Jan 15, 2018

A First Timers Guide to Buying a Boat

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The saying goes that the best days of a boat owner’s life are the days he buys the boat, and the day he sells it. Here’s the truth: for some people it’s not worth it and for others it’s a dream come true. Here’s another piece of truth: boat owners like to complain about their boats, don’t take it all seriously. Buying a boat could be the best decision you ever hid from your wife.

Should You Buy a Boat?

First things first, should you really buy a boat? To rent a boat one weekend a month over summer will cost you less than the docking fees for a boat you own for a year.

Boats are expensive and difficult to maintain unless you pay for dockside service and maintenance, which again will cost you.

If you are buying a boat with the intention of using it a few times a year, then you should consider renting one for a summer instead. Feel it out. Can you really see yourself sinking time and money into this thing?

Cheap yachts will still cost you upwards of $4,000 per year and small yachts can get up to $1 million a year in docking, maintenance, fuel and other costs/fees. Buying a boat is an expensive long-term decision, so if you aren’t going to use it, then turn around now.

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Still with Us?

If you made it past that stern warning, then maybe you are ready to own a boat. Boats are both a responsibility and a ton of fun. There is no better way to plan a day trip or weekend than with a boat. And you’ll always have people that want to go out on it. Friends, family, and even clients if that’s your thing.

It’s better than a round of golf. Guaranteed.

What Are You Going to Use It For?

If you want to go fast, or to fish, or both, or just want to cruise in luxury. There are boats and yachts for every occasion.

Most Common Types of Boats for Beginners

  • Bowriders

Bowriders are the most common boats for beginners. They are easy to maneuver, easy to maintain, and they are smaller. You can take a bowrider fishing, or on a day trip.

  • Pontoon Boats

A little step up from a traditional bowrider but also common. A pontoon boat has a splashboard and its good for fun in the middle of the lake or ocean.

  • Runabouts

Just like bowriders but runabouts can also accommodate skiing and tubing. A good choice for the family man that’s going to be out with the kids on the water.

  • Saltwater Fishing Boats / Center Consoles

A good choice for the boater who wants to get out there and fish. These things are also speedy and good for day trips and the usual.

We won’t tell you which boat to buy, but we will recommend that you consider what you are going to use it for. If you aren’t a fisher, don’t go for a center console. Even if you think you’ll fish more, you probably won’t.

A Bowrider is the standard choice for most. Rent one and see if it’s right for you.

What Else Do You Need?

  • You need insurance.
  • You need a monthly maintenance plan.
  • You need fuel.
  • You need a dock or a trailer and a place to keep it.
  • You need supplies to keep on the boat (flares, lifejackets, coolers etc.)

Used or New?

If you are buying use, then your boat is an acronym. BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. Eventually it will be purring again but expect to pour money into it. Work additional costs into your budget and get a pro to look at the boat before you buy.

If you are buying new, it will depreciate as soon as you buy it and if you don’t maintain the boat, it will depreciate at an even greater speed.

Your budget should give you an indication of your choice here. Never put train on your finances to buy a boat. If you buy used, be sure to include repair costs into your budget and get to work as soon as you can.

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