How to save up for a boat without drowning in debt

Learn how to save for the boat of your dreams with these simple steps

Have you ever dreamed of cruising on the water's surface on a beautiful boat? Tunes playing, sun shining with a cold beverage in your hand. If this is something you want, whether it be in two years or 10, it's never too early to start saving. 

When it comes to saving for something as expensive as a boat, there are a lot of things to consider beyond just the kind of boat you want. There are tons of expenses that come along with it that need to be considered.

If you have started thinking about your saving plan for your new boat, here are tips that will have you setting sail in no time. 

businessman with hand over piggy bank

Make sure all your other finances are in order before adding another big expense onto your plate. You don't want to wind up breaking the bank. (iStock / iStock)


  1. Make sure you have an emergency fund fully stocked
  2. Create a separate savings account specifically for boat savings
  3. Do research on your expenses
  4. Set up automatic monthly payments
  5. Think of ways to boost your income and identify areas to cut back

1. Make sure you have an emergency fund fully stocked

Before considering making a huge purchase like a boat, make sure all your other finances are in order, like your emergency fund. Now, this isn't to say if you have expenses like a mortgage or a car payment that you can't buy a boat, but you don't want this purchase to sink you into a debt that you can't get out of. 

To avoid this happening, consider waiting to buy a boat until one of your other major bills, like a car payment is paid off. Also, make sure that you have an emergency fund stocked with three to six months of living expenses covered. This is something you should have in place before making a big purchase to protect yourself financially if you find yourself in a position where your income is decreased. 

2. Create a separate savings account specifically for boat savings

Keep your boat savings separate from the rest of your savings. A lot of banks allow you to create different "buckets" within your savings account so that you can separate your different saving goals. 


A pontoon boat in the water

When saving up for a boat, create a separate savings account to keep your money organized. (George Rose/Getty Images / Getty Images)

If you have a bank that allows you to do this, create a savings account for just your boat savings. That way, you can see exactly how much you have saved up for that specific purpose, and you are still putting money aside for other things. You don't want to be in a position where you completely empty out all of your savings for a single purchase.  You can also consider getting a high-yield savings account to earn more money on your savings and help your money grow faster. 

3. Do research on your expenses

Once you have your emergency fund covered and have a separate savings account set up for your boat, it's time to do research on your expenses. This of course includes the kind of boat you want and how much you'll need saved to make your purchase, but also everything else that comes with owning a boat. 

Things you'll have to consider are maintenance costs, storage fees, towing equipment, boat insurance, marina fees, a boating license as well as any other additional equipment you want to buy. 

Make sure you account for and are able to cover all these expenses, since a lot of them are going to continue for the amount of time you own the boat. 

A boat marina

There are tons of additional expenses that come along with owning a boat, like how much it is going to cost to store it. ( Mariceu Erthal/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)


4. Set up automatic monthly payments

One of the easiest ways to save is by setting up automatic payments. Automatic payments take all the thought out of saving. You don't have to worry about manually putting money in, it's all done for you. 

Once you figure out how much you want to put aside each month, set up automatic payments into your boat savings account. You can always put more money in during certain months, but those automatic payments will at least be a base amount that's guaranteed to go into the account each month. 

5. Think of ways to boost your income and identify areas to cut back

If you find yourself saving slower than you would like to, you can start to look into ways to boost your income. This could be done through a side hustle that is of interest to you. All the money you make from your business could be put straight into the boat account. 

You can also look through your expenses and cut back in areas. If you find that you eat out a lot, you can try to stay in more and put that money you save toward the boat. You may spend more than you'd like on entertainment, like streaming services, and you could cut back on those. When making a big purchase like this, you are most likely going to need to cut back on other things to make the purchase possible in the future.