Owning a boat can be a lot of fun whether you love to fish, water ski, or just cruise around on the water. Unfortunately, a boat can be a costly expenditure, and it’s easy to choose the wrong one. If you need a little help deciding on a boat, here are 10 tips you should consider.
- Choose the right boat.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but think about what you want the boat for. Do you want to use it for leisurely sailing or for fishing? The type of boat you should purchase depends on how you answer this question. Boats are loaded with features that can be helpful, but there’s no reason to buy a radar if you’re just going to be sailing around the lake.
- Consider where you’re going to keep it.
We all want a large boat we can enjoy during our free time, but it may not be feasible to store a 30-foot boat at the dock or in your garage. Before you purchase anything, research where you are going to keep it. Take some measurements to avoid future headaches.
- Consider a used boat rather than a new one.
You can buy a used car, why not buy a used boat? Like cars, the value of a brand new boat depreciates quickly after you purchase it. Used boats are far less expensive and are just as good. You can find used boats that have been kept in good condition, which will make future maintenance much easier. Before buying used, be sure to have it checked out by a professional.
- Choose the proper propulsion.
While powerboat sales are up, they may not be right for you. If you’re looking for a fishing boat, disturbing the waves will only scare away the fish. There are quite a few ways to propel a boat, such as with an engine, wind-powered sails, or paddles. Think about the pros and cons of each. Generally, most sailboats are also equipped with a small engine.
- Research the brand before buying.
Like for vehicles, you need to thoroughly research the brand of a boat before you purchase. There are countless brands out there, and they all offer their own features. You can check out boating forums to find the proper brand for you. Some examples of boating forums include iboats.com , The Hull Truth, and BoaterEd.
- Study several warranties.
Before you purchase a boat, you should look at all the types of warranties that have the options you need most. Warranties are invaluable tools that will keep headaches at bay and should influence your purchase. Some warranties are transferable when you purchase a used boat—an excellent feature if you decide to sell the boat. Find out what mechanical parts are covered if you’re looking into a new boat.
- Test drive before you buy.
Don't feel awkward asking to test drive a boat before you buy it. Like cars, the desired feel of the drive and control of a boat is unique to the individual driving it. You want something that will handle just right for you while it’s in the water. If it’s a family boat, consider bringing the family along to get their reactions as well.
- Read about the boat.
If you’ve found the perfect boat, you need to do some extensive reading on it. While boating isn’t too difficult, using the boat correctly may be. There are classes you can take to learn about your boat and safe boating, or you can simply read through the manual online. It’s beneficial to learn all you can about the boat before you decide to buy it.
- Think about the cost of ownership.
While buying the boat is one thing, the upkeep and maintenance are another. There is the cost of boat fuel, as well as boat, trailer, and motor maintenance that should be conducted at regular intervals. While a freshwater flush may seem unimportant, it can protect your boat more than you know. It may even help keep issues at bay (excuse the pun).
- Thoroughly inspect the boat before you buy.
As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to take a good look at your boat before you buy. However, if you bypass that step, there are a few things you should check yourself. Immediately check the hull and gel coat condition. Inspect the deck, fittings, helm station, cabin hatches, and windows. Finally, be sure to check the mechanical parts. You should always test drive a used boat before you buy. A good guide to follow can also be found on Boats.com.