat, never change sails, and only pay for maintenance that is absolutely necessary to not sink?

In this scenario, I don't care about speed, so I don't change sails. I certainly won't join a sailing club, and I try to save some money on the marina by boondocking. I also happen to live in a cheap state registration and tax-wise.

Docking costs can get out of hand

For an average sailboat, depending on your area and wishes, up to $5,000/year.
Read everything about docking costs

I try to pay as little as possible for the boat itself (and I've actually found a Catalina 22 for $2,250 on Craigslist today!). I don't save up for rigging and hardware (tomorrows' worries). I try to get an extra 2 years out of my bottom paint and I only do the essential repairs, and I do them myself. But because I saved so much on the purchase, this little boat needs a lot of maintenance.

Luckily, I have time on my hands and know my way around engines and rigging, so I do all of it myself (with the help of YouTube).

I don't bother with winterizing my boat, I'll just sail somewhere warm. Oh, and I'll use the engine as little as possible to save on gas.

Will your boat be happy? Definitely not, but your wallet will be (for now). Can it be done? It's optimistic, but yes, I think it can be done. But you have to be mechanically inclined, and pretty creative.

  • The one-time costs are $2,428
  • Your total recurring costs are $1,380 per year, or $115 per month

One-Time Costs:

Cost
Price of boat $2,250
Registration at $5/ft $110
Taxes at 3% $68
Total one-time cost $2,428

Recurring Costs

Recurring Costs: Cost
Mooring at $5/ft $130
Insurance $150
Maintenance $1,000
Fuel $100
Taxes varies
Total cost per year $1,380
per month $115

3. Low Budget 35' Ocean Cruiser for traveling the world

This is the 36' Oceanis model. Nice cruiser for long voyages

If you dream of crossing oceans, you need a comfortable ride. Usually, most sailors pick a boat that's between 32' - 50' for two person ocean cruising. Anything under 32' gets pretty uncomfortable in high waves, although it can be done.

But this is also the range that gets expensive - quickly. So if we're on a tight budget, but also need a good and reliable boat: how much will it cost?

The boat will cost you $35,000. For this price, I've seen a beautiful 1983 wooden cutter (by Robert Tucker), multiple Beneteau Oceanis from '88 - '89, multiple Bavarias ... plenty of solid choices on the second-hand market here.

In this example, you don't join any sailing clubs (I assume you're pretty experienced if you want to cross oceans). You also don't winterize (you're sailing the Caribbean by now). No trailer, as you won't haul it out of the water any time soon.

You do pay a fair price for the boat because you don't want any surprises during your Tour du Monde. In need of a lot of bottom paint, since you're in saltwater most of the time. It's also a good idea to invest in at least SOME navigation equipment, so for $500 I've added a simple but capable GPS chartplotter and compass.

You can get a cheap but reliable chartplotter and compass for less than $500 - in total. If you want to learn more, head over to the recommended gear section.

  • The one-time costs are $37,590
  • Your total recurring costs are $5,425 per year, or $452 per month

One-Time Costs:

Cost
Price of boat $35,000
Registration at $10/ft $340
Taxes at 5% $1,750
GPS & compass $500
Total one-time cost $37,590

Recurring Costs:

Cost
Mooring at $15/ft $800
Insurance $525
Maintenance $3,500
Fuel $500
ICC $100
Taxes varies
Total cost per year $5,425
per month $452

4. Powerful 40' Yacht (and everything that goes with it)

Saloon of large yacht ready for dinner

Let's say you're in the game for the fame. What does it cost me to own a grande yacht with all luxuries (and costs) that go with it?

I join an expensive sailing club, hire pros that maintain the thing beautifully, and I also pay for winterization, the best trailer I can find. I replace my sails and running rigging every 5 years - since speed matters to me. Because she's my pride, I paint her every year. I spend an additional 500 bucks a year on special soaps and waxes.

I want a prime mooring location, so I pay a premium. I also get a small boat to hang from the large boat, to get to shore more quickly.

  • The one-time costs are $166,400
  • Your total recurring costs are $15,150 per year, or $1,263 per month

One-Time Costs:

Cost
Price of boat $150,000
Price of small boat $1,500
Registration $400
Taxes $7,500
Equipment $2,000
Sailing club $4,000
Trailer $2,500
Total one-time cost $166,400

Recurring Costs:

Cost
Mooring at $50/ft $2,000
Insurance $2,250
Maintenance $5,000
Fuel $300
ICC $100
Winterize $4,000
Sailing club $1,500
Taxes varies
Total cost per year $15,150
per month $1,263

What Does it Cost to Buy a Sailboat?

There are a couple of important factors that determine how much money you end up spending.

  • Size - length determines mooring costs, insurance, amount of paint on your hull, literally everything gets more expensive with every foot of length
  • New vs. used - of course, it makes all the difference whether you buy new or used. Typically, the price of a 25-year old used sailboat vs. a comparable new one is 3-4 times lower ($60,000 vs $200,000).

With used sailboats, I find that the price generally increases rapidly from 30 feet onwards

It's the same with new sailboats - or actually, it keeps increasing with every extra couple of feet. The reason is that as the boat gets bigger, it also gets more luxurious (upholstery, finishing, equipment).

The average price of a new sailboat per foot in USD:

  • under 30 ft: $3,217 per ft
  • 30 - 50 ft: $7,625 - $11,128 ft
  • over 50 ft: $14,927 - $78,033 per ft

On average, second-hand sailboats go at 1/3 - 1/4 of the cost of a new boat:

  • under 30 ft: $1,773 per ft
  • 30 - 50 ft: $6,473 per ft
  • over 50 ft: $10,091 - $36,889 per ft

If this is too much for you, you could always rent a boat instead. I recommend chartering. You can get great sailboats at great prices. Check out my charter recommendation here.

Also read:

Cost of buying a sailboat

Price of new sailboats

I've looked at the prices of thousands of yachts (really) on one of the largest yacht marketplaces in the world (- not manually, don't worry: with the help of their search function). This is what I came up with:

Length Range Low Average High
15-19ft $26,000 $30,000 $34,000
20-24ft $54,000 $70,000 $84,000
25-29ft $104,000 $127,000 $160,000
30-34ft $162,000 $244,000 $320,000
35-39ft $219,000 $371,000 $520,000
40-44ft $260,000 $464,000 $643,000
45-49ft $355,000 $523,000 $658,000
50-60ft $578,000 $821,000 $1,146,000
80-100ft $5,799,00 $7,023,000 $8,248,000

Source: Yachtworld.com Q3 2023

The price of new sailboats ranges from roughly $1,765 - $78,033 per foot. I've used these numbers to calculate the following list:

Prices per foot in USD

Here's the detailed price per foot for all lengths from 20 to 100 feet:

Length Range Per Foot
15-19ft $1,765
20-24ft $3,182
25-29ft $4,704
30-34ft $7,625
35-39ft $10,027
40-44ft $11,048
45-49ft $11,128
50-60ft $14,827
80-100ft $78,033

Price of used sailboats

We did the same for used sailboats, comparing thousands of listings. Here are the complete data:

Length Range Low Average High
15-19ft $6,000 $15,000 $26,000
20-24ft $7,000 $43,000 $79,000
25-29ft $8,000 $67,000 $146,000
30-34ft $10,000 $136,000 $294,000
35-39ft $16,000 $253,000 $512,000
40-44ft $24,000 $318,000 $638,000
45-49ft $41,000 $340,000 $656,000
50-60ft $66,000 $555,000 $1,128,000
80-100ft $487,000 $3,320,000 $6,514,000

Source: Yachtworld Q3 2023

Prices per foot in USD

The price of used sailboats ranges from roughly $882-$36,889 per foot. Here's the detailed price per foot for all lengths from 20 to 100 feet:

Length Range Per Foot
15-19ft $882
20-24ft $1,955
25-29ft $2,481
30-34ft $4,250
35-39ft $6,838
40-44ft $7,571
45-49ft $7,234
50-60ft $10,091
80-100ft $36,889

Prices on Craigslist

The price of used sailboats ranges from roughly $476-$2,098 per foot.

To get an average of the price of a used sailboat, I went over to Craigslist. I took the first 20 relevant search results for sailboats under, and over 30 feet.

Of course, the averages here are very speculative, as prices vary from day to day. But it gives a broad range of what to expect.

Over 50 feet, listings become meagre. I believe people tend to not place their 80-ft sailboats on Craigslist, but sell it through a broker instead.

Median Craigslist price of a used sailboat:

  • under 30 ft: $11,065
  • over 30 ft: $87,020

I've calculated the median price, not the average. The median is the price that's most common within the price range. This way the highest and lowest prices don't have as much impact.

Average Craigslist price-per-foot of a used sailboat:

  • under 30 ft: $476 per ft
  • over 30 ft: $2,098 per ft

This is what I found on Craigslist under 30 feet:

Washington DC
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Macgregor 26x 1997 26 $16,500
Columbia 26 Mark II 1972 26 $7,000
Sabre Mk 1 1975 28 $4,500
Hobie Mirage Tandem Island 2018 18 $2,999

Source: Craigslist Washington DC Q3 2023

Los Angeles
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Catalina 22 MKII 2001 22 $17,000
Ericson 26-2 1985 26 $15,500
Beneteau 28 1982 28 $15,000
Catalina 27 1972 28 $13,500

Source: Craigslist Los Angeles Q3 2023

Houston
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
BWC Flying Cruiser 2002 18 $12,000
Catalina/Capri 22 2007 22 $11,000
Hunter 1994 24 $9,000
Hunter 27 1980 27 $7,500

Source: Craigslist Houston Q3 2023

South Florida
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
MacGregor 26x 1997 26 $14,995
Laser Bahia 2023 15 $12,500
Beneteau 235 1987 23 $12,000
Watkins 27 1991 27 $9,900

Source: Craigslist Miami Q3 2023

New York
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Freedom 29 1985 29 $10,500
RS Sailing Quest 2022 15 $10,000
Hunter 27 1983 27 $10,000
Islander Excaliber 1969 26 $9,900

Source: Craigslist New York Q3 2023

Here's what I found for 30 feet and up:

Washington DC
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Kong & Halvorsen 48 Dawn 1985 48 $139,900
Beneteau Oceanis 2011 49 $129,000
Wellington 57ms 1989 57 $150,000
Ted Brewer 12.8 Cutter 1983 42 $89,000

Source: Craigslist Washington DC Q3 2023

Los Angeles
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Hunter 460 2000 46 $127,900
Hunter 1995 43 $95,000
Marine Technologies Ketch 1979 48 $89,500
Gemini 105 mc 2001 34 $84,500

Source: Craigslist Los Angeles Q3 2023

Houston
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Whitby 42 1983 42 $84,900
Gemini 105M 1998 35 $70,000
Island Packet IP-31 1984 34 $35,900
Condor 30 1989 30 $32,900

Source: Craigslist Houston Q3 2023

South Florida
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Beneteau 423 Oceanis 2005 43 $139,000
Beneteau 2008 43 $134,900
Gemini 105mc 2001 34 $105,000
Catalina 34 MkII 2003 35 $85,999

Source: Craigslist Miami Q3 2023

New York
Boat Year Length (ft) Price (USD)
Hunter 340 1999 34 $59,500
Jouet 1985 37 $50,000
Catalina 36 1984 36 $22,000
Pearson 303 1985 30 $15,500

Source: Craigslist New York Q3 2023

Sailboat price development

Compared to our 2022 research, the median price of new sailboats has gone up 22.5% (from $251,000 to $307,500). The average price has gone up 33.6% (from $248,000 to $331,250).

The average price of used sailboats under 30 ft on Craigslist has gone up 30% (from $8,500 to $11,000).

Sailboat prices research archive

You can check our earlier research data here:

Catamarans are 60% more expensive

If you dream of owning a catamaran, you should expect to pay roughly 60% more for the boat, and 60% more on annual cost like upkeep and mooring. There are exceptions, of course, and for some boat lengths, new catamarans may be slightly more affordable than a monohull.

I've researched thousands of catamaran listings as well to come up with those numbers. The exact numbers are summarized in my guide on the average cost of buying and owning a catamaran. It's very similar to this article, so if you like this and are curious about catamaran prices as well, I encourage you to check it out.

Also read:

Average Cost of Buying & Owning a Catamaran (With 4 Examples)

What Does it Cost to Own a Sailboat?

So let's take a quick look at the costs for owning a sailboat.

One-time costs:

  • Registration: costs of registration differ per state, but usually run anywhere from $3 - $10 per foot.
  • Taxes: differs per state and country. Most governments want you to pay property tax and sales tax. Sales tax is usually about 5%. Property tax varies and is more complex, so I'll leave that up to you to figure out.
  • Trailer: $1,000
  • Sailing club initiation fee: $1,500 - $4,000

Recurring costs:

  • Mooring: $10-15 per foot per year (can be much higher for prime locations)
  • Insurance: typically 1.5% of the total value of the boat. So a $50,000 26' cruiser will cost 750 bucks.
  • Maintenance: a good rule of thumb is 10% of the boat value. Expect to spend anywhere between $500 - $2,500 per year for small to mid-sized boats.
  • Fuel: depends on how much you use the boat and the engine, but on average something between $100 - $150. - Find out how much fuel a sailboat uses in my article here (opens in new tab).
  • International License: if you want to sail on international waters, you have to get your ICC (International Certificate of Competence). Plan on spending anywhere between 400 to 500 dollars.
  • Safety equipment: plan on spending anywhere between 150 to 600 bucks for lifejackets, first aid kit, and distress signals.
  • Winterize boat: $2,000
  • Sailing club: $800 - $1,500
Also read:

Cost of owning a boat

Horizon of masts in marina
Most marinas have waiting lists

Maintenance

Part Replace every Cost
Engine 20 years $5,000
Standing rigging 10 years $4,000
Running rigging 5-10 years $5,000
Sails 5-10 years $2,000 - $5,000
Safety equipment 10 years $500
Batteries 4-6 years $600
Deck hardware 20-30 years $1,500
Bottom paint 2 years $500
Avg. cost per year $1,730

Your average maintenance cost will be roughly $144 dollars per month for boats under 30', or just under $2,000 per year.

Maintenance involves a lot of hidden costs

We took an in-depth look at everything. The result is a comprehensive article that lays it all out for new boat owners.
Read all about maintenance costs

Engine

Gas engines run for about 1,500 hours, diesel engines run for 5,000. After that, you'll need to change them out.

Most engines will last you about 20 years.

A standard 15HP or 20HP outboard gas engine will cost you about $5,000 - $6,000 and needs replacing every 20 years or so. If you do the work yourself, it's more something like $1,000 - $1,500.

A smaller engine uses less fuel, reducing your total cost

You can actually use a pretty small engine for most sailboats. To learn how small (and efficient) you can go, I've written a guide on how to calculate it yourself.
Read all about outboard engine size

Replacing the sails and rigging

Most people that own a sailboat will have to replace the sails and rigging at least once in their lifetime. Replacing the mast is uncommon, but if you're unlucky and get demasted, it will need to be fixed. So I've added it to the "be aware this might happen" list - but won't add it to the monthly recurring costs.

If you need to replace the mast and boom, prepare to spend anywhere between $15,000 - $25,000.

I won't go into detail, but I have written a long article about the cost of new sails (opens in new tab). It's a really helpful post (with a formula) if you want to know what to expect.

Good quality cruising sails will need to be replaced every 10 years or so.

The cost of new sails is on average:

  • 26' Bermuda Sloop rig will cost you about $1,000 - $2,500.
  • 34' Bermuda Sloop rig will cost you about $3,000 - $5,000.

The cost of the new rigging is on average:

  • Standing rigging - every 10 years at $4,000
  • Running rigging - every 5-10 years at $5,000

Bottom Paint

Your boat will need bottom paint roughly every 2 years (could be longer, but to be safe, let's keep it at two). It's also called antifouling paint because it helps to protect your hull from weeds, barnacles, and so on. Barnacles can slice through your boat's bellow! So you don't want them on there.

On average, it costs about $15 to $20 per foot to get your sailboat hull painted professionally.

For a 26' sailboat, that's just 500 bucks. Money well spent.

Replacing safety equipment

USCG safety regulations require you to replace safety gear regularly.

  • Lifejackets have to be replaced every 10 years.
  • Flares have to be replaced every 42 months. You could consider buying a LED electric distress light instead, which will last you a lifetime.
  • If you carry a life-raft you'll need to replace that every 12 years as well.

Adhering to the minimum safety requirements shouldn't cost you more than 150 - 250 dollars every 5 years. But if you want the good stuff, need more fire extinguishers, plan on spending more like $600. If you want a life raft, that's another $1,500.

To avoid you have to go cheap on your safety gear, I've put it in the budget for $500.

If you want to know exactly what the USCG safety requirements are, including checklists, definitely check out my article here.

Winterizing your boat

Winterization is an often overlooked cost, but it can be one of the largest expenses each year. If you're like me, and not so lucky to live in Florida, you need to winterize your boat.

Failing to winterize it will increase your maintenance cost over time, as the engine wears out more quickly, and your plumbing and equipment will fall apart. Winter storms and ice can damage the hull and mast as well. Learn all about the dangers of failing to winterize here.

It's the best way to protect your boat in wintertime, period.

It consists of two parts:

  1. Winterizing - costs $500 to $1000 - This is the preparation for winter storage. You flush the cooling system with anti-freeze, and the boat gets wrapped in a shrink wrap cover.
  2. Winter storage - costs $50 per ft on average
Boat wrapped in white shrink wrap
Yes, this is a powerboat - I'm sorry

Some other maintenance costs:

  • Batteries: deep cycle batteries need replacing every 4-6 years at $600
  • Deck hardware: every 20-30 years (bullseyes, tiller, eye straps) at $1,500

Joining a Sailing Club

If you're new to sailing, you might want to consider joining a sailboat club. This might help you to get tips, make friends, and learn in a safe environment. Most clubs also organize races, which are a great way to quickly improve your sailing skills.

But it comes at a cost. Sailing clubs are very expensive.

Initiation fees range anywhere between $1,000 - $4,000. But that's not all.

Then there's an annual fee of $500 - $1,000 per year. And lot's of additional fees: for dining, lockers, etc.

If you're willing to skip Christmas, go for it.

Make or Save Some Money

How about making up for some of those losses? There's just no better feeling than earning back all that cash with the same thing that you've spent it on in the first place.

There are lot's of ways to earn a little extra with your boat - if you're willing to put in the effort. Here are a few ideas:

  • hire yourself out as the captain of a personalized cruise (for families, newly-weds, groups of colleagues)
  • take people to go fishing
  • hire your boat out to yacht charter companies
  • teach someone to sail
  • take photographers, film crews, and artists on tours
  • organize dolphin and whale watching tours
  • delivery of cargo - some places just can't be reached by car, for example, the city center of Giethoorn (Dutch Venice). So you have a competitive edge here!
Giethoorn, farmers manors standing besides water way (no road)
This place is real, have sailed a lot here when I was a kid

Some ideas to save money:

  • install solar panels (no more dock power)
  • buy a and cheap small boat (kayak or someting) to get to offshore anchorage (which are cheaper)
  • shop around for insurance
  • get gas at the gas station, not the marina
  • do your own maintenance as much as possible
  • find a friend with water access to avoid mooring
  • use it a lot (prevents stuff from breaking)
  • fix things that are broken immediately
  • keep your sails out of the sun
  • do your own upgrades

For example, convert your winches to self-tailing yourself. I was really surprised by how cheaply this can be done yourself. Read my article on how to do it here (opens in new tab).

How much does it cost to paint a boat hull? Painting a boat hull with antifouling paint will usually cost between $15 - $20 per feet. For example, a 25-foot sailboat will cost roughly $500. A 35-foot sailboat will cost $800 to repaint. You can get premium paints and services, which can quadruple the cost. Typically, a boat needs to be repainted every two years.

Why are used sailboats so cheap? Sailboats require a lot of skill and patience. They can be quite expensive to maintain and to keep in slip. Some people find they can't afford the marina rent, upkeep, and other costs; sometimes they simply don't want to; others don't want to sail anymore. In some cases, expensive and important parts are missing.

How much does it cost to charter a sailboat? The price of a charter depends on location, size of the vessel, crew or bareboat chartering, and so on. However, on average, a bareboat yacht charter will cost anywhere from $5,000 - $10,000 per week. Crewed charters cost anywhere between $10,000 - $15,000 per week. Superyachts may cost up to $150,000 per week.


Thanks to Jean-Pierre Bazard for letting me use his wrapped boat photo under CC BY-SA 3.0


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Comments


Stephen

Excellent write up. This is honestly the type of information that’s hard to find as you’re trying to get into sailing. I’m a car guy. People think of car collecting like Jay Leno, but it can be done cheaply. I get the impression sailing is the same way.


Shawn Buckles

Hi Stephen, thanks a lot for your kind words, really appreciate it!
It really is kind of the same, it’s all about how much time and effort you’re willing to put in. As with anything, lots can be achieved with energy and attention.

Thanks again.


Christian

Serious question. Why are you buying a trailer for a 40 ft yacht? That doesn’t even make sense.


Shawn Buckles

Hi Christian, thanks for the remark.
40 ft boat trailers do actually exist, although I agree that most people probably won’t trailer a 40 ft yacht.


Hatem

Thank a lot for the very useful information„ now you caused me to start thinking why don’t I start sailing lessons to do round the world in a sail boat ( instead of an aircraft)


Shawn Buckles

Hello Hatem, you’re very welcome. Smooth sailing, or flying.


Steven

Hi, I am not familiar with boats. My boss just asked me to find a nice boat for him. Thank you for this informative post, this helps me so much. By the way, I already found a site selling yachts here in the Philippines, here’s the link https://rayomarine.com Do you have any suggestion with brand and boat type. Thank you! More power!


Rafael

Very good information, but I am having a hard time matching these number here in Southern California.
Cheapest slip I found so for is $375/month, on a very run down and far from the ocean marina.
At the harbor that I want, the cheapest I found is $800/month.
Even if I was given a boat for free, just keeping it in place would cost me almost 10k/year


Brandon

Excellent writeup, Shawn! Thank you very much for all your hard work and I look forward to reading your other articles on the subject.


Kate

Great info! We are in the market for our first sailboat and this answered many of our questions. Although I do agree with Rafael that slip prices in Southern California our much higher than what you listed. The marina we like will run about $1000 a month.


Gary

Thank you for your artical…a LOT of useful information included in it sir.
I have been thinking about buying one for two years now, since I moved to a harbor town near where I grew up. We always had motor boats when I was young. But, I always loved sailing MUCH much more! I love the quiet of it, and always something to do, rather than just sit, drive, gas it up, dock, repeat. Laugh!!
It’s about a ten min walk to the marina from here..and I have nothing but time. However my health is pretty bad. I just don’t know if I could handle it all alone. I’m thinking maybe a 25-30 foot cruiser.
Thanks again sir!! I look forward to reading your other articles.
Sincerely,
Gary Heaton
Olcott, Ny


WJ

Thanks a million! First time I come across an article that complete and with so much effort. For people thinking about buying a boat the info you provide is priceless.


John Callahan

Good information, but any article on prices should have a date associated with it. I see no indication of when this article was posted.


Mike

Thank you so much for this well done article. We’re looking at getting a boat and you’ve answered questions we didn’t even know we had.


Aleksander

Awesome article good job i am from Slovenia and thinking about buyng sailboat and sail for 6 monhs per year.I hawe bean looking on Holland sites too buy one can i maybe find auctions too buy a sailingboat i bawe wach Troswijk but they do t hawe any up ther?


John smith

Many of the costs quoted look very low to me, especially in the first article. Was this written a long time ago?


Don

Excellent article. Am wondering though how do I dispose of a used boat if I get tired of it and can’t sell it or possibly run it aground. Maybe a 40 ft sloop?


Chris Kenny

Thanks for this infor.

Peace sailing.


Benjamin Sklar

Extremely helpful and interesting article! Thank you!


John Wallace

This is the most accurate information I have ever seen about boat ownership costs.

Many thanks!!!!


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