Sailboat Cost in the US

How Much Does a Sailboat Cost in the US? How can you estimate the sailboat cost you just saw in the marina? Is there any way to get a precise quote for vessels in the US? What is the actual story behind the 10% rule when buying a used or new sailboat? Find the answers here…

Sailboat Cost in the US

Sailboat Cost in the US

In this post, Sailingyes is offering all the information you need to find out how much does a sailing boat cost. In fact, we have some formulas that will turn you into boat pricing experts of yours.

It’s never easy to make a big purchase not being afraid of the sequences of your choice. So, it’s understandable that you want to have a solid grasp of the financial index of this industry before buying a sailboat. This manual, however, is exactly what you need to set the ball rolling and get your head around the quotes!

If, for whatsoever reason, you like the shortcuts, here’s a guide on how to buy a fishing boat for under $20,000.

How Much Does a Sailing Boat Cost in the United States?

There’s no definite answer to that. Boat costs vary based on many different factors. The price tags may start from $10,000 for a used boat and go as high as $10,000,000 for a new luxury yacht. So, it’s like asking how much does a Mercedes car costs? It’s not a rational question until you offer more specific details such as the model, manufacturing date, etc.

The same thing is true for a sailboat. You must include as many factors as possible to get a precise quote. Otherwise, the numbers you get will be more of confusion rather than any helpful data.

Here’s an example: we tried to compare two different yachts of the well-known company, C & C Yachts based on Small and Large Sailing Yacht Costs 2019 Report. The first model was a 2011 33-feet C & C 99 with an additional 2019 tri-axel 35-feet trailer while the other one was the 1995 C & C 36/SL – with the same trailer. We tried to ask for quotes in two different regions, California, and Texas to see if the geographical parameters will affect the prices or not. The average retail value we got for the first sailboat (C & C 99) was $119,980—the trailer cost included. However, the second watercraft (C & C 36/SL) came out to have the halve of base value with a price tag of $69,080—again, the trailer cost included.

As you can see in the above example, the two vessels almost had the same size but a change in year and model cut the prices into halves. That’s why giving a precise quote is difficult when it comes to watercraft. Other variables that affect the sailing boat price tags are explained below.


Mark-Up Rates on a Sailing Boat

  • Commissions: This is probably the biggest share of the additional sailboat prices. The commissions include 10 to 20% of the retail price of a vessel. This mark-up rate obviously is higher for new boats. So, buying a used one will help you cut back on the budget in regards to commission rates.
  • After-market installations by the dealer: this is a negotiable number depended on additional equipment of the watercraft. However, as a rule of thumb, it’ll cost up to 40% of the boat value.
  • Labor: 20% of your expenses are going to be labor-related.
  • Broker commissions on used sailing boats: as mentioned earlier, the commission rates are lower for used watercraft. In fact, the commission rate on a used sailboat is 10% of the overall value.

After-Sales Costs

These may seem like factors to consider after buying a sailboat. However, a smart sailor would think about the next step and make up their mind accordingly. So, if you don’t want to end up paying unbearable fees after the purchase, think about these elements.

  • One-time fees: some expenses would not bother you after the first payment. The Sail tax, for instance, is a fee that you’ll only need to pay one time throughout the time. However, it’s wise to consider them when trying to purchase watercraft.
  • Recurring fees: by contrast to the previous example, some bills that will need once-a-while payments. The storage fee, personal property taxes, slip rental, and insurance fees are some examples of such expenses. All the recurring expenses are vital and you won’t be able to neglect them. So, if the bills look extra heavy to you, don’t push yourself into further troubles.
  • Annual fees: as a rule of thumb, 10% of the sailboat worth is equal to its annual fees. So, if you buy a sailing boat that costs $120,000 the yearly expenses will be approximately $12,000. By the way, new vessels come in various warranty policies which makes them have different price tags. But since the used ones don’t have such documentation (i.e. warranty), you’ll end up paying less. All you should do is to indicate that the used watercraft seller must pay for the initial repairments before finalizing the contract.

Sailboat Cost Estimating Tool

Sailboat Cost Estimating Tool

It’s not possible to get an exact quote without having specific details like boat type, brand, manufacturing year, etc. in mind. However, thanks to old-fashioned ways combined with modern technology, you can estimate the boat price yourself.

If, for whatsoever reason, you can’t consult a broker to get quotes, use these tools.

NADA Guides:

National Automobile Dealers Association has been a confidential source for vessel/vehicle pricing in the US. The organization is known for precise cost evaluations and regular charter updates. Now, you can use their website, choose a certain type of watercraft, indicate the year, size, and additional accessories to get the best value estimation.

Since you can add a trailer type to the evaluation process, getting a final quote is much easier. There are 1,800+ manufacturers to choose from as well as an option to categorize them by popularity.

You choose the and select the desired company/brand. Now, indicate the year and pick one vessel to start the next stage. Next, enter your zip code to allow the website to get the quotes based on the region you live in. In the proceeding stage, select the equipment or additional device if necessary. Or, use the ‘get the base values’ option to skip this part. Finally, pick the outboard motor and trailer (it’s optional) and then press the submit button. An evaluation report will pop up afterward.

NADA Boats Pricing Guide:

This book can be your go-to when it comes to watercraft pricing. The NADA updates the fees and costs three times per year. That means the information you get on this guide is always according to the latest financial index of the boating industry in the US.

However, you don’t have to buy it every 4th month or so to stay tuned. In fact, online access is available for all United States citizens. You can subscribe to their online version of the pricing guidebook and benefit from the unlimited right of use.

Classified Ads:

This one is more of an old-fashioned method of getting a quote than a modern one. However, it still works! Keep an eye on classified ads and compare them manually to get a solid grasp of the industry index. There are lots of online sailing magazines in the U.S that are actually free. You can utilize them as a resource to have access to the watercraft sale ads and keep track of them effortlessly.

The 10% Rule in Buying a Used or New Sailboat

The 10% Rule in Buying a Used or New Sailboat

If you want to know how one could determine the best possible budget for buying a sailing boat, use the 10% rule. According to this rule, you should always buy a watercraft that is worth ten percent below your actual budget. That said, if the plan, for instance, is spending $100,000 on purchasing a sailing boat, your final choice must be a $90,000 boat.

That 10% will become your backup budget for the additional expenses, insurance, and extra equipment installation. Every professional boater knows that there’s no end to expenses when you own a watercraft. So, even purchasing a brand-new sailboat wouldn’t save your butt.

For this reason, you must create your own backup plan (by saving 10% of the budget) and warranty your future. However, since yachts have higher one-time, recurring, and annual fees, it’s recommended to prospective buyers to save 20% of their budget when purchasing such crafts.

How Boat History Report Affects the Sailboat Price?

This report would show you what parts of the vessel are changed, replaced, and/or repaired. So, the results will directly affect the sailboat cost and give more room for negotiations. Usually, a lucky purchaser will get the chance to pay 10% less after this assessment process. A luckier one, however, will come up with a clean sheet after the inspection and buy a well-functioning watercraft.

Indeed, this information indicates if a boat has experienced any accidents, collisions, submerges, runarounds, fire incidents, etc. So, you’d be able to ask for a lower price after getting this documentation.

Most of the used boats—especially those with fiberglass body—have something to hide from you. That’s why trusting in verbal promises and advertisements shouldn’t be an option for a prospective buyer. Instead, any bargain hunter must ask a professional inspector to assess the vessel and write an official report on its overall condition. Otherwise, chances are big to end up paying more for a vessel which is not worth it.

Reference (s):

Sailing Fundamentals


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