Boat Ownership is on the Rise in Australia, Here’s What it Means

Boat Ownership is on the Rise in Australia, Here’s What it Means
Covered Boat parked at home
Boat demand in Australia is making big waves, here is what it means for your pleasure craft insurance.

Since the pandemic, watercraft demand has skyrocketed.

The Boating Industry Association estimates that new and used boat sales are increasing by over 50% and 20%, respectively.

So, let’s look at the stats

  • The Australian marine industry’s turnover reached $9.55 billion in 2022, up from $8.83bn in 2021
  • Around one in ten adult Australians have a boat licence
  • The rise is mainly from recreational (consumer) demand as 85% of boats in Australia are less than 6 metres in length
  • 70% of consumer boats are used for some type of fishing
  • Australia’s most beloved boat is still the iconic aluminium tinny
  • Prices range from $15,000 to $35,000 for an average motorized, cabin-free fishing boat

Despite its popularity, there is always room for more boaters. It’s important to fully understand the responsibilities of owning a boat before you purchase one.

It is more than just the cost of buying the boat. There are additional costs for maintaining and insuring your boat, as well as paying for its repairs and upkeep.

Boat ownership costs

These are the main costs of owning a boat here in Australia:

Buying your boat

The first thing to think about when purchasing a boat is its price. A brand-new small boat could cost you between $35k and $80k. Other than the capital purchase price, you will incur additional costs. Additional costs may include registration fees for new boats, transfer fees (if applicable), berth line fees, tender fees, and outline fees (if they are not already included in the purchase price).

Pleasure craft insurance costs

When purchasing a boat, pleasure craft insurance is essential. You should make sure you have a specialist boat insurance that covers hull damage as well as liability and personal accident. If you’re looking for boat insurance that matches your needs and your budget, Coast Insurance can help. Our pleasure craft underwriters will take the time to understand your boating lifestyle and then prepare an obligation-free quote for you to review. Get in touch today.

Maintenance costs

If you bought a used boat, you might already be familiar with the maintenance costs. The cost of maintenance will depend on the frequency with which the boat is maintained, and the extent of work required. For more information about the maintenance schedules and costs associated with major overhauls, make sure to consult the owner’s guide.


You must ensure that your boat is properly maintained if you own it. Repairs include replacing broken windows, repairing leaks, removing corrosion, cleaning the engine, changing battery chargers, and replacing or cleaning carpets.

Fuel costs

Although fuel consumption is variable from boat to boat, it is generally believed that an average boat consumes approximately 1 litre of fuel per hour. It is important to budget for your boat if you intend to use it often.

Other expenses

Other than the ones mentioned above, you can expect to also incur ongoing or additional costs such as:

  • Yacht Club membership
  • Polishing a minimum twice per year
  • Lifting and standing
  • Annual registration fees
  • Marina berth fees

So, what does a surge in boat ownership mean for you

Since the pandemic, there has been a sudden increase in boat sales. It is evident that more Western Australians are exploring their own waters, building their boating skills, and building their confidence.

This was so significant that new boats less than five meters in length are being registered at an unprecedented rate. RAC reported that sales rose by 39% over 2019 figures.

However, as more people buy boats and explore Australia’s waterways, what does that mean for your boating experience? These are the trends that we have observed and how they can impact you.

Boats are in high demand

Boats in all kinds of conditions are starting to move as more people enter the boat ownership market. The market is crowded with first-time boaters and people looking to upgrade to larger boats.

The old stock has been resold, as have boats that aren’t in the best of condition. The same applies to new boats. Dealers are struggling to keep up with demand, and there has been an order backlog.

Boats are moving quickly, which is contributing to the increase in boat ownership. However, it is important to maintain a level head when you consider purchasing a boat. This will save you many headaches down the road. Before you make a purchase, do your research. You should also research pleasure craft insurance. Some boaters don’t realise they need a boat insurance survey if their vessel is older & stored in the water. Also, most marinas won’t accept boats without a pleasure craft insurance policy.

Prices are on the rise

This increase in boat ownership has brought more buyers to the market, and prices have risen due to a shortage of boats. Boats have been resold at a substantial profit since the pandemic.

Boat owners are also putting off selling their boats, choosing to travel locally instead of heading overseas. Others who are on the waitlist for new boats are purchasing interim vessels. They will keep them for one or two years and then sell the boat when it arrives. This has led to fewer motivated sellers, which has resulted in higher prices and lower stock.

You want to ensure that you are getting a high-quality vessel when you pay more. The service history is a great way to determine if the boat has been well maintained.

Busier waterways

Increased boat traffic means more boats on the waterways, which can make them difficult to navigate. Planning your day ahead is worth it. This will allow you to avoid waiting for 1-2 hours at boat ramps and make it easy to find a public mooring. Pay attention to newcomers, who might not be familiar with their wash or need extra assistance. It is always better to have more people around. This means more boats and a larger industry. An experienced boater can give tips and tricks that will improve a novice’s experience. This will help keep the industry alive.

We recommend boat lessons, regardless of whether you are new to boating. These lessons will make your boating experience more enjoyable and increase your confidence. If you don’t have any experience with boating, some insurance companies may not give you a policy. Getting lessons can help you save money on your policy. Read our blog, Best Online Boating Courses in Australia, to learn more.

Coast Insurance can help

With the huge waves that boats are making all over Australia, Coast Insurance is here to help our clients get out on the water.

Looking for a Quote?

Choose the best option below to find the Market Leading Products to suit your needs

customer quote

For Boats, Personal Water Craft & Sports Craft


For Boats, Personal Water Craft & Sports Craft

Various retail and commercial products including package solutions

general enquiry

Talk to the team at Coast Insurance for more options