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How Much Does A Hydroplane Boat Cost?

Once upon a time, hydroplane boat races existed as major events. Massive crowds of spectators would gather and take in the competitions. It is easy to understand the appeal. Who wouldn’t love to watch high-powered racing boats zoom around the water at high speeds? Their custom builds are designed to allow them to achieve speeds that few thought possible, while offering the necessary stability. Otherwise, the sheer force would cause these boats to break apart.

Of course, many of us have seen these races and harbored dreams of owning our own lightning-speed watercraft. Others would merely appreciate the opportunity to pilot one. These watercraft are a pipe dream for most but those with a few nickels to rub together can bring these fantasies to life. Perhaps you are currently in the market for one of these boats or maybe the costs have you a bit curious. Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, we are more than happy to offer some examples of what you can expect to pay, whether you are seeking something high-end or someting a bit less onerous. Read on and learn more when you are ready to answer the “How much does a hydroplane cost?” question at length.

Building a custom hydroplane boat

According to NBC Right Now, hydroplane racing is an expensive sport. When you begin to itemize the components of a hydroplane, you understand why it’s cost-prohibitive to build one. Just the running gear, gearbox, rudder, and steering cost an average of $100,000. The engines add another $160,000 if you use two (and you may need them both). The hull is an extra $200,000. It’s around $30,000 to paint the boat. You can get another $100,000 into the additional parts you’re likely to need to replace worn components if you race. Racing teams have depended upon sponsors to help cover the cost. Private owners who only take the boat out for an occasional drive will need to foot the entire bill. You might remember watching the Miss Budweiser race in the past. This hydroplane is now a vintage model. It came up for sale in 2014. The owner dropped the price to $50,000 after excitement for unlimited hydroplane racing had begun to wane. The sport no longer draws the crowds that it did a few decades ago.

In addition to these costs, you will need to consider the expenses that are associated with props. They can cost up to $10,000 apiece, as per NBC Right Now and you will certainly want to have a few handy. If you would like a trailer (of course you do), this will cost an additional $50,000. There are a wide range of extra pieces and parts that you will need as well.

Once the spare shafts, cowlings, air systems, gearboxes and radios have been purchased, this is where the additional $100,000 mentioned above will come into play. Lastly, there are numerous costs that are related to storage, maintenance and active participation in races. Storage can cost up to $3,000 per month and you will also need to factor in the cost of transporting the boat to each racing site. Once meals, lodging and transportation are tallied up, it is not hard to see why this is a pursuit for the more well-heeled.

The Madison Courier gives us a sobering look at the cost of racing-grade hydroplanes for intense competition. The average cost for unlimited hydroplane racing equipment, including the hull and other components that need frequent replacement, is upwards of $763,000. This price includes the $100,000 annual tab for maintenance if you’re a part of an unlimited racing team.

According to Coeur Customs, the costs will depend on what the customer is looking for when it comes to their final product. While options can be constructed within the $45,000 range, they provide more expensive options that will land within shouting distance of the aforementioned $763,000 price tag. Some may choose a more stripped-down option, while others could be willing to spring for more bells and whistles.

Can you buy a pre-made hydroplane boat?

The answer to this question is a definite yes. You can buy a hydroplane even if you’re not interested in racing. According to The Arsenale, Alpha Centauri offers a luxury hydroplane for sale. The boat features a racing design that delivers the speeds attained by race boat pilots and is available for sale to the public. How much does it cost? This depends on the level of customization you request. The starting price for an Alpha Centauri hydroplane is $184,875.00. When you consider the cost and price of some of the more iconic hydroplane boats, this is a bargain. Boats that were once created exclusively for racing are now available to the general public.

The Alpha Centauri hydroplane is made of premium materials with a matte black exterior and a bright red cabin loaded with luxury amenities. This boat is powered by a 750 horsepower engine with a twin-stage sprint jet system. It can cruise at speeds up to 60 knots, which is the beginner. You can choose an engine configuration between 550 to 2000 horsepower.

The used hydroplane market

If you’re still interested in a hydroplane but you don’t have the cash to lay out a few hundred thousand dollars, there are other options. Port Carlington Boats offers a few advertisements for used hydroplane boats from private sellers. We were in awe when we saw an ad for the Miss Vernors hydroplane. It’s listed for sale by the owner. This boat was priced at $90,000 when it was brand new. The vintage model has been fully restored and updated in 2008. It features a 2,850 horsepower engine. It’s available for a sale price of $55,000.

Those who would like to spend less can head over to the Smart Marine Guide to learn more about the used models that are currently available. While there are used hydroplane boats on the market that can be had for less than expected, one common thread unites them. They will all require the buyer to make additional purchases. By the time the necessary parts have been obtained, the price is sure to climb closer to the $90,000 figure quoted above.

Rees Custom Hydroplane 2006

We also found an 11.5 ft. Rees custom hydroplane offered for the low price of $3,900. It’s an older racing boat that is in working condition. If you’re looking for a basic hydroplane that will move fast on the water without luxury amenities, it’s something to consider. This boat is more of an entry-level hydroplane that should not be confused with the attractive lightning-speed competition hydroplanes. We included it to highlight the fact that hydroplanes come at all shapes, sizes, and prices.

Where can you find a used hydroplane for sale?

The best place to find used hydroplanes is through an internet search. Several dealerships and private sellers come up with a basic keyword search. Some of the older boats are available for a few thousand. It’s wise to check the condition of the craft before you agree to purchase. Hydroplane boats feature a performance design for high speeds. They also need frequent maintenance and repairs due to the effects of speed and friction from hitting the water hard. High speed increases the wear and tear on a boat.

More specifically, you can head to sites like Powerboat Listings if you would like to learn more. Facebook also has a number of groups where you can learn more about available hydroplane boats in your region. Roostertails is another site that provides visitors with a number of potential options that they are able to browse through.

What are the benefits of custom hydroplane boat ownership?

There is no shortage of benefits regarding custom hydroplane boat ownership, as discussed by the good folks at Coeur Customs. When answering the “how much does a hydroplane cost?” question, it is important to consider all of the most crucial advantages first. For starters, the design is uniquely tailored to the owner's exact specifications. Think of it as a way to express your individuality.

The versatility of the watercraft is greatly enhanced in these instances, as well as its performance. With a custom build, greater focus can be placed on speed and stability. The boat’s maneuverability is also a major point of emphasis. The luxury and comfort of a custom build is top-of-the-line and second to none. Whether you are searching for specific seating arrangements or would like to have the ability to control the temperature in the cabin, there are many different features you can focus on during the building process.


When it comes to hydroplane boats, there is a wide range of sizes and prices. If you’re thrilled with the notion of speed and you also require luxurious accommodations, the starting price for a brand-new hydroplane boat is around $184,000. If you want to customize the craft, the price goes up significantly. Anyone who wants to own a hydroplane can find several of these boats for sale by private sellers. If you’re a fan of hydroplane racing and your goal is to find yourself behind the wheel of an ultra-fast racer, you can expect to pay a minimum of $50,000 for a used boat in good condition.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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