man maintaining his boat with a new light

How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Boat?

Published in Boat Insurance

For many Nova Scotians, boating is a passion worth pursuing. That’s no surprise. After all, Nova Scotia is affectionately known as “Canada’s Ocean Playground.” Perhaps you are new to the boating scene, or maybe you have your eye on a new or used boat that would be just perfect for you. In addition to the cost of buying a boat, there is always one common question – how much does it cost to maintain a boat? In this blog, we provide some guidance on this question.

Annual Boat Maintenance Costs

Like a car, a boat also carries yearly maintenance costs, and these vary based on the type of boat and how often it’s used. Costs for these services depend on the boat and engine size, the local area, fresh or saltwater usage, and the type of storage. Here’s a summary of the maintenance cost you will incur:

  • You will have engine maintenance costs like gas, oil, spark plugs, etc. Gas is the big one. Powerboats are real gas guzzlers, and with gas pricing being what they are, you can expect to pay plenty at the pumps. Of course, sailboats are a lot easier on gas.
  • You’ll need a Pleasure Craft Operator Card when operating motorized vessels – regardless of age, size of boat or engine horsepower. It’s the law.
  • Ongoing cleaning and interior / exterior repairs.
  • As you prepare your boat for a new season, you’ll have hull maintenance, spring make-ready expenses and launch. Saltwater is harsher on a boat and engine than freshwater – so keep that in mind.

Boat Storage & Marina Fees

With our seasonal climate, summer and winter storage are two very different necessities in Nova Scotia. Winter storage typically involves winterization prep for the engine and boat and a durable cover to protect the boat from weather damage. If you can not store your boat on your property, you should consider renting inside storage. Inside winter, boat storage is typically charged per foot of boat length.

Costs for in-season storage range by location and waterway.  If you keep the boat at a marina, you will incur monthly costs for those months of storage; fees will vary depending on whether the marina includes cleaning and maintenance charges.  After the boating season, you’ll have to consider all the costs of winterizing, including a “haul-out service” if not keeping in the water year-round. As a helpful reference, check out the Dartmouth Yacht Club Membership Dues & Fees.

Boat Equipment and Safety Accessories

Whether you own a sailboat or motorboat, you know it is essential to be safe. Safety gear such as life jackets, signal flares, paddles, and more are necessary.   For additional accessories, no need to get everything all at once. A good idea is to “treat your boat” every spring with a new piece of equipment or upgrade your accessories like stereos, lighting, watersports towing equipment, etc…  And check out our boating safety tip blog to make sure you’re ready to go.

What does Boat Insurance cost?

Like all insurance, boat insurance depends on the condition of your vessel and the level of coverage you want. Many factors are used to set the cost of a policy, and they vary among insurers. Here are some items to consider:

  • Where are to planning to use your boat?
  • Have you been formally trained or certified in boat safety?
  • What is your driving record – both boating and driving?
  • Do you require towing insurance?
  • and more

In terms of the policy deductible, this is most often set at 1% of the hull value.  The liability limit also does not make a big difference, as most insurance providers automatically set this at $2 million.  In this blog, Bauld Insurance Managing Advisor with 20 years of boat insurance experience, Dawn Marie Penney, shares her insights on what a boat insurance policy covers.

Bauld Insurance has a long history of serving Nova Scotians with marine and boat insurance, a true leader in this market. Contact us, we’re here to help.

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