As regular readers of this blog know, I love fishing. I fish a lot. And fish in many places around the world.
So people ask me all the time, “why don’t you own a boat?” While I can afford a boat I really don’t need or want one. Let’s break it down:
Boat Pros / Cons
There are many pros and cons to owning a boat from the freedom to go when you want (pro) to the cons of cost and maintenance and fuel. Instead of breaking down the pros and cons, lets see and compare the costs of boat ownership versus fishing with professional guides:
Cost of Boat Ownership
I have been to boat shows and boat dealers and have done the math more than once. Estimated annual costs of a nice fishing boat would run as high between $18,500 – 22,000 per year.
- Boat and insurance payments
- Fully decked out new 18-foot flats boat is about $60,000+
- bay boat is north of 100k
- financing $50,000 over 10 years plus insurance is about $1,000 per month
- Dockage at a marina in Miami can be as high as $6,500 / year
- where I live you cannot have a boat in your driveway and my wife says it’s a nonstarter to put a boat in the garage
- fuel, regular maintenance and other fees est. $2,500 per year
- annual budget for boat ownerships is approx. $21,000 +/- 10%
Cost of Fishing Guides
- Fishing on average once per month (full days 6-8 hours) with professional local guides runs me $10,200 per year
- Travel fishing expeditions (Alaska, Amazon, etc. run less than $10,000 on the fishing part of the trip (air, hotel, fishing guides, gear etc. and half of that is offset using points).
I typically fish 25-30 days per year both guided and unguided and come in well under the cost of boat ownership and I fish as many or more days than the average boat owner
Plus I get to mix it up between flats fishing, offshore, backcountry everglades, and places like Alaska, Montana, OBX North Carolina and the Amazon. Whereas most boat owners only fish their local waters unless they trailer it around, which would require I buy a truck!
So for my lifestyle and fishing fix, professional guides makes the most sense. less money, less thinking, less work and more fish.