Renting vs. Buying a Boat

Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 13:14

If you love taking to the water more than most people, you've likely toyed with the idea of buying a boat. Looking at the sticker price on some boats have poured that notion into the air. But if you're on an endless carousel of renting, renting, renting - does that make more sense than buying? Here's our pros and cons of renting vs. buying a boat.

Starting Costs

PRO: What starting costs? You pay the rental fee, have a good time and dock when you're told to. You won't have to outlay anything more than the hourly/daily rate.

CON: Like the saying goes: rent money is dead money. If you go boating more often than not during the spring and summer months, it makes more sense to buy and own your own boat than rent. You can even think of it as an investment, renting out the boat to someone else when you're not using it.

Ongoing Costs

Availability

PRO: There isn't a pro for renting, because...

CON: You may find all the boats at your local marina booked up, sometimes weeks in advance. Other times, you'll just have to take what you can get. If you had a long cruise in mind and all they have left are dinghys, it throws a spanner into your plans. If you have your own boat, you can sail anywhere, whenever the feeling strikes you.

Maintenance

PRO: You won't have to do it yourself. No washing down the hull, no clearing out the head...it's all done for you.

CON: Maintenance on rental fleets can vary - some fleet maintenance standards are rather poor. You'll be sailing blind when it comes to how good a condition your craft might be in.

Equipment

PRO: You can keep all your equipment in your garage, so you can have an eye on it.

CON: Hauling every little bit of equipment to and from the rental craft. That means fishing rods, eskies, lifejackets, waterskis, lifejackets, etc. etc. carried up and back every time. It also runs the risk of breaking or wearing down your equipment every time.

Storage

PRO: You won't have to store your boat. Some councils prohibit on-street parking of boats, which can prove troublesome if you don't live in a house or flat with extra parking spaces or a driveway.

CON: Storage can be costly when buying, but with everything you ever buy, you'll have to put it somewhere. It's just a part of ownership.

Bragging Rights

CON: Sorry, no pro for this one on renting. If you rent boats you have zero bragging rights. You'll never feel the thrill of ownership; entertaining friends, family or business colleagues on a boat you call your own.

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