The costs of ownership - maintenance (version 2019)
Since we decided to change our lifestyle and moved aboard The Dream we have been coming across with "guidance numbers and percentages" when researching in the speciality literature and on the sailor's community but our experience and planning so far tell us a different story each year.
When we untied the lines of our land life we started keeping track of our expenses in an attempt to better understand the associated cost of ownership and use of a yacht as well as the costs of this lifestyle.
The first years, more specifically 2017 and 2018 were difficult (impossible would be more accurate) not only to keep to our budget but also to understand those costs. There were upgrades to be done, refit works to adjust a few details as to how we wanted to live aboard, amongst other costs resulting from the unwinding process from our fast-paced lives to the new lifestyle.
During those years and during 2019 we made an effort to understand and generate an average cost for each maintenance job as well as a schedule that would help us plan for the years ahead giving us a more realistic picture of the costs regardless of our day to day expenses and lifestyle choices.
By generating a schedule of maintenance with the needed supplies prices, it is easier to prepare in advance by taking advantage of better prices and allowing us to search the locations with good facilities that allow us to perform our jobs. Knowing what is needed for each maintenance job in advance also allows us to carry exactly what we need at all times.
Of course, evaluating all the related costs is not so simple, the exercise done with our yearly budgets tell us precisely that, there are many things at play between insurance for different sailing areas, different costs of living in different countries etc. But general maintenance should in principle be affected only by different VAT, inflation and product availability. We do not award a cost to labour (we try to do all our work) and the prices for hauling out because they differ so much even in the same region.
We try to always carry onboard enough supplies for 3 services/maintenance rounds. The reason for that is to allow us more flexibility in terms of pricing and also to be sure we are always prepared to do an unscheduled service, maintenance or repair without further delays (also because we like to go to off the beaten track anchorages even if in touristy places). These schedules also help us to keep track of what we need for each job, what we have in stock and a reference price for each item.
The bonus of this exercise is also getting a good grasp of some of the costs of setting up the yacht in terms of safety both of boat and personal safety, and the cost of the running operation of what some call “luxury” items such as the watermaker.
***This exercise should only be viewed as guidance/reference in regards to the schedules and prices. It is recommended to read the operation manuals when defining such schedules, supplies lists and prices.
***This exercise is in a constant update due to the lessons we learn along the way.