Any new activity brings surprises. These include so-called "hidden costs." Depending on the size and type of boat being considered and where it will be used, be aware of the following details that may apply:
Boat Insurance - at the very least, talk to your car insurance agent to make sure the boat and trailer are included in the policy. Larger craft will require special hull coverage not necessarily available from auto underwriters. Check with the dealer for guidance, or search for marine insurance on line.
Registration - most boats are required to be registered in their state of use and all states have special boating laws and regulations.
Documentation - many larger boat owners "document" their craft with the U.S. government. There are advantages and costs in doing so. Marine lenders and admiralty attorneys are good sources for information.
Sales and personal property taxes - Although this varies by state, most new boat sales are subject to sales and or property taxes; used boat sales may also be taxed in entirety or by varying methods.
Fuel - powerboats use fuel (and sailboats use up sails). The costs vary dramatically in relation to size and boating activities, but remember to include this item in the budget. Generally, boaters use less fuel than they expect to.
Emergency help - For those boating offshore (or on large bodies of water such as the Great Lakes) emergency assistance is available in the form of break downs (towing) or running out of fuel through specialized service firms. Fees are usually assessed through an annual membership and boaters that have the service when needed are true believers. Find details in boating magazines or on the Internet.