The Real Cost of Owning a Boat

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-05-15T21:05:49Z

Photograph by Alan Thornton/Getty Images

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You'll need to equip your boat with life jackets, which can run about $70 each at West Marine, and an emergency kit. The Coast Guard Safety Package 3 at BoatStoreUSA includes a safety gear bag, a Freon horn, a fire extinguisher, a visual distress signal kit as well as dock lines for $170. The 12 Gauge Alerter Plus kit runs $85 and includes the flares, safety whistles and a watertight floating case. Add to that all kinds of electronics -- from a GPS system to a chart plotter and radio system -- items that easily tack on an extra $20,000.