New Zealand has more than 15,000 km of beautiful coastline, making it a popular place to spend time on a boat.
However, before you plunge into buying your own boat, it's essential to understand all the costs and responsibilities associated with the purchase.
Many people don’t consider the additional costs of keeping and maintaining a boat and buy a vessel before they are fully prepared.
Let’s go over the actual costs of owning a boat in New Zealand.
Boats require frequent maintenance. You should inspect oil, fuel, electrical systems, and the propeller for issues every 100 hours or about once a year. It’s also important to check your boat for corrosion, looseness, and leaks before taking it out on the water.
Salt water can wreak havoc on your boat. Using a quality salt guard can help battle corrosion and the impact of salt water on your engine.
To ensure the safety and reliability of your boat, inspect oil, oil filter, power steering fluid, engine zinc, wiring and connectors, the battery, fuel-delivery systems, sparkplugs, bolts, and nuts frequently.
The general rule of thumb is that annual maintenance on used boats costs about 10% of the purchase price. A new boat will require about 2% of the purchase price for annual maintenance. So, if you paid $100,000 for a new boat, you can expect to pay about $2,000 a year to keep it running. If it’s a used boat, you can expect to pay $10,000 per year.
The cost of maintaining a boat can vary depending on the age, condition, and make of your boat. Other costs associated with maintenance include detailing, washing, boat trailer maintenance, winterisation, and painting the boat.
Always inspect important features of a boat before taking it out on the water, such as the propeller, fuel system, outboard, steering systems, hydraulic steering hoses, and fittings. Some boats may not come with an owner's manual and may require you to do your homework in order to keep up with maintenance and ensure that the boat runs smoothly.
The average recreational boat is used between 75-150 hours a year.
A boat, like most vehicles, doesn’t do well if left untouched for extended periods of time. Check important systems often, especially if left sitting in an open-air marina.
If a vessel is left stationary in the water for a long time, it will become susceptible to barnacle growth, making your boat less fuel-efficient and causing corrosion.
It’s important to plan your trip out on the water ahead of time to avoid getting into unexpected situations. Check weather reports and study the route you plan on taking before heading out.
Always follow the rules of the water to avoid danger and costly fines. Follow the speed limit, wear a life jacket, take two waterproof forms of communication, avoid alcohol, and be responsible.
There are levies, certificates, and extra costs associated with boating in New Zealand.
New Zealand also takes keeping its waters safe from pests and biofouling seriously. Make sure you ask your local officials or marina for assistance if you are unsure what the rules and regulations are.
A driver must be 15 years or older to legally drive a boat capable of going speeds of 10 knots or more.
Registration requirements in New Zealand can vary depending on where you want to take your boat. If you buy a boat in New Zealand and plan to use it exclusively in New Zealand waters, you aren't required to register the boat.
However, if you plan to cruise offshore, you’ll need to register your boat with the New Zealand Register of Ships, known as Part B Registration. If you buy your boat from overseas you will also need to register it. Some insurance might be required in order to complete registration.
Insurance policy costs vary depending on the type of boat you have, its size, and its speed.
Boating insurance usually covers accidental and malicious damage, theft, trailering issues, fire, and third-party damage.
If a boat is under 27-30 feet, it can usually be insured as a boat, but larger boats may need to be insured as a yacht. If you buy your boat through a dealership, they will likely be able to help you through the insurance policy process.
Otherwise, ask a qualified insurance agent for help when deciding on a plan as many marinas in New Zealand require watercraft to have an insurance policy that covers third-party damage.
Time spent on the water (mooring, storage, and marinas)
If you aren't able to use a boat trailer and store your boat at home, New Zealand has many good options for drystacks and other indoor facilities. However, for larger boats and yachts you might have to moor your boat at a marina.
The cost of marinas and mooring spots can vary, and many berth fees include a goods and services tax of 15%.
Mana Marina located in the heart of Mana Village offers monthly rates starting at $220 per month for 8-meter vessels to $1,268 per month for 25-meter vessels.
With recent price increases at popular marinas like Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour Marina and Pier21 Marina, you can expect prices to range from $943 per month for vessels up to 10 meters long and $4,040 for vessels longer than 24 meters.
Tamaki Marine Park is another option often overlooked by Aucklanders
Permits for mooring in the Fiordland Marine Area can vary.
Check with your local marina for more information.
Getting a boat
Whilst boats aren’t always the most sound investment, they can be great for experiences and memories.
A boat can take you to beautiful destinations and unique fishing locations.
Just be sure to prepare for all the extra expenses involved in boat ownership before buying and you can really enjoy the experience.