Mostly everything depreciates over time, including boats. And it would help if you considered the resale value of a boat because you will be paying a huge sum of money, even for a used one. So, do boats depreciate in value over time? And how much? Let’s see in a detailed way.
Boats depreciate in value over time, and every vehicle does depreciate over time. However, you can’t prevent depreciation entirely, but you can slow it down by buying a boat that is desired by others, maintaining it well, and even selling it when the demand is high will leave more cash.
Every vehicle does depreciate over time (with some exceptions), and it’s hard to prevent. It’s a matter of how much they decline rather than why. Focusing on why the boat depreciates will be the key, and you can slow down the boat’s depreciation rate easily by knowing that.
Below is a table showing some popular boats’ depreciation rates at different price points along with examples. Those are the average values left at those respective years.
|Boats||Value left at|
|Value left at|
|Value left at |
|Value left at|
|Value left at|
(Lund 1650 Angler SS)
|100% ($15,547)||78% ($12,126)||68% ($10,571)||45% ($6,996)||30% ($4,664)|
|100% ($20,195)||72% ($14,540)||62% ($12,520)||50% ($10,097)||38% ($7,674)|
|100% ($37,000)||90% ($33,300)||84% ($31,080)||74% ($27,380)||60% ($22,200)|
|100% ($47,380)||86% ($40,746)||64% ($30,323)||42% ($19,899)||27% ($12,792)|
(Jeanneau NC 795)
|100% ($80,750)||66% ($53,295)||51% ($41,182)||39% ($31,492)||22% ($17,765)|
|100% ($21,108)||67% ($14,142)||47% ($9,920)||32% ($6,754)||24% ($5065)|
Sometimes, even if you sell the boat for the same price you paid 20 or 25 years earlier, you will still be losing the value due to the inflation rate along with extras (maintenance, storage, accessories, insurance, and repairs, etc.). You aren’t getting the same value for the amount you paid 20 or 25 years earlier.
For example – You purchased a boat for $20,000 in 2000, and you considered selling it in 2025. Even if you sell it in 2025 for $20,000, you will be losing $14,481 because you are missing the inflation rate (It is the percentage rate of change in prices (dollar) level over time).
The dollar had an average inflation rate of 2.19% per year between 2000 and 2025, producing a cumulative price increase of 71.91%. The buying power of $20,000 in 2000 is predicted to be equivalent to $34,381.48 in 2025 (source).
However, inflation isn’t a genuine concern much because you will have fun using your boat for 25 years. But, the point is even if you sell the boat for the same price you paid 25 years earlier, you will still be losing the value due to the inflation rate along with extras (maintenance, storage, accessories, insurance, and repairs, etc.).
So, depreciation isn’t the thing you need to concern about; focusing on the little things like maintenance and taking good care of the boat will decrease the depreciation rate. That being said, we will now see the reasons behind the boat depreciation.
What causes a boat to depreciate over time?
However, we can’t stop the boat depreciation from happening altogether, but you can slow it down by knowing the boat’s depreciation causes and taking appropriate actions in advance. So, here are the reasons why boats depreciate.
The boats depreciate mainly due to low maintenance, more usage, less demand & more supply, and unpopular boats will depreciate quickly (you’ll have a hard time giving it away). A well-maintained and popular boat will depreciate very less compared to others.
That being said, we will now see those reasons in a detailed way.
Low maintenance will depreciate the boat’s value quickly
Maintenance is crucial for any vehicle; more importantly, engine maintenance is vital; hesitating to do regular checks or maintenance will worsen the boat’s condition, affecting its durability and decreasing its life span. Eventually, it will depreciate its value quickly than anything else.
Since boats are used in the moist environment (water), it often needs regular checks after every ride and regular maintenance. Boating in saltwater and hesitating to clean the boat after every or two or more rides will leave salt and dirt in the engine interiors, causing corrosion or any.
It’s not unusual to see 20 to 30-year-old boats being used and in good shape, and re-powering boats is a thing, too, meaning that even with bad engines, a good hull and interior are worth something. So, if you have taken good care of your boat, you can sell it after 20 years for a good value.
Similarly, regardless of the water (salt or fresh), you are boating in, a boat engine sucks raw water from the lake to cool the engine, and in that process, it can suck any dirt, weeds, mud, etc. To clean that, it requires you to flush the boat outboard or inboard or sterndrive after every ride.
Avoiding those types of cleanings after every ride, not changing the gear oil every season, not inspecting the hull after every ride, etc., will degrade the boat’s condition, depreciating its values quickly. So, do regular checks and maintenance for your boat to reduce the depreciation rate.
More usage will depreciate the boat’s value
However, it doesn’t mean not to have fun with your boat entirely. Using the boat excessively will increase the boat’s natural wear and tear, degrading the boat form, resulting in depreciation. However, regular maintenance will tackle the natural wear and tear due to more usage.
Many people will be looking at the “number of hours used” before buying any used boat, and many of them won’t care how big those numbers are if the boat is in good condition and maintained well. If the boat isn’t in good condition, many won’t show interest in buying, forcing you to drop the price.
Similarly, the opposite of that is true. If you used your boat and taken good care of it, its value will not depreciate quickly because a good-looking and well-maintained boat will catch more people’s eyes than a boat that isn’t looking good and well maintained.
Even if you used your boat very little and didn’t take proper care of it, it diminishes the boat condition, depreciating quickly. So, “maintenance” is crucial, and how many hours are used doesn’t matter much as long as you have taken good care of it.
Less demand & more supply will depreciate the boat’s value
Deman & supply is crucial in any business. If there is no demand for the product you are selling, no one buys the product you are selling. Similarly, if the demand is more and the supply is less for the product you are selling, the sales go skyrocketing like bananas (crazy).
Similarly, if the demand is more and the supply is less for a boat you are selling, many people will try buying your boat. Otherwise, if there is less demand and more supply for a boat you are selling, the probability of someone buying your boat will be very less.
By some reports, purchasing a Bayliner is not a wise investment. Since they are widely available (more supply than demand), their value depreciates considerably. Their resale value is adversely affected since many boats of this brand are available in the market (more supply).BOATING GEEKS
If you are selling a boat in winter where demand is less and supply is more, no one buys it. Eventually, you need to reduce the price to sell it, decreasing its value. If you sell the same boat before the summer season (the demand will be in peaks), you could get many offers, appreciating the boat’s value.
All it’s about is selling the boat at the correct times to get more money out of it. Generally, many people will try to sell their boats after the boating season when the demand is less, having a hard time giving it away. So, sell it when the demand is high to get more out of it.
Unpopular boats will depreciate quickly
Unpopular or not well-recognized products are very hard to sell in any market. If no one knows about that brand, you will be having a hard time selling the product. Having unpopular boats will surely depreciate its value because many look at the brand “particularly” before purchasing it.
So, you need to reduce the boat’s value a little to sell it; even after that, there is no guaranty that you will be able to sell your boat. And sometimes, you may have to further down the boat’s price to sell it to someone, which is like decreasing (depreciating) its value over to sell it.
However, simply buying a popular (well-recognized) boat brand isn’t sufficient; you need to look whether others were also looking into similar kinds of boats or not. If many people like a boat similar to yours, then depreciation isn’t the thing you need to worry about; you need to worry about its maintenance.
Ultimately, buying a hull form that is unpopular in your area will have you a hard time selling it away. So, buy a popular model boat (need not be an expensive model boat) at least not to have a low resale value at the end if you are more concerned about the boat depreciation.
Place you are selling the boat could depreciate your boat’s value
The boat depreciation rate also depends on the location you sell the boat. Buying a boat in Florida is entirely different from buying one in California or New York. It will be a bit expensive in California or New York compared to in Florida due to more demand and less supply there.
Yes, in Florida, boats are a bit cheaper because the demand is steady throughout the year since more boats are available in Florida (new and used) than in other states. It also needs high maintenance due to high temperatures & salinity, and the long boating season drives the price down.
Pilothouse boats (a deckhouse for a ship’s helmsman containing the steering wheel, compass, and navigating equipment) are very unpopular in southern regions. But In the northeast, anything with a pilothouse holds its value even for years (10 to 20 years) well.
So, if you are selling your boat in those areas (with more supply and less demand), you will be losing value. So, where you will be selling the boat (location) is crucial; if you are selling in a place with more demand, you will get the most out of it and sometimes more.
For example, it’s hard to sell a bass boat in the Bahamas than in Michigan, Alabama, Texas, etc., since bass fishing is very popular at those places than in the Bahamas. So, the location where you are selling the boat is crucial, and it sometimes results in good resale value.
Do boats depreciate faster than cars?
Cars depreciate faster than boats because the boats are used less than cars in general, so normal wear and tear would be less. And in most places, there will be more demand and less (moderate) supply for a boat, which won’t depreciate it quickly. So, that’s why cars depreciate faster than boats.
So, cars depreciate faster than boats, not the reverse. However, if the boat isn’t maintained well and had any issues, its value goes down significantly (it could depreciate faster than a car). The boat or car “maintenance” is essential here, nothing more or less.
However, they are many ways to slow down the depreciation rate by maintaining the car or boat well, buying a car or boat that is desired by others, buying limited-edition models, etc. Demand matters less for a car because there are many cars, and there is no offseason like boats.
Unlike boats, cars are used daily by many people. Daily usage could increase the car’s natural wear and tear. However, you can maintain it well by doing regular checks or any. Eventually, the car’s performance or look will be degraded (reduced) if it is used quite often, depreciating its value quicker than boats.
Did you know? A brand new car, on average, loses its values by 20% to 25% as soon as it is purchased or drive off the lot (showroom). However, there will always be an initial loss in resale value when you buy a new car or a boat. If you get a bargain, you can reduce the amount of that loss.
Ultimately, the depreciation rate is decided by how well the boat or car is looked after. If it’s subject to regular maintenance, properly used, and adequately cleaned, then the rate of depreciation may slow somewhat.
Relates post –Do boats depreciate faster than cars? Check this article to know all the reasons why boats depreciate faster than cars in a detailed way, along with the average depreciation rates of some of the popular cars and boats at different price points under $100K.
The takeaway from the post
Boats depreciate in value over time, and it’s hard to prevent that, though you can slow down the depreciation rate by maintaining it well, buying a boat that others desire (like popular or limited edition models), and selling at the right times when the demand is high, etc.
Even if you used your boat very little and didn’t take proper care of it, it worsens the boat condition, depreciating its value quickly. So, “maintenance” is crucial, and how many hours you have used doesn’t matter much as long as you have taken good care of it and looking good.
Buying a boat form that is unpopular in your area will have you a hard time selling it away. So, buy a popular model boat (need not be an expensive model boat) at least not to have a low resale value at the end if you are concerned about the boat depreciation.
However, if you are selling your boat in areas with more supply and less demand, you will be losing value (regardless of the boat). So, where you will be selling the boat (location) is crucial; if you are selling in a place with more demand, you will get the most out of it and sometimes more.
Finally, buying the right boat, which is desired by many, and selling it at correct times, when the demand is more, will be the right move and leaves you more cash.