How Much Do Boat Repairs Cost?

Published On September 3, 2015 | By Mark Baese | Boat Projects

If you’re a boater, I’m sure you’ve heard that “boat” stands for “Bring On Another Thousand”. This isn’t too far from the truth.?It seems whenever anything goes wrong with the boat, it’s going to cost about that for parts and labour – if not more.

I’m going to outline the repairs and the approximate costs I’ve faced as a boat owner to give you a better idea of what you can expect when owning a boat.

It didn’t take us long to figure out how true this was. Almost exactly 4 years ago, we took possession of our boat. We barely had the boat two weeks and the engine was overheating and the bilge pump was kicking on regularly while we were under way.

I knew very little about how the boat worked at that time, but I dove into the engine?and took a look.?When the engine was on, there appeared to be water spewing out of it into the bilge. I didn’t know much, but I did know that water wasn’t supposed to come in to the boat. So, two weeks into boat ownership, we were calling the marine mechanic to take a look. Luckily, this was simply a busted impeller, a relatively inexpensive and quick fix of only a few hundred.

Mercruiser 7.4L B3

My engine from when we first bought the boat. That dirty bilge… ew.

That’s on the low end. On the high end, as you may have read – we had our engine block crack. We didn’t pay for this repair, as mechanic negligence was the issue, but it would have run close to $10,000 if we recieved the bill.

We also had the bottom of the hull completely redone the first winter we owned the boat. This involved stripping, repairing, epoxy and bottom paint and ran us about $4,000. This is extreme – but we knew we were keeping the boat for a long while and it was worth us to get it out of the way and ensure we had a good solid hull to run on.

Other small repairs we’ve had to deal with that run a few hundred bucks each include replacing exhaust flaps, replacing all 4 batteries, and replacing sacrificial anodes.

If you’re handy, you can do a fair amount of work yourself. This will save the labour costs – which can be a big chunk of the cost. I was able to replace my transom shower handle for about $100, replace my galley faucet for about $120, put in a new boat stereo for around $70.

Although it’s not technically a repair – I also installed battery monitors as I couldn’t live without them on overnight trips.

We’re currently getting our boat canvas done – and we’re going for the full meal deal – and it’ll likely be about $6,000 once everything is all done.

Uniden UM415 VHF

New Uniden UM415 next to old probably-white-at-one-time VHF.

I still have to tackle the VHF radio (mine is broken and needs replacing), replacing flooring in the cockpit AND galley, replacing cockpit upholstery, and the shower sump in the head isn’t working. I’m pretty sure we’ve never had everything on our boat working at one time. Something always needs to be repaired.

If you average out all the repairs, they’re well over $1000 each. This doesn’t even factor in summerizing and winterizing your boat, moorage, insurance and fuel.

Boat Upholstery Repair

Julie doing her best to keep the upholstery together for just one more season

I told my friend that I was adding up what I’ve spent on the boat, and he simply said “never do that”. He’s right. It’s not an investment, and we knew that going in.

We look at the boat as?a replacement for annual vacations where we would have spent the same, if not a little more. The only difference is, we get to spend a LOT more time with the boat – and often share it with others.

So, how much do boat repairs cost? I dunno the total. I decided not to add it all up.?I?just know they going to have me bring on another thousand.


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