How Much Does a Sailboat Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

Unlike a boat a sailboat is propelled by the wind in its sails rather than a motor; however, many sailboats have motors in case of no winds or an emergency.  Most sailboats vary in size, and some of the most common sized sailboats are 17, 18, 25, 26 and 27 feet long.

Sailboats by Damian Gadal, on Flickr
Sailboats” (CC BY 2.0) by  Damian Gadal

How much does a sailboat cost?

On average, a smaller sailboat can cost as little as $1,500, while a larger sailboat with all the bells and whistles can easily surpass the $400,000 price tag; however, most used purchases should be within the $1,000 to $11,000 range.  Like purchasing a big-ticket item, such as a car or home, it’s going to be hard to give a price since so many variables are involved.   The costs will depend on the brand, its condition, the length, the inclusions and the seller.    For brand new sailboats, plan on adding 30 to 50% on top of the price listed above.  ChicagoNow.com says about two percent of all new boats being sold are sailboats and 90 percent of the boats sold will be less than 26 feet in length.

For example, a smaller 14-foot inflatable sailboat can retail for $2,300 to $2,500, while a 17-foot sailboat can cost $3,000 to $23,000 used.  An 18-foot sailboat can cost anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $47,000 used.

Larger sailboats, 26 feet long or larger, can cost anywhere from $7,500 to as much as $85,000.

Sailboats longer than 36 feet can cost anywhere from $27,000 to as much as $215,000 or more.

SailMentor.com says the most common type of sailboat for sale in Vancouver, Canada is the Catalina 27.  This particular model, if found in good condition, can retail for about $10,000 used.

We took a look at random Craigslist ads across the country and were able to come up with the “average” cost of used boats, noted in our table below:

LengthPrice Average
12 to 15 feet$200 to $5,000
16 to 20 feet$1,000 to $6,900
21 to 26 feet$3,000 to $6,000
27 to 30 feet$5,000 to $12,000

What are the extra costs?

A trailer is going to be required to transport the sailboat from one point to another, and the truck or car that you are going to use to transport it must also have a tow package in order to tow it.  However, this is optional as a sailboat can be stored at a marina year around if the weather permits.  Annual storage, depending on the marina, can be close to $2,000 per year.

Boat registration will be required according to local state and country laws.

Boater’s insurance can cost one to two percent of the boat’s value per year.

Marina moorage or docking dues will be required in order to store your sailboat overnight.  Most city ordinances will not allow you to store your boat in your yard due to the size.   Moorage fees will be charged by the foot and length of your boat, costing about $5 to $15 per foot.

Ongoing maintenance down the road, just like a car, will need to be budgeted for. This can include gasoline if using the motor and routine maintenance.  For example, every two to three years, a new coat of bottom paint will have to be applied.  Captain Gino says you should be prepared to spend about 10 percent of your boat’s value on maintenance every year.

A navigation system is highly recommended and won’t come with the initial purchase most of the time.  A good sailboat navigation system can cost $200 to $1,000+

How can I save money?

Purchasing a used sailboat is the way to go.  Not only are you going to get a great deal, saving up to 60% or more, you’re going to find that if you purchase a newer boat, it’s going to lose its value almost instantly when pulled off the lot.  Check sites such as CraigslisteBay or specialized classified websites, such as Sailboatlistings.com or YachtWorld, that focus on sailboats for used sailboat deals.

If you know of someone else who may want to purchase a sailboat, consider going in on it used to bring down the costs.

If you don’t want to invest in a sailboat but would like to take one out on the water from time to time, consider joining a local sailing club or co-op.  These clubs offer many sailing options and allow you take it out by reservation.


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