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The pros and cons of owning a boat!

Owning a boat - a classic yacht
Sexy boat, empty wallet

On the Quora website we saw an interesting question: what are the pros and cons of owning a boat? That’s not an easy answer! Here we will attempt to answer the question as simply as possible. 

A hole in the water to throw money in?

There is a well known grumble among boat owners that a boat is a hole in the water to throw money in! They do say that owning a boat costs around 10% of its value every year. That’s right on a newer boat of €100,000 or so but quite wrong when it comes to a €20,000 boat as the mooring costs will be similar, as will the engine servicing costs. The older boat will have things like rot, corrosion and osmosis (depending on the hull material) that will hit you hard. 

Expect to pay at least €7,000 a year on any boat of around 10-15 metres in length. The more you learn how to avoid the marine tradesmen the better as their hourly rates can make a grown man weep, so the committed boat owner will learn everything from advanced engine maintenance to marine electrics and rigging. Do bear in mind if you rewire your boat yourself and expect to sell it on, that could impact its value negatively!

Classic boat owners do it for the love

Classic boats are the jewels of the sea. A well kept wooden boat can draw admirers from afar just to look at the hull’s lines and rigging. They don’t make them like they used to! However, older boats can be pigs to sail and require biceps the size of horses’ legs. They suck your bank dry like no drug addicted teenage son could dream of doing, and need constant maintenance. But as you once did the human love of your life, so you will polish the shiny bits until they wink at you, and groan in pleasure as she takes the wind in her off-white sails. They look good at the best parties too!

Not just classic boat owners!

Most boat owners aren’t wealthy. They have a love of getting out there. You see dawns and sunsets that you never ever see ashore, and have adventures that short of walking across the Sahara you never could on land – without travelling even 50 miles. Every year you will get ‘that moment’ where the crew are on the windward rail sharing something warming in a perfect Force 4 on the beam in bright sunshine, blasting along for a good few hours with shit eating grins on their faces. You share that moment together that collectively says, “Now, THIS is why I come sailing!”

October rain

If your memory is that powerful from that moment above then you will find sand blasting the hull in freezing October drizzle with no item of clothing on you warm or dry, actually quite rewarding. As a committed sailor you’re used to being wet to the bone, freezing cold and happy. That after all is what boat ownership is about – the good times make the bad times worth it all.

A year round commitment

As indicated above, even if you were wealthy when you bought the boat you won’t be ever again. Most people aren’t on six figure salaries who sail (many would leap at five) so you really need to view owning a boat as as much of a commitment as having a puppy or kitten. It is a 24/7/365 job. If you can’t believe that, wait for the next mega storm to come in – you will be at the berth making sure all is well before, and won’t sleep much that night before being late for work the next day (possibly a day late) while you check she’s in good order, and make good after the screamer has been through. 


This is where we get to talk a little bit about us! Crewing often comes from the boating community and that can mean the piss artist from the bar if desperate… or no one? Many an old salt’s plans have died on the dock for lack of crew. Pop by Onboard Space to recruit your next crew and maybe you will get to have that cracking day out on your classic yacht, or just get her delivered to the next cruising ground.