Can Boats Appreciate In Value? 3 Helpful Examples

Buying a boat is an exciting prospect full of dreams and aspirations of spending weekends with family and friends on the water or even sailing worldwide.

Typically a boat is a big investment for anybody, but can boats appreciate?

Do Boats Typically Appreciate Or Depreciate?

The short answer to this question is that boats do typically depreciate rather than appreciate in monetary value.

If you are purely crunching the numbers, then you can read our informative article about boat depreciation here.

Unlike buying real estate or capitalizing on shares where you have the prospect of making money, a boat will never make a great financial investment. So, if you’re thinking about buying a boat to make some money, think again.

Buying a new boat is more like buying a new car, and the value will depreciate as soon as you have signed the papers, but owning a boat can be priceless.

Boating can be a solo or communal pastime and can connect people and create many good memories.

However, a boat can make a fantastic investment, not in how a real estate or an investment fund can increase in value, but certainly in a non-material way. Owning a boat conjures up images about having fun.

It’s about going on an adventure, doing sport, or simply bonding with family and friends. Some see it as having a passion for freedom that many people can only find when they are out on the water.

Most, if not all, boat owners will tell you that their time on the water is worth every cent.

Which Boats Can Appreciate Over Time?

While we have mentioned that you will not buy a boat as a purely monetary investment, a few boats can appreciate.

The following are good examples:

1. Classic Older Models

Some rare examples of classic yachts, both motor or sail, can appreciate.

However, they need to have been kept in pristine condition, but the costs to keep a boat in pristine condition are much higher than to look after a car. The environment is much harsher.

Plus, if your boat is not trailerable, you will need to pay mooring or yard fees to keep it somewhere safe.

The upkeep and maintenance will often outweigh any appreciation in value.

2. Second-Hand Bargains

How quickly a boat sells will depend on the time of year and its location.

You may be able to pick up a second-hand bargain boat after the boating season has finished.

However, this means that you have to wait out the low season before you can use your boat, but if you buy your boat at the end of the season and then plan to resell at the beginning of, or even halfway through the next season, you may find that the value has appreciated a little.

3. Relocating To A Place Where Boats Are Scarce

There are certain countries, regions, or markets where different boat models are scarce.

For example, while there are more boat builders in the south of North America, including Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana, there may be states next door with very little boat-building activity.

So, you may be able to sell your boat in a different state and make some money.

In addition, yachts in faraway places like Australia are expensive as they don’t build very many boats there. So, if you sail your boat to Australia, you may get a better price there for your boat than you would at home and have a great adventure along the way!

However, if you are thinking about relocating and selling your boat, you need to research the different laws, taxes, and importation rules.

Even relocating to sell a boat in the USA, you will need to do your research as the rules vary from state to state.

How Well Do SAILBOATS Hold Their Value?

Surprisingly, the consensus is that sailboats hold their value slightly better than other different types of boats.

Below is a table showing some more popular boat types and models and their depreciation rates at different times and price points.

These are the average values left at those respective years:

Boats Value left at 0 years Value left at 3 years Value left at 5 years Value left at 10 years Value left at 15 years
Fishing boat (Lund 1650 Angler SS) 100% ($15,547) 78% ($12,126) 68% ($10,571) 45% ($6,996) 30% ($4,664)
Pontoon boat (Lowe ss210) 100% ($20,195) 72% ($14,540) 62% ($12,520) 50% ($10,097) 38% ($7,674)
Sailboat (Gulf 32) 100% ($37,000) 90% ($33,300) 84% ($31,080) 74% ($27,380) 60% ($22,200)
Cuddy cabins (Rinker 22MTX) 100% ($47,380) 86% ($40,746) 64% ($30,323) 42% ($19,899) 27% ($12,792)
Cabin cruisers (Jeanneau NC 795) 100% ($80,750) 66% ($53,295) 51% ($41,182) 39% ($31,492) 22% ($17,765)
Bayliner (Element 18) 100% ($21,108) 67% ($14,142) 47% ($9,920) 32% ($6,754) 24% ($5065)


As the table shows, the sailboat holds its value much better than the motor equivalents.

One of the advantages of buying a sailboat is that the engine is not your primary source of propulsion. Often sailboats will still have deficient engine hours when buying second-hand.

While the opposite is true for motorboats, after 5 years of use, it’s maybe time to buy a new motor!

Examples of sailboats that hold their value better than others would be classic and proven designs like Valiants, Island Packets, Swans, Halberg Rassys, or Amels.

What Can You Do To Make Your Boat Keep Its Value Better Over Time?

While everyone agrees that a boat will not often appreciate, there are many things you can do to keep its value or stop its fast depreciation:

1. Regular Cleaning

While you might think that regular cleaning is a chore, regular cleaning is an absolute must for keeping your boat in tip-top condition.

Keeping your boat clean not only protects the structure of your boat but also helps with keeping that shiny finish intact.

Over time, and if not rinsed off, the salt from the sea will begin to erode your hull, causing colors to fade and even causing a white hull to go chalky.

In addition, first impressions count – if the outside of your boat looks dirty, people will be more inclined to think that the inside will be too.

2. Maintenance And General Upkeep

Staying on top of your boat maintenance not only benefits you but will also help to keep your boat’s value over time.

In addition, regular maintenance will help to keep your boat safer, more secure and will be much more efficient with your time in the long run.

Having a well-maintained boat means much more time on the water!

Plus, having a well-maintained boat shows a prospective buyer that you care and might make that difference if the buyer has to choose between more than one boat.

3. Keeping Records

While keeping records or a logbook on a small vessel is not necessary by law, keeping track of information while boating is always a good idea.

You can use a simple logbook to keep track of maintenance and to list any upgrades or any specific equipment you have added.

You can also use a logbook to track the fuel you use and even your boats’ engine hours.

These records add value to your boat, as this invaluable information can be passed on to a new owner.

4. Having The Right Accessories

Every boat will have a certain level of customization to suit each individual’s boating needs.

However, having the right accessories can add value to your boat.

Electronics can look good, but the prices of electronics have come down in recent years, so unless you have the latest Chartplotter, they are not necessarily adding value to your boat.

Things to add or look out for include canvas work like spray-dodgers or biminis, even cockpit cushions that can cost a fortune but do make everyone’s life a little bit more comfortable.

Other items that can add value include trailers, well-looked after engines, safety equipment, and even a dinghy or tender for larger boats.

Final Thoughts

Generally, boats will not appreciate in value over time.

Most boats do depreciate over time, although you can slow this depreciation rate down by making sure you maintain your boat well.


Do Boats Appreciate In Value?

Advantages of Buying a Used Boat

Do Boats Hold Their Value, Or Is The Depreciation Worth It?

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