Originally Posted by CaptainFredGreenfield
So answer this:
How much is a $20k boat worth after 5 seasons seeing 60 days a season onboard, with no cleaning, maintenance, upgrades, etc?
I don't know about where you are, but boats that see "no cleaning, maintenance, upgrades" in five years are not the norm anywhere I've been (with the possible exception of some of the free anchorages in Florida).
In fact, I'd call them the bottom 1-2% of sailboats.
I understand your purpose in writing your advice article, but I think you'd be more convincing giving typical experiences with boats.
For instance, say that like any other physical asset, boats come with ongoing expenses, e.g.,
- regular cleaning,
- wax once or twice a year,
- engine oil & filter changes semi-annually,
- mooring or slip rental and possibly winter storage,
- haul and bottom paint every year or two,
- a coat of varnish on brightwork once or twice a year,
- make provision for longer term replacements:
--- dacron sails may have a useful life of 4000 hours
--- wire rope standing rigging should be professionally inspected at 10 years
--- older engines may need valve jobs and other serious maintenance
--- deck fittings should be rebedded every 5-10 years
and so on...
Then, rather than some blanket statement that a sailboat costs $X per year, let people know what's involved and let them figure out if it's in their budgets for the boat they have their eye on.
And let them know that except for the wealthiest sailors, we all do some degree of our own maintenance and save on the cost. Point out the resources available, for instance, all the books and magazines and sites like this that cover boat maintenance.
I'll also suggest getting away from those "the boat costs $X per year, if it is not sold after 5 years" statements. They're meaningless. For instance, would you say a $250,000 house costs $50,000 per year if you don't sell it after 5 years?
As many have said here, we buy distress saled boats where the last owner got in over their head and is wearing that boat and can't afford it. In the case of my Coronado, I bought it for 2,000. In working clean condition its worth 8-12k. How much depreciation is that? You tell me.
That is stuff that a novice doesn't think about.
I've seen a lot of run down boats, and the only two stories I've run across is either:
- The boat's been owned for decades by the same guy, who's gotten old and doesn't have the interest or energy to maintain it, or the heart to sell it (a variation is a useless kid inherits a good boat and lets it go to pot), or,
- Someone buys a boat on a whim, takes it out a time or two and realizes they just don't like it, then lets it sit until they're forced to sell.
I haven't yet seen a run down boat that was that way because the novice owner wasn't keeping it cleaned and maintained due to cost.
If it was the novice buyers getting into financial trouble and losing their boats, you'd expect lots of repossesions. But it doesn't seem to be happening. If fact, maybe the opposite is the case. Soundings magazine in August
interviewed a boat repo man:
“I would say 99 percent of the time the boats repossessed are power, and I’ve been in the business for 16 years,” Ferguson, 50, says. “I can’t say for sure why, but it seems that those looking for a sailboat are more cautious buyers.”
What's the ratio of powerboats to sailboats? About 90:10? It appears that sailors just aren't getting into the financial difficulty that your article suggests.
And in this thread we haven't seen droves of novice sailboat owners saying they couldn't afford their boats, so let them die of neglect, have we?
Yes, owning a sailboat cost money, but it's not nearly as dire a situation as your original article made it sound. I think that's what most of the reaction has been about.