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How Much Should You Spend On A Yacht?

By Robert Bowman | Posted On May 16, 2022
Updated On Apr 16, 2024

Buying a yacht is an exciting experience filled with anticipation and dreams of island-hopping in crystal clear water with your favorite guests. The process of shopping for a new boat, followed by the sheer joy when you find the perfect one, is only the beginning of what will hopefully be years of the best memories one can make. As with any major transaction there are some stressful moments, such as waiting for the seller to accept your offer, but with the help of a professional yacht broker, the process should run smoothly.

If this is your first yacht purchase, speaking with both a professional marine lender, as well as an expert yacht broker, is very important to understanding what kind of boat you can afford to buy. It's not just the original purchase price, but also the ongoing cost of owning a yacht that needs to be factored in to your budget. As a general rule, most brokers will tell you that 10% of the purchase price should be allotted each year for the cost of ownership, although this can greatly vary depending on your lifestyle.

"It is recommended that you put 20% to 30% of the purchase price of your yacht as a down-payment," says Shana White, Marine Product Manager for OceanPoint Marine Lending. "With good credit you will see an interest rate of 4.75% in this market. This is assuming the vessel you're considering is around $1.5 million. Of course, if you're looking for a boat under $100K, then 10% down is the industry standard."

Other initial considerations for the costs of buying a yacht might include:

  • Any service work that needs to be completed before your maiden voyage
  • Yearly maintenance work, as well as winterization depending on where you boat
  • New electronics if you're purchasing an older boat
  • Boating accessories like tubes, wave mats, Seabobs, and other fun water-toys
  • Dockage at a marina if you don't have a place to park your boat
  • Marine Insurance

Despite having the money in the bank to purchase a yacht outright, many owners choose to finance instead of paying cash or liquidating assets as it keeps them flexible should new investment opportunities arise. Often the profits from those investments can exceed the cost of your monthly payment. Particularly in today's market where inventory is down, many late-model, pre-owned yachts are selling for nearly what their purchase price was when new.

Whether or not you choose a longer term loan or a shorter one is entirely up to your circumstances. A longer term loan will normally offer a lower monthly payment, while a shorter term loan allows you to quickly build up equity in the vessel which is recouped at the time of sale. If you want to go straight to the source and speak to Shana directly about getting your boat financed, call her at 1-757-266-4600 or by email at


Don't Forget Insurance!

insurance for boat

Factoring in the complete cost of ownership is important when considering how much money you should spend on a yacht. For up to date marine insurance costs, United Yacht Sales partner Brown & Brown Insurance Agent Mike Boyer gave us the up-to-date expectations for boat owners. Mike, who has been in the insurance industry for more than 25 years, has been solely focused on the marine segment for over a decade.

mike boyer brown and brown insurance

For this particular example, we asked Mike to give an approximate quote for a 65-foot motor yacht that is owner-operated, and based in South Florida. "This type of owner is very common," said Mike. "We see a lot of Azimut buyers, Princess buyers, Sunseeker, especially in the Florida market. If the boat is $1 million, the owner can expect to pay between 1.5% and 2% for insurance per year."

Mike went on to say that there have been a lot of changes in the last 2 years for Florida boat owners. "There has been a lot of consolidation in the insurance industry in the last 24 months. There are less carriers in South Florida which means less competition and higher rates for owners," he continued. "Now if that boat owner wants to hire a full time captain, the rates get cut in half."


Yearly Maintenance

Whether buying a new or brokerage boat, it's a fact of life in boating that something will need to be fixed. Christopher Cooke, United Yacht Sales broker and President of Spencer-Christopher Yacht Management is an expert at keeping yachts running in perfect condition. "If you're purchasing a yacht, I highly recommend protecting that investment through the services of a professional yacht management company," says Chris. "It gives you peace of mind knowing that there is a team of highly experienced yacht managers looking after your boat so it's ready to use when you have your free time."

"There are so many things that can break on a boat from Air conditioning systems, pumps, filters, you name it," he continued. "If you're purchasing a million dollar yacht expect to pay 10% of it's value on a yearly basis for regular service and preventative maintenance. This should cover what breaks, scheduling routine engine service, diving to clean the bottom, and keeping it in good condition. This also greatly improves the resale value when you go to sell the boat." Christopher also went on to say that costs have gone up in the last year, so working with a professional team can minimize your out-of-pocket expenses in the long run.


Deciding how much money you should spend on a yacht has a lot of variables other than just the purchase price. United Yacht Sales has some of the best partners in the industry such as River Forest Yacht Centers for storage and maintenance, Shana White with OceanPoint Marine Lending, our friends at Brown & Brown Insurance, and other vendors that can assist you every step of the way in your boating life. Whether you are a first time buyer or a longtime boater, speaking with a United Yacht Sales professional broker can give you the latest information on what to expect when it comes to spending money on a boat.


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