Bass Boat Yearly Maintenance Costs: How Much Will it Cost to Keep Up?

When making a big purchase, such as a boat, it is important to not only know how much it will cost upfront but how much it will cost annually after the initial purchase. Maybe you can afford the initial cost, but you may not be able to afford the following yearly bills that stack up at the hand of your new prized possession. So, let’s look into these yearly costs and break them down to see if this is the right time for you to purchase the bass boat of your dreams.

So, how much will it cost to keep up your bass boat every year? Expect to pay 4% to 8% of the retail price of the boat for yearly maintenance costs. Although there are many different things that dictate how much money will need to be spent each year this rule of thumb is a good place to start.

So, that might be a good rule of thumb, but every boat owner is different, and more importantly, every boat is different. Each boat will have its own circumstances and situations that will cause different yearly maintenance needs and different yearly costs. Let’s dive in and look at some of the different yearly costs!

Yearly Maintenance and Costs

Those in the boating community know what boat really means, and that, of course, is Break Out Another Thousand. Boats tend to break down, need maintenance and constantly have new needs. That being said, it is crucial to plan the known yearly costs of the boat into your budget, as it will help create a bit of a nest egg for your money-hungry dream-come-true.

There may be more things that need yearly attention than you initially realized. That’s how it was for me at least! Between gas, registration, licensing, taxes, servicing and much more, these annual costs can stack up if they’re not accounted for.

The blog from the Mint website (which is a budgeting company) has an article by Julia Scott that does a great job of breaking down the different prices of things that need to be paid for when owning a boat. She claims that a rough estimate of the average annual cost of owning a boat is around $4,300 which balances out to about $358 a month. This break down of the costs really help to give people a formula to help them discover their monthly cost to see if they can truly afford it.

A lot of the yearly and monthly costs depend on where you live. There are different laws and gas prices everywhere, so it is important to not take these estimates as pure fact, but rather as an example to help you figure out your total cost.

According to, there are three types of tax having to do with boats. There is sales tax, use tax and personal property tax. Some states don’t have some of these. For example, Rhode Island doesn’t have sales tax on boats.

There is also insurance that needs to be paid. Julia from Mint, states that on average insurance price is about 1.5% of the boat’s insured value.

“[Insurance] rates are higher in hurricane-prone areas.”

Julia Scott

Registration rates will depend wholly on the state that you are paying them in. Some states only charge you a small fee while others cost you an arm and a leg. Be sure to research your state and find your states price. The website “Signs” has listed out a large amount of information on formalities and prices for boat registration for each state. Be sure to check out their site here and find your state!

Maintenance costs or servicing cost tend to cost about 10% of the retail price, and it needs to happen at least every year. While it might be costly to pay this price every year it is a lot cheaper than having to fix or repair things on the boat. It is better to pay someone to prevent and fix things while the problems are still small.

Different Options That Will Affect Cost

New Boat or Used Boat

While trying to stay light on the money one might be drawn to a used boat, in the aspect of yearly maintenance costs, new boats are actually much cheaper.

While first purchasing a boat you’ll need to decide if you want a brand new bass boat or one that has been used. A new boat will most certainly cost more to buy upfront than a used boat. But used boats have already had a life before they came into your hands which means that they are more likely to break down and have more surprise costs than a new boat. And it’s hard to say if a used boat was taken care of like it should have been.

With new boats, you lose this risk factor and gain the comfort of knowing that it will be a lot less prone to jump up at your randomly and ask for a couple of thousand dollars.

Mooring vs. Trailer

Another option you have when deciding how to take care of your boat is whether to pay for it to be kept at a marina (mooring) or pay for a boat trailer to transport your boat from your house to the water.

According to Better Boat, mooring your boat will be easier but more expensive while transporting your boat with a boat trailer will be the exact opposite; cheaper but harder. It all depends on how much effort you want to put in, options you have for storing your boat, and much more.

The cost of mooring your boat is quite vast depending on different situations and circumstances. Better Boat states that it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to more than $15,000 yearly. It can also take a really long time to move from the waitlist to the actual marina when paying for mooring. On the other hand, a boat trailer cost only about $2,000 to $5,000 (and it will last you a lot longer than just a year).

Cost of Winterizing

Winterizing your boat may include different things depending on where you live. Many people on the forums from places such as Florida or Hawaii joke that winterizing for them is where a jacket when you’re boating. But in all seriousness, it is crucial to winterize your boat as much as it needs to be. Whether your boat may be sitting for months at a time without use, or whether it has the chance of freezing, things need to happen in order to ensure the safety of the boat.

In order to winterize a boat, it needs to be hauled out of the water, cleaned, organized, shrink wrapped, looked at by a mechanic, and then stored away for the winter.

Many people in the boat community claim that these things can all be done by themselves, and some can! Surely the boat can be hauled out of the water and cleaned and stored without the help of a professional. Some even shrink wrap and check through the systems on their own! But for the most part, it is more cost efficient to pay someone to do these things for you.

With shrink wrapping alone, you can either pay someone around $8 to $18 a foot to come out to the boat and shrink wrap it for you, or you can buy all the equipment and gather the hands needed and do it yourself.

Especially when it comes to draining or replacing fuels and oils, or making sure pipes and wires don’t corrode or freeze, it can be reassuring to have a professional prepare your boat rather than you doing it yourself.

Julia Scott gives an estimate of around $2,000 per year on winterizing, but this, possibly more than any other category, will differ greatly depending on the size of the boat, type of boat, and where you live.

Related Questions

How much does a new bass boat cost on average? According to Fast Cast Rods, the average price of a new bass boat will range anywhere from $17,000 to $70,000. This range is so big because there are many things such as size, year, model and amenities that affect how much a boat will cost.

How often should I have my bass boat serviced? It is important to keep your boat healthy and happy as this will lower future cost of repair. It is suggested that every 12 months or every 100 hours your boat is serviced, whichever of those two comes first.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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