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The following is for informational purposes only

Vessel Ownership: All You Need to Know

How Many Boats Are Registered In The USA?

In 2018, there were approximately 11.85 million registered vessels in the USA and a total of 4 million unregistered. Boating is mainly a middle-class lifestyle choice as 62% of American boat possessors have a yearly household income that doesn't exceed $100,000. It's estimated that 1 in 10 US households owns a recreational boat.95% of watercraft vessels in the United States are small and towable powerboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats (less than 26 ft. long). The same percent (95%) applies to the number of powerboats sold in the USA that are made in the USA.

How Much Does A Boat Cost In The US?

A new 22-foot pontoon boat costs around $35,000, but you can easily find smaller versions for less than $20,000 or longer ones at $50,000. Here arethe estimated prices for the most popular boat types owned by Americans:

  • Jon Boat - $500 - $3,000
  • Pontoon Boat - $15,000 - $50,000
  • Fishing Boat - $25,000 - $100,000
  • Deck Boat - $20,000 - $50,000
  • House Boat - over $100,000
  • Catamaran - over $10,000
  • Sail Boat - over $12,000
  • Trawler - over $90,000
  • Speed Boat - over $75,000
  • Yacht - over $300,000

Lengthwise, your spending cold vary between:

  • $12,000 - $42,000 for a 15-20 ft. boat
  • $30,000 - $90,000 for a 20-25 ft. boat
  • $55,000 - $125,000 for a 25-30 ft. boat
  • $130,000 - $225,000 for a 30-35 ft. boat.

How Much Does It Cost A Year To Own A Boat?

vessel ownership

The annual cost of boat ownership varies between $4,000 and $12,000. The monthly expenses start from around $400 when we include maintenance, insurance, and winter storage, and could easily reach $800 or $1,000 when taking into consideration dock or mooring fees, registration and taxes.

What State Has The Most Boat Owners?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, California and Michigan lead the top with most boat registrations:

  • California - 1,051,000;
  • Michigan - 1,000,300;
  • Florida - 922,600;
  • Minnesota - 835,000;
  • Wisconsin - 650,300;

Is It Worth It To Own A Boat?

Boats are not a waste of money and could be a good investment if the cost doesn't exceed your budget. Make sure you can afford it, pay it in cash, and keep in mind that besides the purchase price, there's a substantial set of upkeep costs: insurance, storage fees, fuel, oil and filter change, or propeller inspection.

The advantages of owning a boat:

  • It's an affordable recreational option that reduces stress levels;
  • Enjoying cruising time with friends and family (watching dolphins, sunrises, sunsets while sailing);
  • It can boost the business image and one's personal brand/reputation;
  • It provides endless exercise options, including watersports like wakeboarding, water skiing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, and swimming;
  • Operating a boat widens any skillset and enriches the vocabulary (having to learn about knots, navigation, currents, anchoring, tides, and winds)
  • Taxation benefits – since 2018, the US tax law has agreed to write off up to 100% of the acquisition price on pre-owned or brand new vessels purchased for business purposes by corporations, LLCs, or partnerships.

Disadvantages of owning a boat:

  • Expensive accessories;
  • Limited usage (warm weather only);
  • Boats easily depreciate (up to 40% in within the first 5 years);
  • Costly cleaning and maintenance (paint retouching, electronics that need fixing, yearly insurance renewal). Annual upkeep for recreational boating is estimated to 10% of the boat's purchase price, including changing the sails every few years and repainting the hull yearly. Therefore, if a boat costs $25,000, then $2,500/year will be the maintenance fees.

How Do I Find Out Who Owns A Boat?

How do I find out who owns a boat?

To know who owns a vessel, do the following:

  • Check if the motorboat/powerboat is registered – search for a small rectangle or square sticker on either side of the bow;
  • Copy the information printed on the sticker;
  • Find the vessel's name and port of hail (usually on the stern);
  • Search for the Hull Identification Number (HIN) – located either on starboard, the right side of the stern, or back of the boat.
  • For boats registered with a state, enter the boat's name or the HIN on the relevant state agency online database. For vessels documented with the Coast Guard – log on their website/database and you'll find the owner's details after searching by name and port of hail.

How Do I Find The Previous Owner Of A Vessel?

Write down the HIN from the boat registration certificate, stern of the boat, or bill of sale, and search it on a website that offers boat history reports lookup services. Please note that HIN is not available for boats built before November 1, 1972. Information about this type of asset can be found in asset search report results, as well.

How Do You Own A Boat?

Any watercraft capable of serving as means of transportation on the water that weights at least 5 net tons and hasn't been documented in another country can be registered with the US Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Centre if its owner is an American citizen. For the registration, the titleholder must file an "application for documentation" (form code USCG-1258) with the NVDC and submit other requested documentation, such as proof of ownership and tonnage, build, and dimensions.

What If I Buy A Boat Without Title?

If you want to obtain a title for a boat that doesn't have one, contact the state agency that handles boat registration or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) because every state has different rules regarding boat titles. You'll need to provide a bill of sale from the boat possessor who sold it to you to prove you're the current owner of the boat.

Can You Co-Own A Boat?

Two or more individuals can purchase a vessel together. As long as it's stated in the contract, they'll both be considered the "joint legal owners" of it. The law recognizes equal interests between them and the "unity of the title." Joint ownership or co-ownership is a great solution for affording a better boat and also splitting the ongoing upkeep costs.

What Is A Fractional Boat?

What is a fractional boat?

A fractional vessel refers to the shared ownership of a boat when somebody only owns a part of the yacht they are using, helping them keep buy-in costs low, and hiring a management company for the maintenance. Not to be mistaken for a time-share agreement where the buyer only purchases the right to own and use the boat for a limited time. Once that time is up their rights of property usage are no longer active.

What's A Capacity Plate?

A boat's capacity plate specifies the highest weight capacity allowed and/or the total number of people the vessel could easily carry in reasonable weather. For boating safety, the maximum weight includes the joint load of motors, gear, and adult passengers.

What Boats Must Have A Capacity Plate?

The Federal legislation requires for all powerboats with a 20-foot length (or less)to carry a Capacity Plate with the following information: the gross load limit, maximum number of passengers, and the maximum size of engine (horsepower) that the vessel can legally convey.

Does My Boat Need A Title?

It depends on the state. For instance, a sailboat moored in California waterways should be registered with the DMV if it's longer than8 ft.

What States Do Not Require A Title For A Boat?

The states that only require registration and no title for boats are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Maine, Tennessee, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

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