Buy Your Own Your Dream Boat!

Australia is the perfect place to enjoy water activities virtually all year round thanks to our abundance of sunshine, golden beaches, coral reefs and fishing hot spots.

We have easy access to the water with beaches, boat ramps and jetties dotted all around our coastal regions. From bustling, metropolitan cities to quaint towns lining our shores and so many idyllic islands located just off the coast line, our fair land is one of the most sought after countries for experiencing everything a tropical lifestyle has to offer.

With such prime conditions, owning a boat can be infinitely rewarding in a climate such as ours and is one of the best ways to unwind and experience the myriad of water based adventuring and fishing activities Australia has to offer all at your leisure and within reach of the main land.

Along with the costs involved in financing your boat, there are some expenses to consider, and with any leisure lifestyle the benefits of getting back to nature, out on the water, spending time with your friends and family, catching a few fish or just whiling away the hours are well worth it!

If you are keen to enjoy a seafarers lifestyle in your free time looking into the costs involved in owing a boat can feel like traversing a minefield, so here is a guide for you to find out more about what is involved in owning a boat.

Boat Safety Course, Licensing & Registration

First is getting licensed to drive your new boat, just as you need a license to drive any vehicle. To get your boat license in Queensland it is compulsory to take a boat safe course before operating your new marine vessel, it so you understand how your boat works and how to use it safely.

You will need to apply for a boating license no matter what sort of boat you buy, from super-yachts to a jet-ski, all marine vessels require a boat license to operate them. Whether or not you must keep this license on you will depend upon which state you live in. In Queensland a marine driving license and personal watercraft license (such as a jet-ski) costs $96.20.

You will also need to register your new boat and the price of registration depends entirely upon the type of marine vessel you own. Don’t forget, each year you will pay an annual renewal fee, just like your vehicle registration.

Berthing or Mooring Costs

Once you’ve gotten the initial paperwork, licensing and registration out of the way it’s time to consider where to house your dream boat when you aren’t using it. If you have a large enough driveway, garage, or yard space to keep your boat tucked away on your property then this will save you a lot of money in the long run. Most boats that can be brought out of the water come with their own trailer, however if you need to buy one, the price will depend on the type of vessel and its size.

If you opt to keep your boat docked at a marina you will get extra security and facilities, if you choose a river mooring, it may not have quite as much to offer, but may be more convenient for getting on the water and cost less overall.  Marina costs will vary greatly between operators and depend upon the location and the type of vessel you intend to keep berthed there. Costs may start from $50 dollars or less for just a one day berth, while long term berthing may have discounted rates for extended terms.

If you reside in Queensland you need to apply to Maritime Safety Queensland for a mooring spot. The price of the mooring will again depend on how long you will keep your vessel afloat there and costs may vary between locations. A 12 month mooring in Queensland will cost you an initial assessment fee of $78.65 and a 12 month fee from $47.25 up to 78.65 for a restricted mooring (restricted moorings apply to recreational boat owners).

Operational & Maintenance Expenses

The ongoing operating costs of owning a boat include: fuel, oil and cleaning costs of rigging, hull, sails, motor, electrical systems and so on. These type of costs will depend on the design of your boat, how often you use it, how far you travel, if it is stored at home or in the water and so on.

Having a boat that is used mainly in rivers will have less upkeep in terms of corrosive saltwater but a good clean down when you finish for the day is a good idea, no matter what water you are on.

At some point in your boat ownership you may need to pay for repairs for operational wear and tear, or replacement parts. The costs can be small like just replacing a rusty steering wheel, or they could involve more expense by way of faulty electrical wiring, a dead motor, or anything in between.

Once you know what sort of boat you would like you should check into the maintenance costs specific to that boat for an accurate idea of your ongoing expenses, as this may have some impact on the size and type of boat you choose to buy.

Safety Costs

Don’t forget you will need to ensure your vessel is fitted out with safety gear such as life jackets, medical and emergency kits and so on. You can pick up a basic life jacket for under $100, or less through online stores the fancier models can cost a few hundred. Medical and emergency kits are also quite inexpensive.


As most major Australian insurance companies include boat insurance services you should compare their policies and see which one is the right fit for you. You can cut insurance costs further by choosing a company which specialises in boat insurance. Most policies will cover everything vital including third party legal liability, loss or damage to the boat, new boat replacement in the event of loss or theft, contents, personal property, safety equipment, transportation cover, emergency expenses and more.

Decking It Out Costs

Last, but not least, you will want to fit it out with all the things that truly make it yours and add the personal touch such as fridges, fishing rods, fish finders, eskies, bait, gear, waterskies, wakeboards and so on. How much expense is involved is entirely up to you and your personal taste, there are some great water sports you can do with your whole family, that build memories for years to come.

Which Boat Is Right For You?

There are many different boats out there on the market, ranging from your little tinnies, inflatables and jet-skis right up to super yachts.

At the luxury end of the scale. Yacht ownership is the costliest of all as you cannot take a yacht home and park it in the garage like smaller vessels. A basic yacht can cost you anywhere from $500 to $1200 per month in marina fees, a rough guide for expected costs is 10% of the purchase price each year to keep her in top condition. Check out the Boating Forum Yacht Thread at for a discussion by Australian boat owners and enthusiasts about the costs involved in yacht ownership.

In the mid-range are the fishing boats and ski boats, and once you have all your gear the additional costs for storage and maintenance can be reasonable, especially if you have space at home.

Smaller boats can be the least expensive to maintain but are also restrictive in what you do in them, so consider all the ways you want to use your boat as getting finance for a boat may give you more options and more pleasure in the long term.

Benefits of Boat Financing

Boat financing is a great way to enter the boat ownership domain. You gain equity in your boat with each repayment instalment. Once you’ve paid off the boat loan, the vessel is all yours. There are just so many benefits to boat loan financing that it just makes sense and is a do-able option for many. If you manage your finances well and stick to your budget, it is affordable.

You will benefit from lower out of pocket costs and flexible repayment options and add-ons tailored to your budget and situation so you can breathe easy knowing you still have money in the bank when you need it. You can speak with seasoned industry experts for sound advice and pointers. Financing will also get you on the water faster, our coastline is prime for boating and water activities so why not enjoy it to the fullest in your own dream boat!