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Life Aboard a Boat Doesn't Come Cheap

September 13, 1990|JANE HULSE

Fed up with high rents? Think you'll save a bundle by living on a boat? Think again. Connie Breedlove of Ventura Yacht Sales encourages potential boat dwellers to take a hard look at the obvious as well as the hidden costs involved in living afloat.

* The Boat

A 36-foot boat, an average length for live-aboard purposes, might cost $50,000. With 6.25% sales tax, the total comes to $53,125. With a minimum down payment, a typical 15-year mortgage at 12% on $42,500 comes out to a monthly payment of $510.

* The Slip

Slip and living-aboard fees vary according to each marina, but for a couple the total might come to $400 to $500 in the Ventura County area.

* The Stuff

Boat dwellers can seldom pack all their household belongings onto a boat. They put the overflow in storage lockers that could run $50 to $70 a month. A post office box is another $8 a month.

* Insurance and Taxes

Insurance on the boat will cost about $500 a year. Personal property taxes, 1% of the value of the boat, will eat up another $500 a year.

* Maintenance

A scuba diver must clean the bottom of the boat free of debris every other month at a cost of about $1 a foot, or $36. Then every one to two years the boat must be hauled out of the water so the bottom can be painted. That cost is about $200. But that's not much compared to the paint--$80 to $150 per gallon for the two-gallon job.

* Depreciation

A boat doesn't appreciate in value the way most houses do. The amount of depreciation depends on the age of the boat and the economy, Breedlove said. Nor does the boat offer hefty tax benefits. Only the interest on the loan can be written off.

"You don't buy a boat to save money," she said.

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