07/30/2012 08:53 EDT | Updated 09/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Boating enters realm of affordability

As British Columbians dream of hitting the water to enjoy the summer weather, CBC News and Business in Vancouver are delving into the reality of boat ownership in Metro Vancouver.

While the idea of buying and maintaining a boat may seem impossible to some, boating industry representatives say that creative options exist to meet almost any budget.

Aaron Fell, the co-owner of Break Water Marine in Surrey, says the toughest part of his job is convincing people that owning a boat can be affordable.

"A boat holds its value better than a car and when it comes to payment options, the banks are a bit more generous financing a boat," Fell said.

"For under $200 a month, you can get into a brand new 17- to 18-foot sea boat."

Fell says insurance can run about $500 to $700 a year, and fuel costs add about another $300 to $600.

And while there are plenty of pre-owned boats on the market, some families also opt to share boats to reduce costs.

"You can put your boat into charter so a charter company can use and offer your boat as a revenue generator for your family when you are not physically on the boat," he said.

Yacht sharing

For those looking to go the luxury route, yachts are much more expensive and more difficult to maintain.

To make the most of dollars and time, One 4 Yacht Fractions works as a matchmaker, finding clients who are willing to share ownership for a fraction of the cost.

"At the beginning of the year, we manage a schedule so everyone knows when they are going to be using the boat and the operating costs are shared equally among the owners," said Nuno Miguel Alves with One Four Yacht Fractions.

That was one of the selling points for Tim Cureton, who has owned boats before and knows there's a lot of pressure to use an expensive boat.

One 4 Yacht finds the right partners, the moorage spot and looks after maintenance.

"It gets the boat used. You don't invest that much capital, or what capital you have is used," Cureton said.

"It kind of dispels that notion of, ‘We're going to go to Alaska,’ and then you never do."