At Val Wyatt Marine, we understand just how significant an investment is required for people looking to purchase their first boat or those owners looking to upgrade their existing vessels. This is the driving factor behind our commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience.

To ensure this, we have assembled a talented and knowledgeable team who are passionate about the boats we sell and those we maintain for our ongoing client base. They are always on-hand to provide advice and share best practice – including those important questions about life after buying a boat and the true cost of ownership! Therefore, we have worked together to collate some valuable information to help customers understand how much it costs to own a boat.

Moorings and trailer boat storage

Congratulations, you purchased the perfect boat but now you need a place to store it. You’ll find that prices for moorings and storage will largely depend on the popularity of location, as well as the amenities provided on-site. For instance, you’ll find some of the UK’s most expensive mooring prices in The Solent on the south coast, whilst the cost will typically be cheaper in the north of England and Scotland.

Just one lock from Henley-on-Thames, we are based in an incredibly popular area where demand is naturally high, however, customers do have the luxury of choosing from several local marinas. We are fortunate to be able to offer a wide range of premium facilities, including beautiful and well-kept grounds, electricity and water, spacious parking, secure electronic gate access, toilets and showers, recycling and rubbish disposal, plus access to The Cwtch – our fantastic coffee shop and kitchen.

Whilst we cannot speak for other local marinas, our mooring prices certainly offer value for money, and all include VAT.

Annual mooring – including winter hard standing, lift, chock, and relaunch – is currently £420 per metre per year in the marina. The trailer boat storage annual fee, including unlimited use of our slipway between April to October, is currently £270 per metre per year. You can view our full price list for the 2021/22 season here (we update our pricing each year on 1st April).

Winter storage

Whilst visits to a marina will be less frequent during the colder months of the year, boat owners will still be required to pay for winter storage.

At Val Wyatt Marine, those boat owners already paying the annual mooring fee (detailed above) are not required to pay anything else for a lift relaunch or storage on the hard standing. However, there is a surcharge for undercover winter storage (£122 per metre) – which is decided on a first come, first serve basis.

For those boat owners who already have their own summer moorings space outside of our marina but still require a safe and dry space to store their boat over the winter months, we charge £210 per metre (for six months inclusive of lift, chock and relaunch). For inside, undercover storage we charge £322 per metre.

Boat maintenance costs

You’ll find the majority of boat owners will want to use the quieter months of the year to protect their investment and carry out maintenance on their vessels. Whilst minor maintenance work can be relatively reasonable, it is recommended that owners ensure they create a fund to cover any larger repair projects, and therefore avoiding any delays or unwanted surprises.

You can find our standard maintenance and cleaning services here, including compound and polishing topsides (£35 per metre), and compound and polish superstructure (£75 per metre). We also offer a broad portfolio of cleaning and repair services, which are priced on demand, including internal valet, fibreglass repairs, teak clean and hood replacements/repairs.

The cost of a Boat Licence and Insurance

If you regularly read our blog, you may be aware that we recently published an insightful article exploring who needs a boat licence, which navigation authority manages which river, and what a boat owner requires to get a licence – and you’ll be pleased to know we also included information on estimated costs. The price of licences will change depending on which navigation authority you’re buying from, the length of the licence, and the size/spec of the boat in question. The Canal & River Trust provide a clear example of this scale here – ranging from £56 up to £1262 for a 12-month licence. The Environment Agency, who manage the River Thames, have a separate scale for their waterways, found here.

As you’d expect, the cost of boat insurance will also dramatically vary depending on the boat itself. Owners of less valuable vessels may opt for third party only policies, which can cost around the £100 mark.

Boat Safety Scheme

As per our licencing article, the Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) is a public safety initiative owned by the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency. It is designed to “help minimise the risk of boat fires, explosions, or pollution harming visitors to the inland waterways, the waterways’ workforce and any other users”, and acts similarly to an MOT for a car. An independent examiner will charge approximately £200 for a cabin cruiser – again varying by boat. For more information, you can read our post here.

How much does it cost to fuel a boat?

This is such a tricky subject as there are so many differentials!

The majority of boats we sell (both offshore and river cruising) are powered by diesel, however we do stock vessels that consume petrol (for instance, outboard powered Corsiva models), whilst electric boats are now growing in popularity.

Just like a car, the cost to the owner will be largely dependent on the amount of time they spend on the water. It is extremely difficult to determine consumption rates on boats, but most Interboats will last with one tank full of diesel for the entire season. For example, an Intender 820 has a 60 litre fuel tank, at about £1.40/litre that would equate to £84 for the season.

Having said that, if you put that amount into a boat with a larger engine on the coast, you could spend that in just a single weekend.

Variable costs for boat owners to consider

To understand the true cost of owning a boat, it is important to consider how you intend to use the boat and the frequency. It can be easy to forget the additional costs associated with everyday use, such as emptying the toilet, or if gas is required to heat the boat or for cooking purposes. Also taking on an older boat is of course likely to need more repairs and maintenance that one that is brand new and under warranty.

A rough rule of thumb

At Val Wyatt Marine, we often use a general rule of thumb to help new boat owners to better understand the full cost of ownership. In our experience, if they are to budget for “double their mooring fee”, that would cover all costs of boat ownership – including mooring, general maintenance (cleaning, polishing, antifouling), insurance, a river licence, fuel, engine servicing, safety certification, as well as longer-term requirements, such as new canopies. This also considers any depreciation.

You could argue this basic formula may be overly cautious for a brand-new open day boat, where there are less systems or parts to maintain, but it provides a useful guide to a potential new boat owner.

For instance, a Haines 32 Sedan, measuring 9.75m would roughly cost:

  • Annual mooring fee: £420 x 9.75m = £4,095
  • Additional costs of maintenance, insurance, fuel, depreciation: £4,095
  • Total average cost to budget each year: £8,190

We understand calculating the cost of owning a boat for the first time can be a tricky task – and we hope this article has been informative and helpful. However, if you have any additional questions, you can contact our team by phone (01189 40321) or by filling out this form.