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Old 08-28-2010, 03:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
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My wife and I are considering purchasing a motorized yacht. We are concerned about hidden costs of ownership, since the purchase price of the yachts we are interested in seem to be reasonable (between $100 - 150K for a 40 - 50 foot motor yacht... please tell us if we can find something cheaper, too)...

Some of the questions we are hoping to have answered are:

1. What are the best makes/models to purchase for a first-time owner?

2. What is a reasonable cost for a 40 - 50 yacht which sleeps 4 or 5?

3. How much does gas cost? How often do you have to fill up the tank? How far can you travel before you have to refill? What is the approximate cost per month in gas?

4. How much are docking/harbor/marina fees? Are they one fee, are separate? What is "normal"?

5. How much does maintenence typically cost for a yacht of this size?

6. Which makes/models are the most fuel efficient (within the price range of around $100 - $150K)?

7. How often do you use your yacht?

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide. We are just concerned that we will purchase a yacht and then not be able to afford the maintenence and costs of running it. Thank you again.

Bill from Philadelphia

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Old 08-29-2010, 01:20 AM   #2
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We have lived aboard our boats for the past 24 years. Sailboat until 2004, now a power catamaran.

There's a lot of sticker shock with owning a power boat, and I'll try to answer your questions, though please understand that there are so very many boats out there that it behooves you to do a lot of research for yourself. However, here goes.

I notice that you are in Philadelphia. That means, I assume, that you would be using the boat during the spring and summer months, and hauling the boat out of the water for the winter.

Type of power boat. I really, really, encourage you to lower your sights to a boat more in the 35 to 40-foot range.

Then, there's defining what kind of boat you want. Do you want a trawler - maximum speed is usually about 12 knots, usually more like 8 knots. Our power catamaran falls into the "trawler" species, but because it is 34' long, and is very light, it cruises at about 12 knots. Fuel consumption is calculated at gallons per hour. The averaqe trawler seems to consume between 4 and 8 gallons per hour. (!) At the current diesel prices of $2.75 (or higher) per gallon, that's $11 to $22 per hour, or 3 miles/gallon, approx.

Go-fast boats are a lot more expensive to run, getting about 1 mile/gallon or less.

Keeping the boat in a marina. You should talk to marinas in the area you want to keep the boat, I would guess in your area it would be about $3600 for summer berthing, and electricity is usually metered nowadays. See one local marina's rates Philadelphia Marine Center Note the difference depending on the boat's length.

Then there's winter storage. That includes haul-out, blocking, storing the batteries off the boat, etc. A few thousand for that.

Bottom paint, replacing zincs. $500 or so. Changing the engine oil every 50 hours or so (4 to 8 gallons, depending on engines, are there one or two, etc.).

Operating in NJ waters, you will have to have a boating safety certificate

I recommend it. Driving a boat is not the same as driving a car. No brakes is probably the most significant difference. Then there's - no road signs, no roads. Understanding navigation aids. Reading navigation charts.

Phew! I don't mean to sound discouraging because I clearly love our lifestyle, but we didn't just jump in with a 40' plus boat. There's a lot to learn.

Now that I've rattled all that off, please ask questions. I think you might be wise to start with a smaller boat - 26' or so.

What do you see doing in the boat? Do you like to fish?

How much comfort do you need? What can't you live without?

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2010
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mate, you sound quite in the know, can you covert the same questions to suite northern australian waters, what about fuel tank size and water tank size



Graeme from the farside
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:20 PM   #4
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Fuel tank size. Though I'm no expert, it appears to me that fuel tank size on power boats are a function of the purpose of the boats. Sport fishing boats have tanks sufficient to get the people out to their fishing grounds 30 to 60 miles offshore, with enough fuel to troll all day and zoom home at the end of the day. The big pleasure boats that have a maximum cruising speed of about 8 knots or so seem to have very large fuel tanks. And the day-tripping fun boats probably have quite a bit less tankage since the boats are used to get people to a nice anchorage for the day, and return to their home slip at night. One can't specify optimum tankage without knowing the kind of boat and its primary purpose (so to speak) and its fuel efficiency.

Water tankage. One of the cruising community's favorite obsessions, and no, I'm not trying to trivialize it. People have no idea just how much water is wasted in the average household; and so they have little idea of how to economize. Putting a watermaker on the boat seems to be the current solution to the perceived problem of water. It is an easy way to handle the water issue, but I'm not sure it's such a great idea in the long run, though we never went into Baja California where water is a huge issue. Watermelon arrived in Easter Island after a 19 day passage with water still in her tanks. Three people used less than 85 gallons over that almost 3 weeks. We occasionally had big water issues, but only once in our 18 years on sv Watermelon did we run out of water and worry about getting any. Of course, we had a salt water foot pump for doing dishes, and I was pretty conservative about our use of water, but I wasn't obsessive; I think anybody would do fine.

With all the electricity available on a power boat when moving, and the usual diesel generator available for when at anchor, a watermaker is a more reasonable accessory on a power boat, but except for some difficult areas such as the Bahamas or Baja California, I'm not sure it's worth the space and effort required to run and maintain it.

I'm an "it's relative" type of planner, and also a bit of a minimalist, so I hesitate to pronounce what fuel and water tankage "should be" on any boat. My sister would need 3 times the water that we use on our boat. My brother would be pleased as punch with our supplies. It is relative in my family, I figure it is the same throughout the cruising community.
In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

= Cruiser's Dictionary, North America,
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