“The two happiest days in a sailor’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it.”
If you buy a boat, new or used, expect its resale price to be well below the price you paid for. Like cars, boats depreciate over time, and because the upfront cost of boat is large, boats depreciate rapidly. Also pushing the cost down when reselling is that the demand for your type of boat can be small.
Furthermore, there are other costs associated with boats. There are insurance, dock fees, registration and maintenance costs every year. Before you buy a boat, you need to research what the other costs will be. Dock fees priced per foot, not a flat price. So, the bigger the boat, the more you will need to pay to keep it at a dock or mooring. If you plan to trailer your boat, the price of a launch permit may be based on the LOA (Length Over All) of your boat and trailer.
In order to keep you boat from losing significant value, you need to maintain it, just like you would with a car. Allowing the hull to become discolored, rust and poor engine performance all hurt the value of the boat. Even if your engine is in good shape, a potential buyer can still see if you have been running the engine hard and excessively. Most boat engines made after 2000 have onboard computers that can download performance data. Additionally, engine tracking is not done with miles traveled but with hours running. So, if you travel 3 miles in 2 hours or 30 miles in 2 hours, the hour meter is still the same. Engine hours will have an impact on the resale value of your boat. Most 4-stroke engines will last around 2000 hours.
Important: Never leave your battery on when you boat is not in use, as the engine hour meter might still track the hours even if the engine is off. We left our battery on for 3 days and hours were still being tracked. (When we sold that boat, the buyer believed that the engine hours were actually lower, but you may not be so lucky.)
So, boats aren’t the best investment financially, but with proper maintenance, you can increase your resale price.