Are Yachts just Expensive Boats?

After reading Dan Gray’s article on Bill Gates’s Yacht, I felt compelled to ask my LinkedIn network: What are the costs involved in owning a private yacht? It has to be more complicated than owning a car, right? 🙂


Here’s some good information on asociated costs: Yacht Survey

Geof Lambert:

Anybody who has had one will surely tell you a boat is nothing more than a hole in the water in which to pour money!!

Do yourself a favor and CHARTER, CHARTER, CHARTER!!! or at least just get a fractional.

Allan Bernstein:

Besides the carrying costs of the original note, there is insurance, docking or storage fees, marina power / utility charges, regular maintenance (oil / filter changes, washing / waxing, minor repairs), fuel, crew, and the list goes on.

There are variables such as: how big a private yacht?, Gas or diesel? How much do you plan on using it? etc.

Paying to dock a yacht at any marina is charged by the foot. While tied up, generators must constantly be running (for A/C, bilge pumps, etc.). A qualified captain will cost $10,000 per foot per year. If the yacht is big enough, it’ll warrant a crew as well, possibly a cook. If used in a salt water environment, regular washing / waxing is necessary. Parts on yachts are substantially more expensive than on automotive counterparts.

As mentioned in previous answers: Boats are a hole to throw your $$ in to. Fractional ownership is a great alternative…it’s like a time share condo. It’s a very common practice with private jets as well as private yachts.

Jason Wenn:

As a crew member I can tell you that owning a yacht is like standing in a cold shower tearing up $100 bills.

I assume your referring to sail – if so, your costs will depend on whether you’re racing or not. Most racing yacht owners I’ve sailed with suggest you need to be prepared to spend up to 20% of your purchase costs each and every year.

Dennis Cadorniga:

Chris, I install and configure SAT-NAV systems on 100’+ yachts for a boat builder client of mine and he tells me that its about 10% of the purchase price of the yacht per year to run it. He has a 127′ yacht and it costs him about $900K per year. Regards, Dennis

John Griffiths:

I wouldn’t know, you obviously have more money than me 😉

Seriously, I’d think you’d have to take into account:

mortgage costs (unless you own it outright), mooring charges (where you’re going to permanently anchor the vessel and money put aside for when you go sailing), supplies (wouldn’t be much but beware of perishable items), monthly / yearly servicing (to scrape the barnacles off the hull and check that everythings safe), electricity / water / gas (for onsite charging of batteries, etc.), insurance (for worst case scenarios, don’t know about storm insurance), and hiring of the crew, training needed, etc.

It really depends on what your considering running, if it’s a small thing then your talking maybe £500 a year (?), but a large one may run into 5-15k. I’d think your most important things would have to be insurance and mooring charges; the rest you can wing it on. Hope this helps, John.

Andre Fraser:

Hi Chris,

I don’t own a yacht. I do have friends who own yachts. Some like it and some wish they did not have a yacht ever. There is one alternative way to own a yacht without the overhead of cleaning, docking and insurance cost. J/Port is a yacht club share run by J/Boats ( Take a look at their FAQ here: In essence, you pay about $5000/year to share the yacht.

Aaron Wester:

It’s like having a big RV. It’s got great features and is very comfortable, however it never gets used because it costs too much to operate and is too difficult to drive. 😉


Anthony Hempell

I think yachts fall into the category of “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

I don’t t hink I’m gonna be able to afford it anytime soon, either. 🙂