Travel Gear

Why is Sailing Equipment So Expensive?

If you’re just getting into sailing, you’ve probably been browsing for the various pieces of gear you’ll need to stay safe on the water and generally enjoy your time as a sailor. You’ve also probably noticed just how expensive that gear can be. 

At times, it can seem like the same flashlight going for $20 at Walmart jumps up to $120 because the word “Nautical” was scratched onto it. 

Well, we assure you that’s not the case, and we’re here to help explain why sailing gear is priced the way it is. 

Let’s get started. 

1: Quality is a Must

Sailors cannot afford to have their equipment fail when they’re hundreds of miles out at sea fishing in extreme conditions, or even just cruising off less-populated coasts. The equipment they use has to be robust enough, and high enough quality, to take a beating that your standard gear just wouldn’t stand a chance against, and no, there is no way to “baby” the gear. With the boat rocking around, waves crashing, and tasks having to be performed quickly, gear gets beat up fast. 

Manufacturers of fishing gear have to take this into account and make the best products they possibly can to ensure that they work when their customers need them to. 

2: Advanced Tech Requirements

Yes, Walmart can put out a decent flashlight for twenty bucks. However, can they put out a flashlight that can shine out 300 feet across the surface of the ocean, survive being dropped onto a flooded deck, or issue SOS signals with the press of a button for that price? No. They can’t. 

Those advanced features drive up the price of sailing products dramatically, and you’ll notice that practically all sailing gear has them. Even a simple shirt has to have quick-dry fabric to ensure a sailor can dry off quickly after getting soaked. 

3: Niche Audiences

When there is a high demand for a product, manufacturers can produce tons of it in an efficient way and sell it all off at a lower price than they could if only a small percentage of people needed it. 

There are not many sailors in the world if you look at the big picture.

This means that, just by being a sailing equipment supplier, these companies have very narrow target audiences; plus, you have to figure in competition between companies spreading that small audience even thinner. 

To stay open, products have to sell high enough to make a reasonable profit. 

4: Safety Standards and Innovation

It’s not enough to just make a good product. Even today, with all the advanced tech we have, sailing is still dangerous. It is the goal of an equipment supplier to minimize that risk as much as possible. To do that, research and product innovation have to be constant. That requires resources. 

Sailing Equipment Has to Be Expensive

Sailing equipment isn’t expensive to rip off sailors. It’s expensive because it literally has to be. This doesn’t ease the pain of watching your new hobby or job drain your wallet, but at least you know that the high costs are for very good reasons.