The Ultimate Guide to Owning a Budget-Friendly Boat to Travel the World

  • Jul 8, 2024
  • Reading time: 7 mins read
  • By Arunima

We all dream of traveling around the world at least once in our lives and traveling around on your own budget-friendly boat has a romance of its own. 

There’s something very beautiful and amazing about the ocean.

Did you know that more than 70 percent of our beautiful world is just plain water? This means that there is just that much to explore on the high seas.

Owning a boat can also be an expensive endeavor, but in this blog post, we will show you how you can own a small boat even on a budget and how you can maintain it for cheap. 

Buy Small

How to Buy a Boat on a Budget?

Owning a boat might seem like it’s just for the rich, but buying one is not as expensive as many would have you believe. 

Just like it is for cars, there are different types of boats available for different budgets.

But, you cannot just go and buy a boat that you cannot effectively maintain, right?

You need to pick out a boat that is not only easy on the pockets but will also have minimal maintenance.

Here are a couple of things that will help you when picking a boat to buy:

Determine Your Boat Intention

Boats are designed for various water adventures, like day sailing, full-time cruising, summer cruising, and sailing worldwide. 

Decide on the kind of lifestyle you would like to enjoy with your boat. Be clear on what you want to use the boat for. 

This can help narrow your choices down as well as give you an idea of what your budget will be like.


While small boats are on the cheaper side, they do not actually come that cheap. 

You need to plan and budget before buying a car or a house, right? It’s just right that you plan and make financial commitments for a boat too.

After all, you’ll need a lot of discipline, patience, and lifestyle changes to save up for a boat faster.

Once you decide on the type of boat you want, set a realistic timeframe for the purchase and divide it by months to establish a reasonable savings routine. 

One way to increase your savings is by keeping track of all your income and expenses and reviewing your spending habits carefully.

Keep It Small

Smaller boats are usually cheaper to purchase and maintain. Do not get carried away with features you do not need. 

Focus on the activities you will be using the boat for and the maximum number of people you will typically have on board. Buy the size of boat that meets your needs and nothing more.

Consider Buying a Used Boat

If you’re on a budget, getting a used boat does not sound that bad. 

But keep in mind, there can be lemons here too. Do not just look at the price tag when buying a secondhand boat.

Check for faults, engine maintenance records, the lifetime of the boat, hull structure damages, etc. before you commit to it.

Getting a faulty or damaged boat, while cheap, can get a bit pricey as repair and maintenance costs pile up.

Instead, do your due diligence. Think about getting a 2-10-year-old boat with a proper and trackable maintenance record.

It is also possible to find boats that are over a decade old and in good condition but always investigate and assess all their features before buying.

Attend a Boat Show

A boat show is synonymous with a boat supermarket. You will find different boat brands and dealers at the show. 

A lot of times, they offer discounts and financing deals you can leverage to hasten your boat ownership journey.

Common Boat Expenses

While you are budgeting for your boat purchase, it is vital to be aware of the common expenses associated with boat ownership, depending on your location.

  • Boat loan
  • Insurance
  • Storage and mooring
  • Fuel
  • Power and water charges
  • Annual haul-out costs
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Safety gears
  • Accessories such as fishing equipment and water toys.

 At just fourteen years old, Laura Dekker became the youngest person to solo sail around the world. Starting in 2010 aboard her boat ‘Guppy,’ she completed her epic journey 518 days later, at the age of sixteen in 2012. Her dad was her biggest cheerleader throughout the entire adventure. 

Boat Maintenance

Now that you’ve bought your dream boat, keeping it in working order is just as important. Keeping a good maintenance schedule will pretty much extend the life of your boat by dozens of years

Plus, a well-maintained boat will get you more value than a neglected one when you try selling it.

Here are some tips to help keep your boat spic and span:

Boat Detailing

Regular detailing can help make your boat look brand new.

Boat detailing is a process that involves thorough cleaning, restoration, and protection of the exterior and interior of a boat. 

Exterior detailing operations include washing and drying the exposed surfaces of the boat. This is followed by waxing and polishing to improve their appearance.

While, the interior detailing involves vacuuming and carpet cleaning to remove dirt, crumbs, and pet hair from the boat’s carpets and upholstery. 

This is usually followed by leather cleaning and conditioning, window cleaning, and galley and head cleaning. 

You might also want to consider engine detailing to clean and degrease your engine components.

Also, as a side note, get it all done by a professional. Because, while boating might be a new hobby for you, an average Joe knows nothing about shipwrights.

These professionals have years of experience fixing up boats and ships and can easily spot faults that you might have overlooked otherwise.

Plus, you can also get it done cheaply by simply searching for boat detailing companies near me on your phone to see all the available companies in your area.

Just pick one that has good overall reviews as well as a shining track record.

Buy the Appropriate Fuel for Your Boat

Check your boat’s manufacturer’s manual to determine the recommended fuel. This will ensure optimal performance and durability of the boat engine. 

Be cautious of where you purchase your fuel; only patronize reputable stations dedicated to boat engine fuel. 

Also, make sure to always treat the fuel stored in your boat engine if it has been unused for more than two months to prevent gumming your fuel injectors and filters.

Regular Check Before Outing

Before taking your boat on an ocean adventure, always check if your battery and cables are clean and intact. 

Check engine oil, coolant, and power steering fluid levels (if applicable) and top them up if needed.

Ensure all required safety equipment, like life jackets and fire extinguishers, is in good condition.

Florida has the highest number of registered boats in the United States, with over 950,000 boats registered in 2020 alone.


Owning a boat and traveling the world on a budget may seem like a dream, but it’s more achievable than you might think. 

The romance of the open ocean, the thrill of discovering new places, and the sheer beauty of life at sea can be yours without breaking the bank.

With this guide, you can easily find a budget-friendly boat that suits your needs and lifestyle.

But, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re picking a boat, from a budget to how you can maintain it.

By following the steps in this post, that dream life on the high seas might not be that far.


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