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Ownership Costs

Splurge & Save

There’s a myth that you have to be rich to afford boating. And it’s just that—a myth. The reality is, as with any activity, you can spend a lot—but you don’t NEED to. In fact, the ability to "go overboard" in the fun department, while going easy on your budget is one of the best things about owning a boat! Save often enough—and you can even afford to splurge once in a while! It’s entirely up to you.

Here’s a look at ways you can enjoy boating, whether you want to go all out or pare down expenses.

Dining

Dining

There’s something about being out on the water—even if it’s for a leisurely cruise—that works up an appetite.

  • Splurge: After a long day of boating, you may be ready for a break. Dock-n-dine or waterside restaurants let you eat and continue to enjoy the water. Only downside is you have to pay for the privilege.
  • Save: Make dining a part of the fun! Pack a picnic basket, drop anchor and eat on the boat, or dock at a picnic area. If you have an onboard stove or grill—fire it up. Cooking aboard your boat.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

One of the best things about boating is chance to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you choose to splurge or save on your sightseeing, remember that taxes on marine fuel may be refundable. Learn more.

  • Splurge: Cruise the coast all day. Circumnavigate the lake. Travel up and down the river. All great ways to explore beyond the shore; fueling your fun can add up fast though. Be sure to consider the cost of a tank of gas in your plans.
  • Save: Have a "float plan" ready: get a map of the area, choose a few destinations and determine the most fuel-efficient way to get there. Once there, drop anchor, fish, swim, float in tubes or soak up the sunshine from the deck. Learn more.

Lodging

Lodging

Exploring distant shores and waterways? Then you’ll need to plan for overnight stays.

  • Splurge: Book a room at a nearby hotel or stay at a lodge or resort on the water. Expect to pay a premium for view of the water and/or a slip for your boat.
  • Save: Stay aboard your boat. Tuck in below when night falls and let the waves lull you to sleep. Plus, if your boat has a galley, berth and head, it may qualify for a tax-deduction. Learn more.

No berth on your boat? No worries. Camp on the beach (check local laws first) or at a campground. Find campgrounds.

Fishing

Fishing
  • Splurge: Hire a fishing guide or charter a boat. It’s a great way to discover where to fish, try different equipment and learn new techniques. Yes, it will cost you—but you’re likely to catch more fish with an experienced guide.
  • Save: Most fishermen love to share their fish stories—it’s a trait you can use to your advantage. Talk to the locals—they’ll to be able to tell you where the hot spots are. Buying bait? Ask what the fish are hitting this week. You’re sure to get some good advice—and all it costs is the time it takes to listen to their tales!