Do Sailboats Appreciate or Depreciate in Value?

You’ve saved up for months, maybe even years for a new sailboat. Now that you have one, you plan to explore the seas to your heart’s content. You wouldn’t dream of selling your boat now, but if you ever did down the line, would it fetch close to what you paid for it?

Sailboats depreciate in value over time, with a value of 91 percent after three years, 85 percent after five years, and 73 percent after 10 years. 

Are sailboats the only type of boat to depreciate like this? Is your boat depreciating at a normal rate? Is there anything you can do to slow down depreciation? We’ll answer all those questions and more in this article, so keep reading! You won’t want to miss it. 

What Is Appreciation? What about Depreciation? 

First, just to get it out of the way, let’s talk about the difference between appreciation and depreciation. 

When you buy a product, be it a computer, a car, a smartphone, a house, or a boat, its value will change with time. In some cases, the value goes up, and in other cases, it decreases. An increase in value is known as appreciation and that decline is depreciation. 

There are lots of things that can appreciate in value. These include some currencies (cryptocurrencies too), copper, gold, and stocks. If you don’t own any of those, here’s something you probably do own that also appreciates: your house! 

Yes, that’s right, both homes and apartments have increasing value. While there are exceptions to that, you can expect that when you buy your home, you can someday sell it for more than what you paid for. 

Many other common goods depreciate. For example, cars, smartphones, and computers all lose value over time. That’s because there’s always a new one coming right down the pike. A 2020 car may be valuable now, but once the 2021s are announced, that 2020 car becomes less important. In a year alone, the vehicle’s value can drop by as much as 20 percent.

With smartphones, it’s the same thing. The latest iPhone is the most valuable until it’s not the latest anymore. That applies to video game consoles, computers, and most other tech as well. 

What about with boats? As we said in the intro, sailboats will depreciate from the moment you buy them and in all the years ahead. 

4 Real Sailboat Value Depreciation Examples 

Just how much depreciation occurs? To explain it in more detail, let’s look at some real sailboats currently on the market and predict what their depreciation would look like. We’ll take the values stated in the intro–91 percent less value at three years, 85 percent at five years, and 73 percent at 10 years–to predict the depreciation over time.

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Beneteau Oceanis 55 Series

The Beneteau Oceanis 55 Series costs $550,000 if you bought it new. Three years in, its value would drop by $16,667. If you kept this sailboat for five years, it’d be worth about $465,000 by that point, as that’s only 85 percent of its original value.

What if you went 10 years in with the Oceanis 55 Series? The losses are more significant, about $15,000 over the decade. This means the boat is valued at $400,000 by this point. Is it still an esteemed sailboat that’s worth some money? Sure, but not nearly as much as when you bought it.

Bavaria C50

The Bavaria C50 is a sailing yacht with up to six cabins, a 16-foot, four-inch beam, and an overall length of 52 feet, one inch. It’s priced at $519,000, so it’s a little cheaper than the Beneteau Oceanis 55 Series. 

When the boat drops to 91 percent of its value after three years, it’s now priced at about $473,000. Five years on, as the C50 decreases further to 85 percent of its original value, that puts it at roughly $442,000. Should you opt to keep the Bavaria C50 for a decade, it’s good for only about $379,000 at that time. 

Nautor’s Swan 65

Next, we’ve got the Nautor’s Swan 65, a sailboat from a Finnish sailboat and yacht manufacturer. This vessel, which is 65 feet long, is valued at $571,743 new. At 91 percent of its original value, the price is knocked down to about $521,000 three years in. 

Once you get to five years, the value has depreciated to about $486,000, which is quite a hit. Again, by keeping this sailboat even longer, such as 10 years, the value is now $417,372.39. That’s an even bigger hit, and just for five extra years. 

Perini Navi Melek Classic

We thought we’d wrap up with a big one, the Perini Navi Melek Classic. This sailboat, which is 184 feet long, costs $25,178,996. Yes, it’s an extremely expensive sailboat, but–as you’re about to see–it’s not impervious to depreciation. 

Three years in, the Melek Classic is now valued at $22,912,886.40, which is a 91-percent drop. Five years in, as the value settles to 85 percent of its original asking price, now the Melek Classic depreciates to around $21,402,146.60.

After 10 long years with the same sailboat, the 73-percent decrease in value leaves your Melek Classic priced at $18,380,667.10.

Do Sailboats Depreciate Faster or Slower Than Other Types of Boats? 

Now that you’ve seen some real examples, you think you grasp the depreciation rate of sailboats a lot better. If you own a secondary boat that’s not a sailboat, can you expect it to depreciate at the same rate?

To answer that question, let’s more closely examine the depreciation rates of other common boats. 


Yachts and sailboats are often lumped together. For that reason, the depreciation rate of a yacht matches that of a sailboat. That is, after three years, depreciation will have the boat’s value decrease to 91 percent of its original price, then 85 percent after five years and 73 percent after 10 years.

Pontoon Boats

The heftier, mightier pontoon boat depreciates far faster than sailboats and yachts. At only three years in, this bulky boat is worth 71 percent of its original value. Within five years, that steep decline continues at a 60-percent drop in value. By keeping your pontoon boat for 10 years, you get the least from it, as its value is half–51 percent–of what it was when you first bought it. 

Fishing Boats

Fishing boats are commonly produced with aluminum or fiberglass bodies. If you own one of these vessels, it’s worth checking what it’s made of, as it does affect depreciation.

A fiberglass fishing boat is worth 80 percent of its original value after three years, 70 percent after five years, and an astonishing 47 percent after a decade. Aluminum fishing boats depreciate even faster, with their value 79 percent lower than the original asking price three years in, 65 percent five years in, and 40 percent 10 years in.

Since aluminum is such a common, inexpensive material, that’s probably why fishing boats cladded with aluminum depreciate faster than fiberglass boats. 

Cuddy Cabins

The cuddy cabin is similar in looks and design to a sailboat, so its depreciation rates more closely mirrors these boats. Yet after only three years, the cuddy cabin is at 87 percent of its original value. By five years, it’s at 75 percent of that value and within 10 years, 63 percent. That’s a lower depreciation rate than sailboats for certain. 

Cabin Cruisers

Cabin cruisers are in much the same vein as cuddy cabins, yet their depreciation rate is even steeper. Three years in, the value of a cabin cruiser is 65 percent less than it was when you bought it. By five years in, the original value is 51 percent lower, and by 10 years, it’s 40 percent. Yes, you read that right–40 percent! 

Bow Riders

A type of runabout boat with lots of forward seating, bow riders depreciate more closely to cabin cruisers. The three-year value drop is 66 percent, then it’s 57 percent for five years and 34 percent for 10 years. That’s also the worst rate of depreciation for any of the boats we covered after 10 years. 

Practical Ways to Slow Down Sailboat Depreciation

Alright, so sailboats depreciate a lot more slowly than many other types of boats out there. That’s great info to have, but it doesn’t change the fact that your sailboat is still surely losing value.

Is there anything you can do to pause the hands of time and spare your boat its depreciation? As a matter of fact, yes! Some of these measures are more reasonable and others less so, but they all work in slowing down depreciation.

Store the Sailboat Somewhere Secure

Smartphones start depreciating the second you open them up and take them out of their box. The same is true of sailboats, in that their value drops quite a bit solely during the trip from the storeroom to your destination, be that a dock, marina, or even your garage.

You will want to put some consideration into where you keep your boat then. While you can’t avoid the depreciation that will occur from leaving with it, you can store in a safe place to maintain its new condition. This could slightly halt depreciation. 

Don’t Use It

Like we said, some of these depreciation-pausing measures are a little extreme, and this would be one of them. The more you use your sailboat, the worse its condition gradually gets. This is due to the natural wear and tear that comes from enjoying the boat.

By never using the sailboat, it will maintain more of its value, to a point. As the production date of your sailboat is more and more of a distant memory, even in relatively pristine condition, it won’t be as valuable as a newer boat by that same brand. 

Wax It Often

That’s why boaters recommend that above all else, maintenance is what can keep your sailboat from depreciating quite as rapidly. Each time you take your boat out for a joy ride, make sure you wax it afterwards. 

Is this necessarily the cheapest or fastest thing to do? Of course not, but by cleaning and then waxing the boat, you’re preserving its good condition. That’s important when it comes to depreciation. 

Change out the Filters

You need your sailboat to run as good as it looks. To that end, you want to check the fuel filters every month or so. If yours are reusable, then you may be able to clean them and put them back in. Single-use filters should not be pushed beyond their limits, as they’re only designed to work for so long.

Replace the Oil

You diligently schedule an oil change for your car, but what about your sailboat? It too needs fresh oil, typically after 50 or 100 hours on the water. If you’re not quite sure how long you need to go between oil changes, find your owner’s manual. The info should be in there.

Whether your sailboat’s engine runs on diesel or gasoline, oil replacements need to become a regular part of your maintenance routine. 

Clean the Pumps and Other Parts of the Sailboat 

About monthly, maybe a little more seldom, you need to clean your sailboat inside and out. The more pristine the parts, the less you have to worry about obstructions that could block up your boat. If you have to keep repairing or even replacing certain troublesome components, your sailboat’s depreciation ramps up even faster. 

Why Does Depreciation Matter?

Some people buy things like a house and live in it forever. With lots of other items though, we don’t keep them nearly that long. You might look to trade in your smartphone the moment a new one comes out; lots of people do.

While you’ll keep your sailboat longer than a phone, it might not be forever, either. Perhaps you outgrow the boat, or you realize it’s not your type. For example, you thought you’d like a pontoon boat until you had one. Then you decided you want something more streamlined.

It happens! No matter why you want to sell your boat, it’s important to know its depreciation rate. This tells you how valuable your boat is now and how much value it will lose if you hold onto it for a few more years before selling it. 

A fairly-priced boat will attract more buyers than one that’s inflated in cost. That said, you have to make sure you earn a profit as well. By knowing your boat’s projected depreciation rate, you can be confident you’re not overcharging but still making your money. 

Is It Worth It to Buy a Sailboat? 

There’s yet another reason to get into the habit of checking a sailboat’s depreciation. It’s no secret that a sailboat is a major investment. As you saw in the earlier section, some of these boats can cost half a million dollars and others even more than that. 

That’s a lot of money to spend, and you want to know how far your money will take you. By looking at depreciation projections, you can decide if a sailboat is a worthwhile venture. We would say it is, though. Owning one of these boats allows you to explore the water in an exciting new way.

Also, do keep in mind that sailboats have some of the slowest depreciation rates around. While you can’t stop your boat from depreciating altogether, at least it won’t happen as fast as a pontoon boat and especially not a bow rider. 


All boats lose value over time, which is known as depreciation. How fast they depreciate varies depending on the boat type, with sailboats having a much more gradual rate of depreciation compared to many other vessels. 

To combat the rate of depreciation further, make sure you get into a good maintenance schedule with your boat. You can also avoid taking it out on the water, but really, who wants to do that? 


I am the owner of sailoradvice. I live in Birmingham, UK and love to sail with my wife and three boys throughout the year.

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