How Much Are Fishing Boats? When you’re planning on buying a fishing boat, your first and foremost consideration should be your budget unless money isn’t an object. How much can you exactly afford the purchase price for the boat plus its after-market accessories, maintenance costs, and legal costs? How will you finance your boat purchase?

The bottom line is that while owning a boat is a joy in itself, especially when you have a water-centric lifestyle, you should also consider the total costs of boat ownership. Otherwise, you may be in for a surprise!

Depends On The Size

16′ to 20′$10,000 – $50,000
21′ to 25′$50,000 – $100,000+
Twin-Engine Fishing Vessels$150,000 – $300,000+
32′ to 36′$200,000 – $450,000+

The larger the boat, the higher its cost will likely be. A large boat will require more materials, both in terms of types and number, as well as more amenities, facilities, and instrumentation. Of course, other factors affect the off-the-shelf price of boats, such as their brands and category, but size has a significant impact on its price tag.

The prices discussed here are average industry costs depending on the size of the boats. You have to discuss the cost breakdown of whatever boat you’re planning on buying since it can have a higher or lower price than the prices stated here.

For smaller vessels ranging in size from 16 to 20 feet, the prices can range between $10,000 and $50,000 and above depending on the brand, type, and actual size. These include small center consoles and dual consoles, skiffs, and pontoons, even Jon boats. It usually has basic fishing amenities like rod holders, basic instrumentation, and single engines.

Mid-sized boats, which range in size from 21 to 25 feet, the price range starts at $50,000 and can go up over $100,000 depending on the number of engines. The quality of craftsmanship, brand prestige, and amenities are usually on the upper end and, thus, the higher prices. These boats also have basic offshore capabilities as well as larger trailers, fancier electronics, and roomier living spaces.  

For the twin-engine fishing vessels, the price tag usually falls between $150,000 and $300,000 and above. The upscale price is warranted since these boats have hardtops, full-sized electronics, and outriggers, among other impressive features.

These usually include center consoles and cuddy-cabin boats with twin engines capable of going offshore, which explains their popularity among serious fishers.

The high-end fishing vessels measuring in at 32 to 36 feet are the Rolls Royce of fishing boats. The more popular brands include Boston Whaler, Invincible, and Yellowfin, which are familiar to offshore fishing enthusiasts and tournament fishers.

Their prices range from $200,000 for the basic models to as much as $450,000, even above for the full-featured boats. Everything that you desire in a luxurious fishing boat is here, and every dollar should be well worth it.

You may purchase a fishing boat for cash or on credit, usually through bank financing. Take note that if you buy a boat through a bank loan or your credit card or a personal loan, its purchase cost should also include the financing charges, including the interests paid on the principal.

The purchase cost between a brand-new boat and a pre-owned boat of the same or similar make will also be different. The latter will likely be more affordable than the former, but be sure to consider the after-purchase costs, too. These can include repairs to the hull and engine that may or may not be a burden to your wallet.  

After-purchase Costs

But the costs don’t stop when you’re the legal and rightful owner of a fishing boat! You have to consider after-purchase costs, including after-market upgrades.

Basic Boat Equipment

Before you push off into the sea in your newly-purchased boat, you have to consider the basics as required in marine safety handbooks.

  1. Life jackets are a must because these can decrease the risk of drowning. Check out the Stohlquist Fit Adult PFD 4 Pack Coast Guard Approved Universal with rounded, sculpted foam corners for more comfort. The Kent Type II Adult Life Jackets with Clear Storage Bag, 4 Each (Orange) is a popular choice, too, because it’s easy to transport between boats.
  2. Emergency positioning systems with radio beacons are also a must because these make it easy for rescuers to locate the position of persons in distress. Check out ACR ResQLink View – Buoyant GPS Personal Locator Beacon that includes a digital display of GPS coordinates and live status. Consider the Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger, which sends an SOS signal to facilitate search and rescue efforts.
  3. Marine flares allow other people on the water and land to identify the location of a boat in distress. If flares aren’t your thing, you may want to consider Weems & Plath C-1001 SOS Distress Light with Day Signal Flag. It utilizes a patented lens in shining vertical and horizontal beams visible by up to 10 nautical miles.

Other basic equipment that fishing boats should have are a fire extinguisher, a GPS device, boat oars, and ropes. As well as a marine radio in case you’re planning on taking out your boat more than five nautical miles away from the shore.

Ask your local authorities, such as the Coast Guard, for a comprehensive list of the basic equipment your boat should have on board.

You may also consider buying a boat trailer, which can cost between $2,000 and $5,000.  It can become a more viable option than paying for mooring fees and wintering charges.

Maintenance Costs

The cost of the upkeep of a fishing boat depends on its location, frequency of use, and its type of engine, size, and age. You may spend anywhere between $400 and $10,000 depending on these factors, primarily if it’s frequently used in rugged conditions. The expenses usually include anti-fouling and oil change services, engine service every 100 hours, and cleaning of the exterior and interior.

Mooring Fees

If you can bring your boat to your property, such as in a garage or shed, then mooring fees aren’t a problem. But if you have to dock it at the local marina, you have to pay a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars per month as a mooring fee. It means an annual mooring fee that can reach up to $15,000 a year, perhaps more.

If your abode is in a temperate climate, you will also likely pay for winter mooring fees that can be as expensive as the summertime fees. Perhaps higher considering the services related to these fees. These include oil change, shrink wrapping, and storage, among other maintenance costs.

Fuel Costs

Unless your fishing boat is wholly powered by your hands and/or by the wind, you will spend money on fuel. More often than not, the price of boat fuel is higher than vehicle fuel, not to mention that boats can be gas-guzzlers.

Legal Costs

Most boats should be insured before these are placed on water. Accidents can happen on the water, and these can be costly, whether it’s personal injury or injury to others, damage to the boat, or damage to other people’s property. Take note, too, that the clean-up after an accident is the boat owner’s responsibility. Without insurance, it’s an excessive expense.

Boat insurance can also cover your property off the water. The coverage may include earthquakes, fire, flood, storm, tsunami, explosion, malicious act, vandalism, attempted theft, collision or crash, and accidental damage.

You must also pay for the registration and licensing costs on your boat, even the taxes on it.


Boat ownership has its perks but also remember that it comes with responsibilities. You must then consider not just the monetary cost. However, it’s the first and foremost consideration, but also the non-monetary responsibilities, such as respect for the rights of other boat owners.