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How much does it cost to own a yacht?

By Rob Bowman | Posted On Oct 28, 2019

Since we opened our doors in 2002, United Yacht Sales has worked with thousands of boaters who hold aspirations of owning a yacht. A yacht can mean different things to different people, especially when discussing the difference between intended use such as fishing, day boating, entertaining, and long-distance cruising. Just as there are many applications for how you plan to use your boat, there are also many boat builders working to design the perfect yacht to meet a specific niche in the marketplace. With nearly 1,000 transactions completed each year, United brokers commonly hear the same questions asked as new boaters begin their research into finding the perfect vessel.

What does it cost to own a yacht? "The cost of ownership for a 60-foot, $1 million yacht is going to be about 10% of its value, or $100,000 per year," said Peter Schmidt, President of United Yacht Sales. "You can pretty well estimate that for a later model boat of this size, in the Florida market, your general costs are going to be in that range. This would include things like routine maintenance and repairs, dockage, and the cost of either a professional captain or yacht manager."

If you're new to boating and this is your first yacht purchase, it makes sense to discuss these questions with your yacht broker:

  • Where do you plan to keep your yacht? 
  • Are you going to run the boat yourself or will you need a captain?
  • How much does it cost to maintain a yacht?
  • How much does it cost to fuel your yacht?
  • Is buying a yacht a good investment?

The answers to these questions vary with many factors influencing the cost of each. Simply the location of where you plan to keep and use your yacht can raise or lower your monthly spend to keep your boat maintained in the best possible condition.

(Seen below: A 64' Offshore cruising yacht listed with United for just over $1 million. A cruising boat that has hundreds of hours put on the engines will have different operating costs than a boat that just cruises to dinner and back once a week.)

example of one million dollar yacht for sale 

How much does it cost to store a yacht at a marina?

One of the first and most important questions to answer before you buy a yacht revolves around storage. If you own a water-front home with a dock big enough to safely store your yacht, the savings are substantial. However, if you plan on keeping your vessel at a marina, those costs need to be included in your annual budget. United Yacht broker Christopher Cooke owns his own yacht management company and often helps his clients find a space at a marina. "The cost of keeping your yacht at a marina really varies by location," said Chris. "You are charged per foot, but that cost can change not only depending on what county you're in, but also how many amenities are at the marina."

"In Florida, the marinas in Martin County for example, can be half the cost of Miami-Dade," continued Christopher. "It really all depends on your boating plans, where you live, and how far you're willing to travel to be at your boat."

Sailfish Marina of Stuart is a popular yacht storage facility in Martin county that is the closest marina to the St. Lucie Inlet also with accommodations for a 60-foot and over boat. There is a fuel dock at the marina as well as a tackle shop. If you purchase a slip for a full year on an annual contract, the cost is $18-$20 per foot of your "Length Overall". This is important, because while some boats might be called a "600", they may very well be 62 feet in length and cost more. Additionally, if you want electricity, water, and waste removal, it can cost you an extra $110 to $310 per month.

Just 40 miles to the south, in the heart of Palm Beach County, sits Palm Harbor Marina. With over 200 slips, some of which can accommodate a 250-foot superyacht and state-of-the-art Marinetek concrete floating docks, the cost is much higher. Using the same example of a 60-foot cruising yacht, the cost of storage is approximately $2,650 per month or $44 per foot plus utilities. "With a place like Palm Harbor Marina, boaters are paying for the amenities and the location," continued Chris. Palm Harbor Marina features a yacht club with a hospitality bar and media center, a complete fitness center, game room, deli, concierge, as well as being right next to the best restaurants and nightlife in Palm Beach.

(Seen below: A yacht is welcomed by the professional staff that includes golf cart service. Photo credit: Palm Harbor Marina website.)

cost of storing a yacht at a marina

How much does it cost to maintain a yacht?

"For a yacht that's 60-feet, later model year, and with average usage, you can expect to pay $30,000 per year in preventative maintenance costs," said Cooke. "And by average use I mean 150-200 hours per year. But that's assuming nothing goes wrong and has to be replaced. Typically you're looking at $3 per foot to have someone dive it, another $3 per foot to have it washed regularly, and then another $1,000 or so to go through and do a full systems check. These costs can definitely vary though depending on the boat and location." 

The best advice Christopher has for boat owners of this size is to hire a yacht management company. Yacht Management companies often oversee anywhere from 10 to 50 boats at any one time, Christopher currently has 30. The yacht manager will ensure the boat is clean, all systems checked like transmission and generators, the running gear checked, oil changes are done, and that nothing is starting to fail. Preventative maintenance can save thousands of dollars in the long run of yacht ownership and will end up paying for itself. Many yacht owners have work or other hobbies that take their time away from being able to devote to the proper maintaining of their vessel. The result can be negligence in the upkeep of the boat, causing systems to fail, and end in more costly repair bills. If you're going to spend the money on a nice yacht, a yacht management company is a smart choice.

How much does it cost to insure a yacht?

Taylor Stacks of Stacks Insurance Brokerage is no stranger to insuring boats from New York to Florida. In fact, he's the youngest agent ever to insure a 100-foot+ yacht in Florida and prides himself on being connected within the yacht brokerage community.

"We get asked all of the time how much it costs to insure a yacht and the answer is it really depends on where you live and keep the yacht," says Taylor. "For a 60-foot yacht in the Northeast, you're looking at between $6,000 and $8,000 per year for insurance. Come down to Florida and that same boat is going to be $10,000 to $12,000 to insure assuming it's for private use only. If you plan to charter the yacht in Florida, then costs go up $14,000 per year." 

(Seen below: A 62' Azimut Yacht in Florida, if kept at a marina, will likely cost about $10,000 per year in insurance.)

cost to insure a yacht  

How much does it cost to fill a yacht with fuel?

Trying to budget your annual expense for fuel can be difficult. Not only do some yachts have larger fuel capacities, but their fuel burn and range can also vary. This also then dependent upon how much you use your boat and how hard you will be running the engines. Cruising at lower rpm's at around an 8-10 knot speed can mean better fuel efficiency with longer running times between trips to get more fuel.

Assuming your 60-foot yacht has a fuel capacity 1,200 gallons and with an average fuel price of $3.50, and it will cost $4,200 to fill up. For new boaters, it's really difficult to gauge how much fuel you might use in a year and only personal experience and time on the water can help narrow down that annual cost.

Fuel costs per location also can change depending on where you are boating. The Waterway Guide offers up-to-date pricing on fuel at major marinas through the United States. For example, diesel fuel in Jacksonville, Florida is currently ranging from $2.79 to $3.30 depending on which marina you stop at. In comparison, stopping for diesel in the Florida Keys will start at $3.40 and could be as high as $4.00 per gallon.

Is owning a yacht a good investment?

Owning a yacht is an investment in yourself, not a financial one. Boats depreciate in value, they cost money to maintain, and you will almost never sell it for more than what you paid for it. The memories you create with your friends and family on a yacht, however, are worth more than words can describe. Peter Schmidt talks about why to own a yacht after more than 40 years in the business, "Owning a yacht is a good thing, one of the joys of life. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A yacht allows you to make memories you never dreamed possible!" Peter is also a current boat owner and has owned several throughout his life. His kids now own their boats and are teaching Peter's grandchildren the joys of being on the water. "I love boating and my kids love boating. It gets in your blood and gets passed down through the generations. There simply is no greater pastime than owning a boat. Yes, there are some inconveniences along the way with repairs, but the good far outweighs any temporary inconveniences."

Peter suggests speaking to a knowledgeable, professional, and experienced yacht broker about the costs of yacht ownership. If you don't have a relationship currently with a United Yacht broker, please give our main office a call at (772) 463-3131 and we will connect you with the best broker to service you based on your location and boating needs.


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