The costs of sailing

Today is Aegir’s turn to write some lines after Vellamo has written so many interesting stories.  I would like to write about the running costs that one could expect and look at the things that have an impact on those costs. My perspective is that of a boat owner. I hope that the costs will give some hints to compare to other ways of enjoying boating such as renting or joining a cruise.

The biggest costs in boating as an owner will be in the beginning the boat itself. The range of pricing is as wide as the range of boats. Various features play a role in the price: motor or sailing boat, age of the engine, age of the hull, condition of the boat and its equipment, location (does it need to be transported over land, is it at a lake or at the sea), how long has the boat been for sale etc. As with many higher investment goods there is a possibility to bargain.

Many boats are sold together with all the needed safety gears and other important boating gear. Those items alone if bought new have a big value which should be considered also when trying to evaluate a fair price (as seller as well as buyer). If you buy the boat from a private person you often get the gear where the boat rests if it is put on the land as well. Those gears are usually very heavy and if not on wheels difficult to move.

There are some administrative fees to register the boat which is necessary when the boat changes ownership. In our case that has been 35 EUR which is a one time fee and can be neglegted compared to the price of the boat.

Once you have a boat the minimum expense you will have is the storage fee for the boat on land. In our club the storage for the winter is 140 EUR.  This fee is probably the same for summer so the minimum running costs for a boat would be for us about 300 EUR per year. The storage costs during winter depend again on the location and if it is e.g. on land or in a hall. Our boat is stored outside with a big plastic cover.

The boat would be however all the time on land which is not the point of a boat. In addition many mechanical systems would suffer from not being used and serviced e.g. the engine might rust if not used or winches rust if not serviced and used.

So lets talk about the boat in the water then. Our harbor spot costs 220 EUR for the summer season. The price varies on the location of the harbor and the size of the slot. There are private harbours, harbours owned by boating and navigation clubs and then harbours owned by cities.

Renting a crane and lifting the boat to the water is about 50 – 80 EUR and the same accounts for lifting the boat to land. If the boat is on a trailer, then the costs from that can be calculated.  Now we have the costs for the boat during winter and during summer at about 500 EUR.

An insurance is always a good idea and as above the type of boat sets the price of the insurance. New or big boats (up to 1500 EUR per year insurance) have higher rates than small or old boats. Also the size of the engine affects the costs. There are also quite big differences between insurance companies. For our boat we found an insurance for 95 EUR which is very little. Other insurance options were about 300 EUR per year. During the winter season when the boat is not being used, the cost of the insurance can be lowered by putting the boat on standby insurance.

One topic that can influence the insurance fee is the anunal checkup of the boat. It is not compulsory for pleasure boats but it offers various benefits. Checked boats can have lower insurance costs, have a higher reselling value and offer the feeling that all the necessary safety equipment is there.

If you have not yet a recent boating map you need to calculate that also (for us it was 65 EUR but it is valid a couple of years).

We are members in a sailing boat club and pay 80 EUR membership fee per year. This fee however, includes the annual checkup and a reduced fee for lifting the boat to and from the water.

Now we have a permanent place for our boat, we are insured and we have a map and have spent 700 EUR. Whats next?

If your boat has all the needed equipment the only running costs will be fuel, oil and supplies for the engine.

With our sailing boat we only use the engine to leave the harbor (10 min), get to the harbor (10 min)  and in case of calm winds. Last summer we filled the tank 2 times. The tank holds about 15 liters. With a price for the diesel you might look at a bill of about 60 EUR. Not bad I would say.

We change oil before the winter and add a new oil filter. We have about 2 liter of oil and the oil filter is about 15 EUR.

The rest of the costs can vary a lot of personal preferences and if there are major repairs, maintenance work or related to safety equipment.

Cost drivers for any boat are problems with the engine and the hull. A new engine can be several thousands of EUR.

For sailing boats cost intensive items are the sails (costs start at about 2000 EUR for a main sail and 1500 EUR for the genoa for our size of boat and more advanced sails are even more), the ropes for the sails (about 100 EUR each for a decent length) and the mast.

Our club has various cottages and harbors with sauna, fireplaces and beautiful landscapes that members can visit. The seasonal payment varies from 60 – 90 EUR. If one has not paid the fee it is possible to visit the place for a fee of 5 EUR per person. Last year we went at least 5 times there with friends. Already within three trips the money was back in.

The organisation Pidä saaristo siistinä (Roska-Roope) maintains stations for garbage disposal and other devices to clean the boat without harming the environment. This one is 30 EUR per year and a good investment in the environment in our opinion.

Some of the safety equipment that has expiry dates:

– fire extinguisher (16 EUR) good for 5 years and annual checkup (5 EUR)
– flares, torches and rockets (about 30-30 EUR each, 2 flares and 2 rockets are needed for our class of boat or 4 flares)

I have attached some general costs that we had during 2012

There is one re-appearing cost that is related to maintenance and value keeping but is not necessarily needed but highly recommended.
Cleaning and waxing the boat before the summer and before the winter. This requires at least one bottle of wax for about 3 layers of wax and some sponges and shining tissues. Together maybe 30-50 EUR. Cleaning can be done with water and if needed some special cleaning powder.

In total we have spent maybe 800 EUR per year and we can go wherever (around Näsijärvi) and whenever during the summer on a trip.

Below you find a list of costs that occured during 2012 excluding furnishing the boat to our liking.