Summer is almost over, which means it’s the perfect time to consider buying the boat you’ve had your eyes on all season. Whether you’re tired of borrowing your buddy’s boat or just want to stop spending money every weekend on a rental, here are a few tips and tricks to help you through the process of buying your first boat.
First, Establish Your Budget
Before you start looking for a new boat, you need to establish a budget. Good boats aren’t cheap and cheap boats aren’t good, so figure out how much you’re willing to spend and how flexible your budget is. This will make it easier to keep yourself from spending too much money or mortgaging your house just to pay for your boat.
Figure out your budget first. Everything else will fall into place.
Next, Figure Out the Details
The next step is to figure out what kind of boat you actually want. Ask yourself a few questions, like:
What am I using the boat for? Are you planning on using it to go fishing on the weekends or to explore local waterways? Do you need something that can handle longer voyages out to sea? Do you need something with speed that can tow tubers or water-skiers, or are you content with something a little bit slower? Or are you looking for something with all-around performance?
Will I be spending long amounts of time on your boat? If you’re heading out for a day trip, you might not need somewhere to sleep. If you’re going to be on your boat for days or weeks at a time, you’ll need areas to sleep, shower and store your food.
Am I going fishing? If you plan to eat your catch, you’ll need a boat that is equipped to keep your fish cold or even frozen until you can get back to shore and put them in your freezer.
How big of a boat do I actually need? It’s tempting to go with the biggest option, but larger or more powerful boats may require additional licensing and insurance.
Do I want an inboard or an outboard engine? If you’re going to leave your boat at the dock, an outboard motor is a good option, because it can be lifted out of the water. If you’re planning to store your boat at dry dock or only use it in fresh water, inboard motors are fine.
Each of these questions holds a piece of the puzzle that will help you figure out which make and model of boat will be right for you.
Talk to an Expert
Once you’ve got a general idea of the type of boat you’re looking for and the budget you have available, your next step is to talk to an expert. They’ll be able to take the puzzle pieces you’ve pulled together and help you find the perfect boat to suit all your needs. They may even be able to help you figure out the answers to questions you haven’t even thought to ask yet.
Once you have a plan in place, searching for your ideal boat should be an enjoyable experience. Now you can start looking forward to those sunny days on the water next summer.