Costs of ownership

Summer fun MN style

As spring closes out and June opens up upon the North Star state we prep for summer of fun. Going to the lake is a communal affair. Those priced out of the metro area lakes like Lake Minnetonka, Prior Lake or White Bear, spread out to the thousands of properties in outstate Minnesota. People of all walks of life load up the family vehicle on Fridays and after a weekend up north, drift back in slow traffic Sunday evening.

For some the setting is a rustic cabin under a canopy of old growth trees banked on an environmental lake– one that accommodates canoes and kayaks. If you are into water sports you’re looking for an 800 acres lake, minimum, to have a long enough run for the water skiers and wake boarders. Tubers are pulled behind power boats or even jet skis if the passenger is not too big.

When I was growing up we didn’t have access to a speed boat much to my brother’s dismay. My grandpa was a fisherman who grew up poor so it was an aluminum boat with three bench seats and 15 HP motor which was tied up to our dock. At the time us kids couldn’t figure out why a little bit bigger boat was out of reach.

Of course there was the cost of it, the craft and the engine. But honestly that didn’t seem to be the issue. And it turns out it wasn’t. In order to maintain a speed boat, you need a lift. The lift needs a canopy (unless you want the barn swallows to make a mess of it). The dock and the lift go into the water in the spring and come out of the water in the fall. It’s a day’s job bookending the summer season.

And then there is fuel and maintenance. Five gallon red plastic gas cans need to be filled and emptied. There’s the trailer to transport the boat from the lake’s public access to its winter storage destination. Caring for a boat, and all its entrapments, make it a viable vehicle for fun and fishing– and requires time and work.

People are so quick to point out others who own this or own that, but they never consider the work that ownership demands. A boat might cost 30k, with a lifespan of twenty years that’s $1500/yr. This is less than the other costs associated with it’s ownership.

My grandpa did the math. That’s what made him perfectly happy with his Lund fishing boat.

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