How Expensive Is Sailing as A Hobby? (Cost Breakdown)

For most people, sailing is an exciting and relatively fun hobby as well as a way of life.

Sailing allows you to explore nature and escape your daily stressful life.

However, most people wonder whether sailing is an expensive hobby.

So, How Expensive Is Sailing as A Hobby?

Sailing as a hobby can cost approximately $1000 to get into and about $50 every month for maintenance. It can also be as expensive as more than $100,000 initially, with monthly charges costing thousands of dollars. Whether sailing is a costly hobby for you will depend on whether you rent or purchase, storage and maintenance of your boat, and the type of boat you choose to purchase.

What Will You Need For Your Sailboat Hobby?

Let’s look at everything you require to know about the costs of sailing as a hobby, including acquiring a sailboat.

Sailing Costs

1. Learning Sailing

If you have grown up sailing, you may just consider reading a few manuals about sail boating.

However, if you have no sailing background or don’t remember much, there are various ways to get started.

2. Begin Small

One of the best ways of starting sailing as a hobby is to start with an inexpensive, small sailboat.

This will help you figure out whether you want to do sailing in the long run.

Read some blogs, articles, and books, watch educational YouTube videos, and have ultimate fun.

You can find a little sailboat for less than $1,000.

Enjoy learning the sailing and rigging basics as you grow your skills.

3. Take Lessons

If you plan to start sailing a more substantial sailboat, taking lessons is a great idea.

The sailing lessons might cost about $500, including getting your hands-on practical training.

You can also learn sailing using your own boat, which is invaluable, or the common small sailboats to help you decide on the best sailboat to invest in.

The Boat

A sailboat can cost as cheap as a few hundred dollars to as expensive as over $100,000.

The cost of the sailboat will depend on various factors, including;

  • its size
  • technology
  • age
  • rigged or not
  • monohull or multihull
  • etc.

The choice you make depends on your budget, personal preferences if you will be sailing on ocean or freshwater, weekend or seasonal or liveaboard cruisers, as well as the climate.

1. How Much Does A Good Sailboat Cost?

There are expensive sailboats that go for millions of dollars.

A sailboat that an average American might consider a decent boat generally goes for approximately $50,000.

You should expect a 26 inches Island Packet to cost about $25,00 while a 35 inches Ocean Cruise goes for about $40,000.

However, if you want to buy a second-hand or used sailboat, the cost will be much cheaper.

2. What Is The Cost Of An Affordable Sailboat?

A seaworthy sailboat might cost a lot less than you think.

If you are looking for an affordable sailboat to have fun, you can find a Hobie Cat at as low as $5000.

Potential sailors interested in do-it-yourself projects and tools can decide to get a sailboat that requires repair and make it themselves.

The costs will be much lower than the market value.


If you decide to buy your own boat, one of the major cost considerations is storage.

You can store a small sailboat in a garage, yard, or storage unit.

Confirm whether it’s fine to store your small sailboat in your yard with your homeowner regulations. More so, you will require to invest in a trailer to move the boat.

Depending on the boat size and travel distance, the trailer will cost about $500 to $1000.

The larger boats require a marina, a dock, or a dry dock between seasons or uses.

Indoor storage costs go for about $50 -$200 per foot per season.

On the other hand, outdoor storage is cheaper. You can expect to pay $20 to $50 per foot.

If you want a slot at a Marina where you can readily access your boat anytime you need to, you should expect to pay a minimum of $300 each month, plus the costs for water and electricity.

If you are staying on your boat, the cost of the marina may not be too costly.

However, if you still have a home to maintain, these costs can quickly add up.


If you purchase a sailboat not already rigged, you will need to spend some money on rigging.

You will also need to replace rigging after every five to ten years based on its quality and the frequency of use.

The rigging costs for a small sailboat go for several hundred dollars, while a larger rig costs over $2000. You will also require ropes and other gears to rig your boat correctly.

The rigging cost will be even higher if you want specialized or additional equipment such as a Spinnaker for light winds.

Sailboat Insurance and Maintenance

Sailboat insurance is not extremely costly.

Normally, you should expect to pay some hundred dollars annually.

In some cases, insurance costs can go as high as $1000 for high-risk usage of luxury sailboats. On the other hand, experience and safety measures can lower the cost of your insurance.

When it comes to maintenance, you will require repainting the bottom of your boat regularly.

If you can easily tow your boat regularly or not, there might be maintenance costs linked with dry storage after work.

The maintenance costs will not be so high if you repair it yourself.

However, finding workers with specialized services and skills to maintain can be costly.

Other Gears and Equipment

Lots of equipment is required for sailing, which adds up the cost. You will only need to purchase most of this extra equipment once.

However, some will require to be updated or replaced over some years.

This additional equipment include;

  • anchor ($50 – $200)
  • lifejacket and safety equipment (around $100)
  • cushions and sunscreens ($50-$500)
  • sensing and navigation equipment ($500 -$1000)
  • etc.

Is Renting a Sailboat a Good Option?

Most sailing enthusiasts have a dream of owning their sailboat.

However, if you cannot afford to purchase a sailboat, renting is a perfect option to enjoy this hobby at a reduced cost.

It is also an appropriate option of getting into sailing before you know how regularly you want to engage in it.

Starting by renting a sailboat will help you decide if purchasing your sailboat would be a worthy investment.

Renting a sailboat also helps determine the type of boat you would prefer to buy while also giving you a chance to select the best sailboat for every trip.

It will help you save on maintenance, storage, and purchasing costs.

A nice sailboat for you and a few friends but easy to handle has a renting fee of about $100 for an entire day.

This is an excellent way of enjoying the sailing hobby at a fairly reasonable price.

However, if you want to sail regularly, the cost of renting might be more expensive compared to buying your sailboat.

Bottom Line

If you want to start sailing as a hobby or fun, the cost should never hinder you.

While sailing can be expensive, it is also very affordable if you take conservative decisions.

You just need to work with your budget and upgrade with time.

Many Americans enjoy the hobby, and you don’t need to be a millionaire to enjoy the sailing lifestyle.

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