Should I buy a boat? The pros and cons of buying vs chartering

It's easy to fall in love with the idea of buying a boat. Wouldn't you want the sense of freedom and luxury that comes with owning a yacht? Wouldn't you like to be called "skipper" by your friends when you're cruising in the Sydney Harbour? And today, it's easier to buy, share or charter a boat. 

But just like a car, you might be wondering whether you'd be better off buying, sharing or renting one. As boat lovers ourselves, we've compiled all the pros and cons of buying vs. sharing vs. chartering a boat.


That First Day Feeling 

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Like your first love, the first day of owning, sharing or chartering a boat is all butterflies and sparklers. No doubt about it, for all of these boat options, everything feels great on that first day. The harbour is magnificent, the boat is shiny and everyone is smiling. You will feel free, admired and rewarded. However, everything that goes up must eventually come down. 


Keeping in Ship Shape

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Buying a Boat
The practicalities of keeping your seductive boat in ship shape condition are many. You will have to ensure that every surface has a constant coating of weather protection, even if it is hard grade plastic and not metal. Wax polishes, decking oils, sprays, greases, and anti foul on the hull are needed here. If you love tinkering and watching the sparkle come to life, buying your own boat might satisfy.

Boat Share
A boat share membership will take a big load off your responsibilities here as you will only need to do an ‘As you found it’ clean when you get off.

Boat Charter
When you charter a boat, you can just walk off, leave the dirty dishes and barbeque etc. and head off to the after party or a nice comfy couch. It's literally as easy as that. 



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Buying a Boat
To form a realistic estimate, you need to include in your maintenance costs the following:

  • Servicing
  • Cleaning
  • Slipway Costs
  • Anti Fouling
  • Insurance
  • Mooring Fees
  • Licensing Fees
  • Replacement Parts
  • Fuel
  • Gas
  • Décor
  • Linen and Laundry
  • Bank Interest
  • Staff/Catering

An estimation for the average annual spend for a boat that costed around $200,000 would be around $40,000 or more in Sydney Harbour in 2015. No wonder they say "a boat is a hole in the water you pour money into". 

Boat Share
  • Membership Entry Fees
  • Monthly Membership Fees
  • Minimum annual spend $13,500 per year for a basic level boat.
Note that the boat share system is usually based on points. If you don’t use up your points in a single year, you lose them. Weekends and popular days will cost you more points. A Monday to Thursday charter may be 20 points and weekend may be 50 points, so it is worthwhile looking closely looking at your honest availability and divide that by the costing. Money is made by boat share companies on the fact that most people don’t use all of their points just like many gift vouchers are never redeemed.

Boat Charter
Pay as you go. Couldn’t be simpler, and you pay for the fun bit of actually enjoying the boat. No wasted money, points or time. With 135 rainy days a year on average in Sydney (that's 37% of the year!), it truly pays off to only sail when the weather is nice and sunny. Too expensive to rent you say? Sydney Harbour Escapes has boats available for as low as $350 per hour. Click here to compare all of our boat prices. 


Party Size

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Buying a Boat

If you are buying a boat and you can afford it, you can splash out and buy a boat big enough to host lots of friends. Otherwise, your boat party size will always be restricted to small numbers and you will have to pick and choose your friends a bit more!

Boat Share
If you are considering a boat share option, the boat guest capacity sizes are very small due to government safety restrictions.12 passengers is a standard maximum on a boat share boat, and this is for the top of the range vessels. At entry level, you passenger size is usually 8 for day charters.

Boat Charter
With the boat charter option, you 
can name your party size and you will be given a large choice of vessels to select from. Sydney Harbour Escapes can host events on boats from 2- 950 guests. To search for your perfect boat, click here

View All Charter Boats



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Buying a Boat
Take this well on board. As a skipper, you have all the responsibility for the safety of first and third party persons at all time
s. You will have to stay sober at all times if you are a skipper or pay someone to skipper for you. In addition, there's all the other hundreds of considerations to keep in mind, as outlined in this 120 page "Boating Handbook". 

Boat Share
Same as above.

Charter Boat

Enjoy some one else taking the responsibility so you can get full enjoyment out of being on the water with your friends. After all, this is the reason why you went on a boat in the first place, to enjoy it all and relax without any concerns, like these people here


Final Comparison Summary

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BUYING A BOAT 15/30 stars
Suits those who have lots of money and like to fix things, clean things and tinker or pay someone to do this. Your new 
'love' will definitely make your current partner jealous of time spent with your new interest. Beware of the seduction of the first date. Your new love may not stay looking this way for long!

BOAT SHARE 20/30 stars
Suits those who have lots of free weekdays, a suitable chunk of spare cash, and a willingness to stay sober and enjoy others partying as you take the responsibility.

BOAT CHARTER 30/30 stars
Suits those who like to simply make the most of their free time, love to socialise and have fun. Caters for all budgets from modest to exorbitant. No sense of guilt from not using a wasted asset. Can take your pick from large range of boats and catering options for any size group.

If you think chartering a boat is for you, fill out an equiry form or contact us at 02 9328 4748 and we’d be delighted to pick the perfect boat for any occasion. 




About Sydney Harbour Escapes:

Operating since 2000, Sydney Harbour Escapes is a leader in providing high quality boat hire experiences. With a selection of over 130 vessels in the fleet and 18 years of unparalleled reputation, we strive for excellence  in each interaction and promise to work towards making your event a very memorable one. We organise party boats, weddings and engagements by the Sydney Harbour, corporate events, overnight yacht trips outside of Sydney and more. Contact us and find out for yourself why we are the number one option for your next event.

To find out more: 


Topics: "Sydney Yacht", "Sydney Super Yacht", "Sydney Events", "Sydney Boat Hire", Buy Boat Sydney, Rent Boat Sydney

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