Most Commonly Overlooked Boating Expenses

On March 12, 2017 by Josh

If you’ve just purchased your first boat, congratulations! Weather the purchase was for recreational or enterprising reasons, you will soon come to understand why boat owners quickly develop a strong bond with their vessels.  In terms of maintenance costs, most first time boat buyers factor in insurance, fuel, and docking/storage fees.

There are however a few more fees to consider which will not only maximize your boat’s performance, but also extend the life of your vessel. From things as simple as washing your boat, to marine electrical services, this guide will bring to light a few things your annual checklists may not have previously included.

Security System

Most people don’t really consider boat security.  The reality is that boats at dock are pretty easily accessible, as are many of the upgrades and luxury add-ons found on deck.   Furthermore, if a boat is placed in storage for the off season, a would-be burglar knows you probably won’t even notice the vessel is missing until the return of the season.

Even keeping your boat right in your driveway for safekeeping might not be a great option. Unfortunately, it’s much like leaving a home theater system in your driveway.  Its value is obvious and with the right tools, it’s not so difficult to abscond with.  Having a security system in place is a great deterrent and could even earn you an insurance discount.

Mechanical/Electrical Checkups

Ann annual mechanical checkup will review everything from fuel line cracks to engine leaks.  While it is great practice to inspect your entire mechanics after each use, an annual inspection might find potential problems you may have overlooked.  For example, perhaps there is a worn spot you have missed in a fuel line that a seasoned mechanic would quickly find and repair for much less than what it would cost after the line fully cracks and lets water into the fuel lines.

Just like a vehicle, you’ll need oil changes and mechanical fluid flushes or top offs. You also want to check electrical systems for corrosion, proper bundling and grounding, as well as ensure it still meets all other safety standards.

Annual Safety Upgrades and Repairs

This section includes making annual checks on all safety equipment.  Checking the condition, quantity, and location of all fire extinguishers, along with things such as kitchen ventilation systems, condition and presence of a secondary anchor, life preservers, flares, first aid kits, and even ensuring an emergency stash of fresh water, flashlights, batteries, rope and matches. As you use these items, or they expire, you’ll need to replace them.  It might also be wise to install an updated navigation system.


You may not have considered that an object living in water, needs to be cleaned after every use, however washing your boat with fresh water and a mild soap after every use, will prevent corrosion of metals and temporarily stay your need for a paint job.

Ultimately, every boat has a shelf life, but like most things we have some control in extending the life of our possessions if we take the time to properly maintain them.  As the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Leave a Reply