Navigating Your Boat Purchase

April 18, 2024 by Chevron Federal Credit Union

Dreaming of spending your weekends on the open waters in your own boat? Buying a new watercraft is more than just fulfilling a dream; it requires careful consideration to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable experience both on and off the water.

Before you set sail on your boat-buying journey, take the time to understand these key factors.

Budgeting beyond the purchase price

There are many costs associated with owning a boat that go beyond the purchase price. It's crucial to consider the long-term costs to ensure your financial readiness. By planning and creating a budget, you're taking a smart step toward an enjoyable and successful journey of boat ownership.

Factor in maintenance and repair costs

Regular maintenance is vital to keep your boat in top condition. This includes tasks such as cleaning, engine servicing, hull inspections, and electrical system checks. Be sure to factor in these costs:

  • Regular cleaning: Keeping your boat clean is not just about aesthetics; it's also essential for preventing the buildup of dirt, grime, and marine growth that can compromise its performance and durability.
  • Engine servicing: This includes tasks such as changing the oil and oil filter, replacing fuel filters, inspecting belts and hoses, and checking fluid levels. Depending on the type of engine (inboard, outboard, or sterndrive) and its usage, you may also need to perform more extensive maintenance tasks such as tuning, winterization, and periodic inspections by a qualified mechanic.
  • Hull inspections: Inspecting the hull of your boat regularly is essential for detecting any signs of damage, corrosion, or structural issues that could compromise its seaworthiness.
  • Electrical system checks: Having a professional address any electrical issues promptly can prevent malfunctions or failures that could compromise safety or functionality while on the water.
  • Potential repairs: Boats are subject to wear and tear and may require repairs over time. Budgeting for potential repairs is essential to cover unexpected expenses like engine malfunctions, hull damage, or electrical issues.

Don’t forget insurance

Boat insurance typically includes liability coverage, which protects you in case you cause damage to someone else's property or injure another person while operating your boat. Boat insurance policies offer various coverage options and endorsements that can be tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

These may include:

  • Hull coverage: Provides coverage for physical damage to the boat itself, including repairs or replacement in case of accidents or damage.
  • Personal property coverage: Covers personal belongings and equipment onboard the boat, such as electronics, fishing gear, and water sports equipment.
  • Medical payments coverage: Reimburses medical expenses for injuries sustained by you or your passengers while on the boat.
  • Uninsured/underinsured boater coverage: Protects you in case of accidents involving other boaters who are uninsured or underinsured.

The cost of insurance can vary based on the type and value of the boat, your boating experience, and where you plan to operate the vessel.

Consider docking fees

If you plan to keep your boat at a marina or yacht club, you'll need to budget for docking fees. These fees can vary depending on the location, size of the boat, and amenities provided by the marina. Additionally, some marinas may charge extra for services such as electricity hookups, water supply, and waste disposal.

Don’t forget fuel

The fuel efficiency of your boat, its engine size, and your cruising speed all impact fuel consumption. Additionally, fuel prices can fluctuate seasonally and regionally.

By budgeting effectively, recognizing your boating needs, and understanding ongoing costs ahead of time, you can set yourself up for a smoother boating experience.

If you're ready to embark on your boat-buying journey, contact Chevron Federal Credit Union to explore loan options and make your dream of boat ownership a reality. Smooth seas await!


From everyday finance to life’s big money moments, it’s better when you belong.