“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

The Cost

I’m going to steal an idea from a fellow soon-to-be cruiser.  Mid-Life Cruising added a new page a few weeks ago on pre-cruising expenses.  Cost is often one of the biggest questions that most have about cruising.  I have always used the 30-50% rule, meaning that you will spend 30-50% of the cost of the boat to outfit it to go cruising.  In reality I just read that on a forum and other cruisers agreed with it.  So I thought I would track some of our costs to help out others trying to decide if a cruising life style is one for them.  Of course, this might backfire and the Bride might realize how much we are spending and start making me cut back.

Total Annual Costs

Cost Source
Item Quantity Unit Description Rate Total  
Diesel Engine Transmission Fluid 0.5 quart Chevron ATF $6.99 $3.50 West Marine
Oil 1 Gal. 15W-40 Marine Diesel   (Rotella T) $15.00 $15.00 Autozone
Oil Filters 1 Ea Universal Part No.   300209 $16.80 $16.80 Hansen
Racor Fuel Filter 1 Ea R20S $24.99 $24.99 Defender
Primary Fuel Filter 1 Ea Universal Part No.   298854 $14.60 $14.60 Hansen
Secondary Fuel Filter 1 Ea Universal Part No.   48076 $37.00 $37.00 Hansen
Engine Coolant 0.25 Gal. $14.99 $3.75 Defender
Impellers 1 Ea OB-6593K (1/2-in.   shaft, D hole, 7/8 inch width) $37.99 $37.99 Associated Diesel
Heat   Exchanger Zinc 6 Ea Universal Part No. 11885 (E-0) $3.35 $20.10 Boat Zincs.com
Outboard Lower End Oil 0.5 quart $13.99 $7.00 Defender
Engine Oil 0.5 quart $3.00 $1.50 Defender
Impeller 1 Ea $5.00 $5.00 3A Marine
Spark Plug 2 Ea $5.00 $10.00 3A Marine
Carb Cleaner 1 16 oz can $6.49 $6.49 West Marine
Rest of Boat Running Riging   Lubrication 1 16 oz can McLube $17.99 $17.99 Defender
Dodger Glass   Cleaner 0.25 13 oz can PLEXUS Plastic Polish $14.99 $3.75 Defender
Window Cleaner 0.25 8 oz Meguiars Mirror Glaze $9.99 $2.50 Defender
Stainless   Steel Cleaner 0.5 4 oz Boeshield T-9 $13.99 $7.00 Defender
Boat Soap 1 quart Starbrite Sea Safe $8.99 $8.99 Defender
Non-Skid Soap 1 quart Starbrite $8.99 $8.99 Defender
Bilge Cleaner 1 32 oz Starbrite Sea Safe   Bilge $9.99 $9.99 Defender
Freshwater Filter 1 Ea Shurflow waterguard   in-line $19.99 $19.99 Defender
Layup Antifreeze 8 Gal. -50 rated $3.29 $26.32 Defender
Bottom Paint 1 Gal. Interlux Pacifica   Plus $174.99 $174.99 Defender
Moisture Control 4 Ea Damp Rid $6.99 $27.96 Defender
Wax 1 32 oz Starbrite Premium   Marine Polish $26.99 $26.99 Defender
Boat Soap 1 32 oz Starbrite Sea Safe Hull Cleaner $13.99 $13.99 Defender
Non-Skid Soap 1 quart Starbrite $8.99 $8.99 Defender
Shaft Zinc 2 Ea $6.00 $12.00 Boat Zincs.com
Marina Winter Storage 31 feet Haul, Pressure Wash, Stands, Relaunch $55.00 $1,705.00 Hingham Shipyard
Summer Slip 31 feet $110.00 $3,410.00 Hingham Shipyard
(10% discount for 12 month program) 1 -$511.50 -$511.50 Hingham Shipyard
Other Fuel 1 Fueled twice in 2012 (15.1 & 16   gallons) $143.45 $143.45 Misc.
Insurance 1 April 1st to December   1st in water $850.00 $850.00 Admiralty Insurance
Boat Payment 12 Monthly 15 Years at ~3.75% $375.00 $4,500.00 Pawtucket Credit   Union
Annual Total: $10,671.09

The above cost are just for regular maintenance, storage and other costs.  I tend to do at least one major project each year.  Those cost are not included in the above costs and are shown below.  As we become live aboards some of these items are bound to change.

Upgrade Costs

As I mentioned above, I typically do a major project each year.  This year it was painting the engine (including replacing the altinator and hoses) and upgrading the electrical.


I added up these upgrades and purchases in a previous post and came to the total of $5,665.


Cost Supplier
Item Quantity Unit Description Rate Total
Electrical 12 Volt Outlet 1 Ea USB plug style $14.99 $14.99 Amazon
12 Volt   Outlet 2 Ea In Cockpit & Second below $4.99 $9.98 Amazon
12 Volt Subtotal $24.97
Battery Monitor 1 Ea Victron BMV-600S $184.25 $184.25 Compass Marine
Starter Battery 1 Ea Group 24 Deep Cycle   or dual purpose (600 cca needed) $85.00 $85.00 John
Battery Box 1 Ea For above $7.99 $7.99 Defender
Battery Box Strap 1 Ea For above $3.99 $3.99 Defender
Automatic Charge Relay (ACR) 1 Ea Blue Sea $79.99 $79.99 Defender
On/Off Switch 1 Ea Blue Sea $32.99 $32.99 Defender
Negative Busbar 2 Ea 4 position 5/16″   posts $8.26 $16.52 VTEWAREHOUSE.COM
Positive Busbar 4 Ea 5/16″ post,   safety cover, 0.75″ cable entry. $5.90 $23.60 VTEWAREHOUSE.COM
ANL Fuse 2 Ea 250 AMP $3.31 $6.62 VTEWAREHOUSE.COM
ANL Fuse 2 Ea 80 AMP $3.31 $6.62 VTEWAREHOUSE.COM
ANL Fuse 2 Ea 50 AMP $3.31 $6.62 VTEWAREHOUSE.COM
Tinned Wire 4 Feet Black -0 (Batt 2   & ACR to Neg Busbar) $5.24 $20.96 Genuinedealz.com
Tinned Wire 4 Feet Red – 0 (Pos Busbar   #1&2 to ACR) $5.24 $20.96 Genuinedealz.com
Tinned Wire 25 Feet Green – 8 (Charger to   ground) $0.80 $20.00 Genuinedealz.com
Tinned Wire 25 Feet Light Blue – 14  (Oil Pressure Sender to Gauge) $0.33 $8.25 Genuinedealz.com
Battery Terminals 4 Ea 0 gauge, 3/8″   post $1.27 $5.08 Genuinedealz.com
Battery Terminals 6 Ea 0 gauge, 5/16″   post $1.27 $7.62 Genuinedealz.com
Battery Terminals 2 Ea 4 gauge, 5/16″   post $1.13 $2.26 Genuinedealz.com
Battery Terminals 1 Ea 8 gauge, 1/4″   post $1.13 $1.13 Genuinedealz.com
Battery Terminals 1 Ea 8 gauge,3/8″   post $1.13 $1.13 Genuinedealz.com
Copper Bar 1 Ea 6″x1/8″x1″ $20.00 $20.00 Glenn’s shop
Adhesive Shrink Wrap 10 Ea 0-8 gauge $0.50 $5.00 Harbor Frieght
Wire   Crimpers 1 Ea $10.00 $10.00 Harbor Frieght
Misc. Terminals 1 Ea various sizes kit $10.00 $10.00 Harbor Frieght
Refractometer 1 Ea battery acid and   antifreeze $100.00 $100.00 Amazon
Charging System Subtotal $686.58
12 Volt Fans 1 Ea Adjustable, large   [salon] $89.99 $89.99 Defender
12 Volt Fans 3 Ea Hella Jet Fan (White)   [Galley, birth] $20.99 $62.97 Defender
Buss Bars 6 Ea 4 wire $3.99 $23.94 Defender
Crimp   Connectors 1 Ea 25 count for 18-22 gauge $10.99 $10.99 Defender
Fans Subtotal $187.89
Engine Engine Paint 2 Spray Can $32.40 $64.80 Hanson Marine
Hose Kit 1 Ea Replacement Hose Kit $172.40 $172.40 Hanson Marine
Hose Kit 12 Ea Additional 5/8″   hose $5.99 $71.88 West Marine
New Alternator 1 Ea Alternator $79.00 $79.00 online
Misc. Engine   Parts Replacement 1 Ea Hansen $85.00 $85.00 Hanson Marine
Paint Subtotal $473.08
Misc. Fittings 1 est $32.40 $32.40 Hardware Store
Paint 1 Ea High heat $10.99 $10.99 Hardware Store
Custom Exhaust Riser Subtotal $43.39
Teak Plywood 1 8’X4′ [will use for other   projects too] $180.00 $180.00 Somerville Lumber   Yard
Teak Lumber 1 1″x6″x10′ $60.00 $60.00 Somerville Lumber   Yard
Brass latches 1 2 in pack $19.99 $19.99 West Marine
New Engine Bulk Head Subtotal $259.99
PCV Valve Upgrade 4 Feet Tubing $4.00 $16.00 Hardware Store
PCV Valve Upgrade 1 Ea Brass Fittings $15.00 $15.00 Hardware Store
PCV Valve Upgrade 1 Ea K&N Air Filter $35.00 $35.00 Amazon
PCV Valve Subtotal $66.00
Brass Shut Off Valve for Racor 2 Ea $10.00 $20.00 Hardware Store
Shut Off Valve Subtotal $20.00
Canvas Dodger 1 Ea $935.00 $935.00
Dodger Subtotal $935.00 Building 21
Head Sail 1 Ea $500.00 $500.00
Head Sail Subtotal $500.00
Safety Safety Harness 2 Ea $25.00 $50.00 Marine Consignment
Tethers 2 Ea $25.00 $50.00 Marine Consignment
Rapid Ditch   Bag 1 Ea $20.00 $20.00 Marine Consignment
Life Jackets 1 Ea 4 pack of Type II $25.00 $25.00 Defender
Jacklines 2 Ea $80.99 $161.98 West Marine
Handheld VHF Radio 1 Ea Uniden MHS050-2   two-pack $100.03 $100.03 West Marine
Safety Subtotal $407.01
General Anchor Locker Hatch 1 Ea Custom Fiberglass $510.00 $510.00 Custom Fiberglass
Anchor Locker Subtotal $510.00
Stereo 1 Ea WM with RF remote $169.99 $169.99 West Marine
Buss Bar 1 Ea $13.99 $13.99 3A Marine
Crimp Connectors 1 Ea 25 count for 18-22   gauge $10.99 $10.99 Defender
Stereo Subtotal $194.97
Folding   Wheel 1 Ea Lewmar 32″ Folding Wheel $450.00 $450.00 Defender
Autopilot Attachment Clamps 1 Ea $20.00 $20.00 Defender
Folding Wheel Subtotal $470.00
Anchor 1 Ea Small folding anchor $10.00 $10.00 Marine Consignment
Rhode 1 Ea 55 feet of 3 strand $5.00 $5.00 Marine Consignment
Dock Lines 2 Ea 15 foot $6.00 $12.00 Marine Consignment
Tiller Extender 1 Ea $15.00 $15.00 Marine Consignment
Bottom Paint 1 Ea $43.00 $43.00 Defender
Dingy Subtotal $85.00
Backup   Anchor 1 Ea 22 lbs danforth $50.00 $50.00 Marine Consignment
Anchor Subtotal $50.00
2013 Total $4,506.87

Much to my Bride’s dismay, we have stepped up the spending this year.  But we thought it was better than trying to wait and do it in a big chunk.

Potential Cruising Upgrades

Description Parts Cost Supplier
lock-n-lock plastic   containers 36 piece set $59.95 amazon
lock-n-lock plastic   containers egg container $6.99
oxo good gribs Ice cube trays (4) $39.96
Hanging Locker in rear hardware $100.00
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Watermaker PowerSurvivor 40E $3,500.00 Boater Barn
Extended Cruise Kit $350.00 Boater Barn
Pre-Filter $50.00 Home Depot
Saltwater wash-down system $125.00
Dodger Sides $2,500.00 Building 21 Boat Top
Cordless Vacuum Dyson Animal $250.00
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Single Handle Faucet $150.00 Hardware Store
Cookware 7 piece stainless steel nesting   cookware Magma $99.00 West marine
Tank for   grill Propane Tank (Fiberglass) $109.99 Defender
Dish Set $150.00
Description Parts Cost Supplier
PSS dripless system PSS system $230.99 Defender
new shaft $100.00
new coupling $200.00
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Generator Honda e2000i $1,000.00
Solar Panels Panels (Solbian CP125) $1,640.00 Compass Marine
Controller (Genasun MPPT GV-10) $165.00 Compass Marine
Hardware $200.00 Hardware Store
LED bulbs $100.00 Defender
New 6 volt batteries $400.00 Sam’s Club
Description Parts Cost Supplier
GPS/Chart   Plotter iPad 3 or 4 32GB $600.00
WiFi Antenna PDQ Connect AllPro Rocket N Wi-Fi Signal Booster $160.00
EPIRB ACR GlobalFix PRO 406 MHz GPS EPIRB $660.00 Defender
SSB Receiver Only $225.00 Amazon
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Fire Extinguisher B-II Kidde Mariner 110 (twin pack) $63.98 Defender
Sextant Mark III Sextant $72.98 Defender
Sails & Heavy Weather Gear
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Gail Sail $669.99 Defender
New Life   Lines Suncor Quick Attach Life Line Kit $599.97 Defender
Description Parts Cost Supplier
5/16″ G4 Hi-Test Chain 90′ pail $372.28 Defender
anchor sail $98.55 Sailrite
Description Parts Cost Supplier
boat 9-10ft hard bottom $2,300.00 Defender
Engine 9.8 hp Tohatsu 2 stroke $500.00 Used
Davits      $250.00
Description Parts Cost Supplier
Cordless   Tools Milwaukee M12 Red Lithium 12-Volt   Cordless 2-Tool Combo Kit – Hammer Drill/Impact Driver W/ Bonus Multi-Tool $200.00
Impact   Screwdriver 1/2″ Drive Craftsman $24.00 Sears
Nut Splitter $26.00 Sears
Total Refit Cost Estimate $18,349.63

Sooooo, this is no small amount of money.  We do plan to live a lifestyle that is not “camping” and that does up the costs for some of these items.  In addition I will be compiling a list of spares that I will want for the trip.

6 thoughts on “The Cost

  1. Great list! We didn’t include the costs of “future purchases” … we’re scared to add it up! LOL!

  2. That’s boating….BOAT = bring out another thousand! I bought my C42 in Marina Del Rey and sailed back to Australia, the amount spent to satisfy a safe Pacific crossing was about $20,000…SSB, antennas, !80amp alternater, spinnaker pole & track, liferaft….the list goes on and WARNING… it never really stops!

    Best wishes

  3. Why did you need a new anchor locker hatch? Just curious..

    • The hatch was wood cored and the hardware wasn’t bedded very well by Catalina. Some water got in there and the hatch delaminated. I could have done the work myself (separate the hatch, remove the core, recore, refiberglass) but I got a good price from the local guy and had some other work I wanted to keep my attention on.

  4. Hi Smitty! I’ve been following along for a while read your post about doubts. I couldn’t write a comment there so I came here …. since costs cause doubts! =)

    I’d love to hear other folk’s feedback. We just hauled out our 1987 Catalina 30 the second time (first in 2010) to paint the deck and non-skid. Maybe it’s because we don’t know a whole lot about sailboats, or maybe because we didn’t get a survey … but we’re kinda freaking out now that our house is sold and we start adding up the costs of what needs to be fixed .. and what might need to be fixed that we have no idea about.

    We’re both self-employed, so no built in retirement check. Interest rates suck, so not enough to make a living there. Maybe we need to get a survey, or even better, find a knowledge “friend” to take a look at our rigging, mast, etc. We can’t wait to cruise, but the financial unknown about boat repairs has got us scared. We don’t wanna blow it all on improvements. Hoping we don’t have hidden issues! Other than that, I think we’d be fine.

    Best of luck!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for commenting. I will have to look into why you couldn’t comment on the other post.

      I would absolutely recommend you get a survey while Nirvana is out of the water. You would want to do it with the boat on the hard and you want to ask the potential surveyors if the do percussion sounding and use a moisture meter.

      Most insurance companies will require you to have current survey every couple of years. We had to get one when we got liveaboard insurance even though our purchase survey was only 3 years old. You will likely need to have some minimal insurance when you travel if you want to go into marinas.

      More importantly I use a good, quality survey as the base of my to-do list. We had a great surveyor for our purchase that used to build Cape Dory sailboats. He spent 8 hours going through our boat and identified maintenance tasks, a couple of minor design/construction flaws and some upgrades that made our boat more prepared. You want to be there with the surveyor and follow him around as he goes through the boat.

      You want to make sure the hull and the rudder are percussion sounded and checked with a moisture meter. Especially the rudder. Spade rudders get a bad wrap with the blue water crowd due to failures but in reality those failures are more due to poor maintenance than anything. You can get your own percussion hammer and do it yourself if you know what you are doing. My recommendation is to get your own hammer before the survey and bring it with you so you can practice with the surveyor to show you how to use it. This is the hammer I have: Lyman Brass Tapper Hammer.

      I think the survey gives you an unbiased, informed opinion on the condition of your boat. This could identify flaws in your maintenance program that can be corrected prior to any real damage. I also got a lot of helpful tips from my surveyor.

      We are also going to have our rigging inspected by a professional in the spring. I inspected it myself in 2012 when we had the mast down for some other work we were doing. But I want to be safe and make sure I have taken the right steps to have the rig in good condition. From talking to others who have done this, the rigger has typically given them suggestions on better ways to set up the boat with less friction and other improvements.

      I would bet the cost for both a survey without a sea trial and a rigging inspection would be under $1,000. That is what it would cost me up here but I am not sure about the Gulf Coast. Money well spent in my opinion.

      I think you might be overly worried about budgeting for boat repairs and maintenance. From your blog it seems you are both pretty self reliant and handy. The biggest part of boat repairs is labor so if you can do it yourself it will reduce those costs a lot. The next way to save money is to find parts cheaper. With a Catalina 30 you have incredible resources to do this with owners groups and the Catalina Owners website. I was just commenting the other day that this is the best time to be a DIYer on a boat. There are YouTube videos, blogs, forums and online manuals that make finding out how to do stuff so much easier than anytime in the past.

      Good luck and fair winds,


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