Boat or Airplane


Cleared for Takeoff
May 31, 2005
Oak Harbor
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Boat ownership 32' or larger cost over Cessna or piper cost more or less and use more of less.
Depends upon whether the boat will be stored in a slip or on a trailer. Would this be a slow cruising boat, a ‘trawler’ type, or a ’get there quick’ go fast boat. Too many unknown variables to answer at this point.
Sail or motor?

You can live on a boat, you can’t live on a airplane.

Both have fuel costs, hangar/marina costs, maintenance costs, insurance costs.
I’m almost thinking that a boat is more work (not necessarily more money), depending on location, you’ll have summer + winter storage costs, transportation between the two, winterization.
I have a 25’ fishing boat kept on a lift in FL, it requires way more MX than my 172.
Buy plane, make friends with boat owners..

Or, partnership on both.
After owning both, the plane is more expensive, mainly because of maintenance costs.
One thing that's VERY different (at least for TC airplanes), is that anyone can do maintenance on a boat. And you can use whatever parts will work.

That said, if you're doing an apples-apples comparison and you're going to pay some "factory authorized" shop to work on the the boat, then there's probably not much difference.
We have a 21 foot bowrider. It need an oil change (two engines) every 18 months, if you let the marina do it it's about $400. In the eight years we've had it, it's needed $170 in repairs. It's in dry stack storage, about $4400 per year.
I have both,if you have to ask the cost ,you can’t afford it.proper maintenance on either can get expensive.
I have 32’ Boston Whaler twin, twin Seneca II+, Corvette. Main issue is not enough time…
Had a twin-engine regal commodore 2960 (29') and I probably spent less than 1/3 per year on that than what I spent on the plane. Was happy as a clam when I sold the boat, even losing a few bucks on the sale.
I found everything is cheaper/easier with a boat: acquisition, finding a mechanic and getting mx done, getting a slip, finding winter storage, planning, etc ...

I say get a plane. If you own a plane you're going to fly more. And flying is a perishable skill. Power boating is not (can't speak to sailing, never learned how). The plane is more expensive but more challenging, rewarding and can take you more places on a whim. Worth the extra money IMHO.
That boat is more expensive every time…. Hands down.
Boat movement is two-dimensional and airplanes are three-dimensional... Therefore, airplane!
Boat movement is two-dimensional and airplanes are three-dimensional... Therefore, airplane!

Go boating in windy conditions on the ocean and enjoy the 3 dimensional movements.
And if you’re sailing, you’ll even enjoy the physics of air foils.
Plus you’ll have fancy glass panels too.
I just sold my 45' Aft Cabin boat back in March. Here are some basic comparisons between that cost and my 310Q -

Boat -
Fixed costs were around $13,500 per year not including boat payment
Slip at marina -$800/ month = $9600 per year
Insurance/ yr - $2200
Annual MX (oil and such) - $1500

Fuel (average trip) - 500 gallons of diesel @ 6.50/ gallon
Average transient slip fee - $90/ night ($2.00/ ft.)
Fuel burn at 8kts was 6gph. At 17kts it was 25gph.

Cessna 310Q -
Fixed costs are currently $9100 per year not including plane payment
Hangar - $350/ month = $4200 per year
Insurance/ yr - $2100
Annual MX - $2800 (last 2 annuals have been under $3000)

Fuel average trip - 150 gallons of LL @ 5.50/ gallon
Average transient tie down - free
Mx set back per hour - $200
Fuel burn at 175kts is 28gph.

Cost comparison to travel 300nm =
Boat - $2867.00 at 17 kts or $1462 at 6kts
C310Q - $264 in fuel + $342 mx setback = $606.00
All joking aside I think the decision depends on what your goals are. If you are looking for a way to get from one place to another quickly then a plane is the way to go. If you are looking to have a day soaking up the weather, go fishing, swimming, and enjoy the outdoors a boat may better suit you. The other option is to join a boat club and then you can always fly to an area where you have a boat available.
I have a boat and a plane and if I had to lose one I would give up the boat in a heartbeat. Having owned a 182 and now a 206, and owning everything from a 17 foot daysailer to a 35 foot cabin cruiser with twin diesels I have gotten way more use out of my planes. Both have been equally enjoyable, just in different ways.
These are hobbies for most of us and so in terms of expense it really comes to what you enjoy most. For me my plane expenses are magnitudes higher than my boat expenses. If you can only have one the decision is truly different for different people.
My 30 ft custom Sportfisherman which I just sold was way more expensive to maintain then any of my four seat Pipers or Decathlon…two Turbo diesels and a generator start adding up fast..Even sailboats properly maintained at a coastal cruising level over 35 ft can be expensive.
I’m almost thinking that a boat is more work (not necessarily more money), depending on location, you’ll have summer + winter storage costs, transportation between the two, winterization.

This. 32’ boat will be a little cheaper all in, but more work to keep it going.
I don't know...most rentals have been ridden hard and put away wet.

Same with hookers, but like hookers, they’re cheaper in the long run.

Don’t get me wrong…..I prefer marriage and aircraft ownership. But have no delusions that either is cheaper.
Tough to live on a 32’ boat. You can do it, but you won’t enjoy it.

I lived on a 31’ sailboat for 10 years, for the most part it was very enjoyable. I went into the marina during the summer to have air conditioning, but otherwise was at anchor.

The best part is you can travel (slowly) and take your home with you. It’s a lot like RVing I guess.

There’s nothing like sailing on the ocean, with only the sound of the water and sails.
I have a 35 foot center console, maintenance is a couple grand per year, on a lift at my house. Cessna 182 is $550 per month, annuals including repairs, about $4000. So the boat is cheaper to maintain.
Go boating in rough seas you got 3 dimensional motion
As a sailor, I’d pick severe-extreme turbulence over moderate seas 11 times out of 10.

As for the OPs question, I often wrestle with this question as well. We were once looking at a 50-ish foot slow trawler live-aboard. For the time being we aren’t super mobile and missions must minimize transit time - so aviation fits the bill quite nicely.
I have a 32’ Persuit and a Cessna 182. They cost about the same to buy (pursuit is a 2008 Cessna is a 1973) but the 182 is much more expensive to own. Parts, electronics upgrades, motors, pretty much everything is way cheaper for the boat. Fuel burn is higher for the boat but we spend a lot more time on the boat when the motors aren’t running.