How Does A Tuna Fishing Boat Cost

How Does A Tuna Fishing Boat Cost? It Depends

Understanding the differences among the hundreds of brands, sizes, features, and add-ons is essential for choosing wisely.  So, how much does a tuna fishing boat cost? Tuna boats range in price from $20,000 to $300,000. Read on and find out what determines the cost of a tuna fishing boat.

How Much Does A Tuna Boat Cost

Tuna boats come in a variety of sizes and types and come in various models.

A 32- to 35-foot-long tuna boat would probably be a great place to start. You ought to spend between $80,000 and $90,000 on a brand-new vessel that length.

You can pick models like the 35′ Duffy or the 35′ Maine Downcast.

Small tuna boats can cost up to $350,000. The 48′ prime Dixon Series 60 Detroit is one example of a boat with a maximum length of 48′ prime.

The vessel will cost between $6,000,000 and $20,000,000 if you want to purchase a purse seine that can reach a maximum of 80 meters in length to catch tuna.

It is better to choose a small boat as a beginner. While you concentrate on two jobs—boating and tuna catching—it will be simpler to manage.

Although some regular fishing boats are available for less money, a small used tuna boat costs $20,000 to purchase. Additional costs for tools and equipment will also be incurred.    

Cost Of Tuna Boat By Types

Small Fishing Boat Cost

If you intend to start a business with a budget under $500.000, this is the perfect type of tuna boat you need.

In general, the cost for this boat which has a maximum length of 14m is $300.000 if you will decide to equip the tuna boat with the most expensive equipment. 

While if you go for a cheaper option, you can find a tuna boat of 10m for $90.000, more than a 35′ Duffy model.

How Does A Tuna Fishing Boat Cost

Big Size Tuna Boat Cost

The cost for a huge boat is completely different, in this case, we are speaking about a boat that can reach 80m and a speed of 18 knots

A specific kind of fishing technique used primarily to catch tuna in branches is purse seine fishing.

Because of this, the engine of the tuna boat must be very powerful in order to give the boat enough speed to enable it to reach the tuna branch and then encircle them with the net.

Cost Of Tuna Boat By Size

As you might expect, the cost of a boat directly relates to the size of the boat you want to purchase.

As we saw on the table before, if you want to purchase a small boat for hobbies and go just a few times per month, my suggestion is to buy a small boat and stay in the range of $80.000 for a 36 feet boat.

If you want to buy a fishing boat to use a purse seine to catch tuna, have the opposite conversation.

Tuna Boat Cost By Types Of Equipment

The price of the equipment will vary depending on the type of boat you want to purchase.

Regarding the scope of the boat, that is the first and most crucial distinction you need to make.

We should categorize the idea of tuna boat equipment into two main groups in order to better understand it:

Small Tuna Fish Boat Equipment Cost

The equipment usually comes with a tuna boat if you already own it, but if the previous owner keeps the boat for him, you should equip your ship with the tools it needs to go out and catch some big tuna.

The most critical equipment for an amateur fisherman is the sonar.

The cheapest version of sonar on the market costs $500, while a professional model costs $5,000.

The best GPS on the market will run you up to $1000, which is another significant investment.

You can spend up to $5,000 on tuna tackle.

In the event that you opt for a small boat, these are the essential and most expensive pieces of equipment you will require.

Large Tuna Fishing Boat Equipment Cost

On a larger scale, as you can imagine, a boat for catching tuna with a dimension of at least 50 meters will be very expensive, and only seasoned individuals know how to take advantage of and profit from it.

I say this because the value displayed on the screen will be enormous if we assume that a big boat that can catch fish costs a certain amount.

If we look at a purse seines fishing vessel, the cost of the equipment is relatively high because, even if you don’t invest in something significant, you will undoubtedly need something that can guarantee efficiency over the years.

Tuna Boat Cost By Numbers Of Crew Members

If you choose to purchase a large fishing vessel, the cost component related to the number of crew members will have a significant impact.

Owners of tuna fishing boats may assign tasks to crew members who are reliant on them.

If so, you will need to hire an experienced captain, which will be very expensive.

Since the fishing boat crew typically receives payment as a percentage of the tuna fish they catch, we are unable to estimate the cost you will need to pay.

 Data found showing the average salary for a deckhand of tuna boats is $40,000 to$55000, and for the captain, the salary goes from a minimum of $80000 to $100000.

In any case, you should take into account that if you are lucky, this business is one of the most lucrative.

The majority of the tuna trade, or 60%, is actually conducted by purse-seine vessels.

Tuna Boat Add-on Costs

The cost associated with owning or purchasing a tuna boat should now be more clear to you have reached that point, I’m sure. 

In any case, we neglected to take into account an important factor: the cost related to some failure on your equipment or, in the worst case, on your engine.

The worst-case scenario for owners of both small and large fishing boats is one in which the engine fails; in this case, you will have to pay for repairs.

The only thing you need to think about when comparing the cost of a small boat is the fishing gear.

As you can imagine, the issue for a larger boat maybe with the purse seine net damage, equipment repair, etc.

How Much Will It Cost To Operate A Tuna Boat On An Annual Basis?

The Wicked Tuna TV series typically features tuna fishing vessels that are between 32 and 48 feet long. What will the operating costs be for a boat this size to catch tuna?

Let’s take a look at the operating expenses for a day of tuna fishing at sea.

  • You might have to pay around $20,000 for a small used tuna boat.
  • GPS, radar systems, and boat electronics will run you about $5,000.
  • Trolling gear will run you about $5,000.
  • The cost of casting lures tackle is about $5,000.
  • The cost of fuel, fishing licenses, insurance, docking, and other expenses must also be paid.

A charter-operating tuna fisher also posted in a forum. According to him, the following expenses really apply to operating a tuna boat:

  • 6% of the trip gross goes to the landing.
  • 15% goes to the bait company.
  • 5% goes to the city authorities for the right to use the harbor.
  • With an average trip distance of 140 miles, fuel costs $3.51 per gallon.

He continued by stating that the price of fuel for the 1.5 and 2.5-day trips on the tuna boat charter was a staggering $8,123. It’s an expensive business!


This guide does its best to give you a precise idea of the cost of a tuna boat while taking your preferred boat types into account. It then goes further to attempt to make an estimation of the cost of maintaining these boats.

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