Is A Boat A Bad Investment?

by Leon on February 3, 2013

should I invest in a baotThere’s no denying that a boat is an expensive toy to own. And yet, when you think about getting out on the ocean, opening up the throttle, and feeling the wind in your hair, you might be tempted to purchase one. But whether you have been an avid boater all your life or you are a motoring enthusiast looking for a new hobby, there are a few things you need to think about before you sink thousands of dollars into a boat. First, there are all different kinds of boats, so you’ll need to consider whether a sailboat, a speed boat, a pontoon boat, or a yacht is more your speed (just for example). But even beyond that, there could be drawbacks to such a weighty investment. Is it really worth it or is it a bad place to put your money? Here are just a few things you’ll want to consider before you rush out and buy your captain’s hat and deck shoes.

Some boats, like a canoe, for example, are not terribly expensive. And if you get a lot of personal use out of them it’s well worth the money because of the use value (the more you use it the greater the value, on a cost-per-use basis). But if you’re dropping the same dough as you might on a Mercedes or even a Ferrari, you’re going to need to take a harder look at whether or not the boat you’re buying is going to deliver the use value you’re seeking. Now, if you have the money to waste, perhaps there’s nothing to stop you from making such a pricy purchase, even if it will only get infrequent use. But if you’re counting every penny, you’ll need to consider related costs, as well as the potential resale value when you gauge the relative soundness of the investment.

Like automobiles, boats are bound to depreciate over time. The amount of depreciation depends on several factors, including the make and model of the boat, the age, and the state of the craft at the time of sale. And like cars you will have to keep your boat in good repair and practice proper maintenance if you want to get the best return on investment at the time of resale. Unfortunately, you’re going to put a lot more money into your boat than the sticker price before you sell it to a new owner. In addition to registering and insuring your boat, you’ll have to keep it fueled (if it has a motor). But the biggest expense by far is likely to be storage.

If you’re lucky, your boat will be small enough and your garage big enough that you can keep it at your house. You might also park it in the driveway and use boat covers. But if you purchase a rather large vessel you’ll have to pay for mooring fees if you want to keep it docked at a marina, or else you’ll have to pay to keep it in dry dock somewhere. The point is that you’ll never get the same money out of it that you put in. So if you’re looking at it as a purely monetary investment, it is indeed a terrible one. But if you’re going to get a lot of enjoyment out of your water craft, then you might consider that any additional funds you don’t get back were spent on the entertainment value, perhaps making it a worthwhile investment after all.

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