There’s nothing like opening up on the water on a sunny summer day, ideally on your own boat or personal watercraft. But what are the actual costs of purchasing a recreational watercraft, and is it worth it?

With our commitment to advising our members on financial decisions, Mid-Minnesota wants you to know some on the ancillary costs of this type of purchase before you take the plunge into a life on the water.


Purchase Price

The biggest part of your overall price is obviously going to be the ticket price of the item. Shop around, ask around, and take your time making the decision. Don’t count out previously owned watercraft. A used boat or jet-ski is a fraction of the price of new.


Watercraft License

Minnesota requires watercraft licenses for boats over sixteen feet long from bow to stern. If purchasing new, boat dealers will help you apply for title and registration, which are good for three years.



Boat insurance generally covers collision, property damage, theft, and/or bodily injury liability. Personal Watercraft Insurance is optional (unlike car insurance, for example), but is recommended in the event of an accident. Generally speaking, your total insurance payments will depend on the type of boat or vehicle, the size of motor, and whether you’re taking to freshwater or open ocean.


For those planning on towing the boat or jet-ski to other lakes or rivers, you’ll need to think about how you’re getting it there. You will need to purchase a trailer made for your type of watercraft, not to mention needing a vehicle that has the towing capacity for that weight.


Dock and/or Marina Space

Now that you have your boat or personal watercraft, where will you dock it? Add in the cost of purchasing a dock for your property or the price of renting marina or dock space nearby (usually an annual fee).

Winter Storage

Those cold snowy months mean finding proper storage for your summer toys. There are many local storage facilities that will winterize your watercraft, wrap it, and store it for a monthly or annual fee. You may also choose to winterize and store yours on your own property or in your own storage facility, but don’t neglect the winter prep and boat wrap to protect it properly.


Maintenance & Gas

Just like any major vehicle, your boat or jet ski will require added costs for gas, cleaning, repairs, and maintenance to the hull, interior, sail, and/or motor.


For additional advice on making a boat or personal watercraft purchase or questions about recreational vehicle loans, contact us at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union.