Buying vs. Renting a Boat: What You Need to Know

Maybe you’re considering buying a boat but, after calculating the costs to buy a boat, doing so is just too expensive. If that’s the case, then renting a boat may be the perfect choice for you. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what you need to know about the difference between buying and renting.

A speedboat on the open waters in Turkey
A speedboat on the water. | Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Buying a boat can be an expensive endeavor

Buying a boat is expensive. There’s really no getting around that. According to BetterBoat, while a new pontoon boat could cost you an estimated $35,000, a motorboat could have you spending at least $20,000. Opt for a high-performance motorboat instead, and BetterBoat says you could find yourself spending upwards of $30,000. 

Keep in mind that price only gets you the boat itself too. Chances are, you’re going to need a vehicle capable of towing your boat. You’ll likely need a trailer setup too. According to BetterBoat, you should also account for mooring fees, boat fuel costs, insurance fees, and winter storage. 

RELATED: What Is the Best Boat to Buy for a Beginner?

What you should know about renting a boat

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a boat. If you’re looking to spend the day on the water, you can always rent a boat instead. Check out a website like GetMyBoat, which offers boat rentals across the globe. Pricing runs the gamut for these boat rentals too. Rent a boat on an hourly or daily basis, and you can spend anywhere from $44 an hour to $950 per day to rent a boat.

However, pricing isn’t all there is to know about renting a boat. You might be asking whether or not you can rent a boat if you’re not an experienced boater. According to Discover Boating, many rental companies will provide you with on-the-spot instruction. That being said, Discover Boating reports most states require you to take a boating safety course before operating a boat. Meaning, before you rent one, you should determine whether you need to take a boating safety course first.

RELATED: Is a Boating License or Certification Needed To Pilot a Boat?

The benefits of renting a boat instead of buying one

Cost isn’t the only reason to consider renting instead of buying. Chances are you can only afford to buy one boat. But if you rent instead? GetMyBoat reports that you’ll be able to rent several different kinds of boats. If you want to spend the afternoon fishing, rent a fishing boat. And if you’re going to spend the day waterskiing? Consider renting a towboat instead.

While renting a variety of different boats is enticing, the biggest benefit to renting a boat is not feeling guilty when you leave it behind at the dock. Buying a boat is expensive, and according to GetMyBoat, the average boat owner uses their boat about 8% of the year. But if you rent instead? You won’t have to worry about getting the most use out of your boat. 

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Is it worth it to own a boat, or should you rent instead?

If you’ve owned a boat before, boat regularly, and don’t mind the high costs of owning a boat, then buying a boat may be the right choice for you. However, if you’re new to boat ownership, don’t know all that much about boats, and aren’t looking to break the bank anytime soon? Then renting a boat instead of buying one may be worth it for you.