Hunting Fishing

Did you catch a ride on someone else’s fishing boat? Think twice about how much it cost the owner

Every once in awhile I write about the costs and hard expenses boat owners deal with. Their fishing buddies or occasional guests might not be paying attention, though.

First, I need to clarify that if you go fishing with me and I invite you, that’s on me. I try to be upfront with any guests about sharing a few costs with me, but my regular fishing buddies help me out a lot and I appreciate that. (This column is not directed at anyone I’ve taken, so don’t get paranoid on me!)

The costs of owning, insuring, storing and repairing a vessel have gotten to be more than I usually care to add up.

It’s not too out of the ordinary for a boat and engine base package to run from $15,000 to $35,000 and up. The monthly payments on a rig like that are like car payments. Add in boat and trailer registration fees as well as the necessary insurances and you’re looking at a hefty bill to just park the floating money pit!

For many, there are storage fees because the two-car garage won’t handle the boat (or the spouse refuses!), or you can’t safely park your baby outside. Storage fees can run upwards of $250 a month for fully contained units.

You don’t want to be stuck (or sinking) in middle of the lake, so figure in the cost to have a good mechanic check over your boat and engine at least once a year. After a winter’s downtime, replacing the impeller, checking the plugs and electrical connectors and checking for rust and aging seals are a must. A boat owner may get out of the shop spending just a few hundred dollars for the annual check, but a repair on one of today’s sophisticated engines can easily cost $1,000 and up in parts and labor.

Many boat owners buy annual passes.

Then there’s fuel and oil. Most engines may run on 89 octane but a lot of outboards only use 91 octane, premium-grade gas. My boat can use from 6 to 13 gallons on a routine trip, so that’s around $52 (at only $4 a gallon!) just for the boat. The boat owner probably filled up the truck ahead of time, so it could be out-of-sight, out-of-mind for a guest, but that’s another fuel expense. And the oil that can be an afterthought on your personal vehicle is critical for an outboard motor – and expensive, too!

Most of these costs haven’t included Murphy’s Law: “What can go wrong, will go wrong.” But guests don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff!

Some folks think that they are being incredibly gracious handing a boater they just fished with a $20 bill as a token of their appreciation. Sure, that helps, but if you’re a regular fishing buddy you might want to rethink what you’re doing and let the guy floating the money pit know that you realize what he’s up against. You can thank me if he does back flips!

Never give up!

Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert:, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars