Tuesday, May 6, 2014



One of these per month for BOAT EXPENSES?

Wow…... sorry it has been so long between blog posts, but I have been both busy and lazy.  We have been flying a bit more than usual here in SW Asia, but when I have had the time to blog, I found myself reading other cruising blogs instead of writing a post for this one.  

Continuing the series, "How Much Does It Cost to Cruise", if you haven't read the first three parts you can find them here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

For this post we are going to take a look at the BOAT EXPENSES.  Again, these categories and sub-categories are arbitrary, and certainly debatable, but the important thing is to include everything in some category.


This sub-category includes both diesel for the boat and gas for the dinghy motor.  Obviously, the more you motor, instead of sailing, the more fuel you will burn.  We motored more while cruising the last time than we plan to this time.  Before, we had limited amount of time and we wanted to see as much of the Exumas as we possibly could.  This time there will be no set schedule, so there should be much less motoring, therefore, lower fuel costs.  

We also included our dinghy gas and the diesel needed to run the generator in this category.  I don't see our dinghy fuel usage changing much, relative to what we used before, but our generator consumption will be less since we have solar panels and probably will have a wind generator.  We should have to run the genset rarely, mostly just when we need to make water.  

The budgeted amount for fuel is $1500 per year, or $125/month.  This is based on 330 gallons of total fuel for the year at $6.00 per gallon.  The current average price in the Bahamas at the time of this post is about $5.35/gallon.


This category will depend greatly on the age and the condition of the boat when cutting the dock lines to begin cruising.  If the boat is in tip-top condition, you will be spending less on maintenance…..by the same token, if the boat is in less than stellar condition, you will have much higher maintenance expenses and should plan on a higher maintenance budget.

Most of the equipment on our boat is either brand new, or, in the case of the engine, oven and stove, anchor windlass, and air conditioning has very low hours.  New sails, new electronics, new solar panels, new wind generator, almost new water-maker, anchor, anchor chain, and genset SHOULD insure that we don't have a lot of high dollar maintenance issues for a while.    

While there are always surprises, and things in the marine environment always require maintenance, the only significant maintenance PLANNED after we cast off the dock lines will be to replace the standing rigging.  We will probably do this within the next year or two.  We will also plan on hauling out an average of once every 18 months, and doing a bottom job every 2 to 3 years.  Based on research we are estimating an annual budget (over the first 5 years) of $7250 per year, or $605 monthly.


I almost put this item in the DISCRETIONARY SPENDING category, but decide to include it here.  Most marinas require liability insurance and some countries also require that you show proof of insurance when checking in.  The liability insurance is not that expensive, but full coverage is another story.  

If you are comparing a boat to a house the cost is about 4 to 5 times greater for the boat than for a house of equal value.  Yikes!  I can see the logic though, there are a lot more bad things that can happen to your boat than would happen to your house……the house certainly won't sink to the bottom of the ocean.  We don't have to carry full coverage insurance, but probably will.  The financial hit we would take if something catastrophic occurred and we lost the boat would be significant enough that we will protect ourselves by 'biting the bullet' and getting full coverage insurance.  The budgeted for this is $3600 per year, or $300 a month.


 One of these (a Grover Cleveland) plus……..

….one of these (U.S. Grant) per month.

$12,500 per year, or $1050 a month (rounded up slightly)

The next, and last, category is DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES.  Hopefully, I can get that post out in a more timely manner.

Thanks for reading and be careful out there!  


  1. Great series. I've just been adding up how much we've spent cruising in New Zealand so it is interesting to compare and get an idea of costs. Cheers - Ellen

    1. Thanks Ellen….when you get the computations completed, let us know how close the costs are to what we have posted. Sail safe-have fun!

  2. We came up with similar numbers. I think the two big wild cards are maintenance and discretionary spending (i.e. eating out, drinking, etc.). Both of those can add up quick. I am hopping to at least have all of the major maintenance supplies on the boat before we go so it will just cost time and not money. Easier to buy that stuff when your working than when you are watching every penny like a hawk.

    The discretionary spending will be a tough one. We blew close to a couple grand on a 9 day charter in the BVIs eating and drinking. That was a vacation not living so it's hard to compare that to when we go cruising but I could see some expensive weeks when friends come to visit or when we are in certain areas.

    Nice posts.

    Fair winds,


    1. Hey Jesse…..yes, the wild cards are maintenance and discretionary spending…..especially maintenance. I haven't started stocking spare parts yet….kinda dread it, cause money will flow fast. But, it is better to do it now here in the States than pay the extra $$$$ down island somewhere. Thanks for reading, and congrats on selling the house and moving aboard.

  3. Thanks, this is excellent information.
    The discretionary spending for us will be a big variable. I know we can live pretty thrifty when we try, but as Jesse mentioned, when friends visit, the temptation to visit bars and restaurants will be much greater.

    1. Alan, yes….when friends visit it throws a whole new dynamic into the situation doesn't it. The trick is to get them to the out islands at anchor as quickly as possible where no one is tempted to spend money ('cause ya can't) LOL Thanks for the comment. It is nice to know that people are actually reading! :-)