Last Updated on March 28, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

For centuries, fishermen have relied on boats to reach the most productive fishing grounds. Over the years, the vessels they have used have evolved in fascinating ways. Many different boats were created to sail in the distinct aquatic environments they fished. Today, we’ll look at the most common types of tuna fishing boats to give you an idea about their cost.

How Much Does a Tuna Boat Cost?

The cost of a tuna boat will be influenced by a few factors such as the type of the boat, its size, and the equipment you are going to install on it. For instance, you will have to pay around $300,000 for a tuna boat with a length of 12 to 14 meters equipped with good tools, while for a 24 meters long tuna boat equipped with a purse seiner fishing vessel you may have to pay more than $1,500,000. One of the most expensive tuna boats would be a boat that is 80 meters long with a cost of around $2,5 million.

The cost of tuna boats by types

When talking about the types of tuna boats you should know that there are two main categories:

  • large purse seiners fishing vessel;
  • small fishing vessel.

Large size tuna boat cost

The cost of a large purse seiner fishing vessel is pretty high. As we already mentioned this is one of the most expensive tuna fish boats. This is because it is very powerful and can reach a high speed when fishing for tuna.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a boat lift, a boat dock, or an airboat.

In the table below you will find the average costs of different large tuna boats.

65m x 13m 1979 $3,500,000
61m x 11m 1998 $6,000,000
51mX8.60m 1975 $1,000,000
43mX12m 2011 $11,000,000
80m X 17m 2012 $20,000,000

You have to consider some other costs besides the cost of the tuna boat itself such are the fuel and the crew.

Fuel cost for a large size tuna boat

You should expect to spend anywhere between $10,000 and $21,000 per month on fuel.

Crew cost for a large size tuna boat

In general, a large tuna boat of 80 meters needs 20 to 30 crew members. If a boat has 25 crew members and each of them is paid $1,600 per month, you will spend $40,000 for their salaries every month.

The cost of small fishing vessels

In case you have budgeted less than $500,000 for a tuna boat then you should buy a small fishing vessel.

Usually, you will have to pay around $300,000 for a tuna boat that has a length of maximum of 14 meters and comes with the most expensive equipment.

But you can go for a more affordable option and chose a tuna boat that is 10 meters long and costs almost $90,000.

Small tuna boat cost by model

In order to get a better idea of how much would you have to pay for a small tuna boat, in the table below you will find the average costs of different models.

Type of Boat Cost
44′ Calvin Beal $150,000
45′ Provincial Boat Builders $220,000
48′ Dixon Series 60 Detroit $350,000
32′ Blue Hill Marine $130,000
43′ Torres $250,000
35′ Duffy $80,000
36′ Northern Bay Harpoon Boat $220,000
40′ Young Brothers $200,000
48′ Ocean Motor Yacht $180,000
35′ Maine Downcast $80,000
36′ Daniels Head Novi Boat $140,000

Maintenance costs for a small fishing vessel

Besides the cost of the tuna boat itself, you have to consider the maintenance cost as well. You should expect to spend, on average, around $25,500 per year taking into consideration the following costs.

Cost of authorities

You will have to pay anywhere between $15 and $55 per foot of boat each year for the use of the harbor. So, at an average cost of $30/ft you have to pay $960 per year for a boat 32 feet long.

Fuel costs

You should expect to spend around $450 on fuel for a trip of 150 nautical miles. Taking into consideration that the tuna fish season lasts around 6 months and you go fishing 3 times per week, you will have to spend around $22,000 per season.

Other costs

  • For the fishing license, you will have to pay around $30.
  • Tackle for trolling costs $510.
  • Insurance is anywhere between $210 and $510.
  • For other fishing equipment, you will have to budget around $1,000.

Tuna boats by types of equipment

One Tuna BoatThe cost of the equipment will depend on the type of tuna boat you will purchase. In order to clarify the concept of tuna boat equipment we have to divide these boats into two main categories:

  • big tuna fish boats;
  • small tuna fish boats

The cost of large tuna fishing boat equipment

The cost of the equipment for large tuna fishing boats is really high and you will have to be prepared to buy a Radar, purse seines which are more than $100,000, and a sonar that is more than $6,000.

The cost of small tuna fishing boat equipment

In general, when you buy a tuna boat, it comes together with the equipment. Though, if the previous owner wants to keep it you will have to buy all the necessary accessories for fishing. One of the most important pieces of equipment is the sonar. This costs anywhere between $500 and $5,000.

Also, you will have to buy a GPS that costs around $1,000 and a tackle for tuna which is around $5,000.

Tuna boat cost by the number of crew members

This cost has a very important role in deciding whether to buy a large fishing vessel. If you don’t have experience with this type of boat and you will need to hire a captain you will have to spend a large sum of money.

It is pretty difficult to estimate the cost of the crew members because, in general, they are paid in the percentage of tuna fish they catch. However, you should plan on spending anywhere between $41,000 and $56,000 for the captain, while the crew member will usually be paid anywhere between $81,000 and $101,000.

What are the extra costs?

In time, some failures may appear on your boat and you will have to consider the costs of repairing them. Some of the things that you may have to repair or replace are the engine, the purse seine net and other pieces of equipment.

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