Buy Your First Boat In 7 Steps
If you’ve read our articles or listened to our podcast, you must have felt an inkling of a desire to have a boat of your own and venture to one of those beautiful harbors. How expensive is it to buy a boat, you say? Relax, you don’t need to be a movie star or a wealthy entrepreneur to own a boat. The idea is to find one that is suitable and within your budget to enjoy each of those wonderful summer destinations.
Boating is a gratifying hobby for people from all walks of life. The process of buying a boat however, can be disenchanting for some. The cost is usually the first question, although the size, type, purpose and docking space form the larger reality of the purchase. Nevertheless, the benefits of owning a boat will help you overcome your apprehensions.
Benefits of Owning a Boat
- Helps you stay fit by using the boat for water sports regularly
- Could be a second home
- Freedom to cruise at your will
- Enjoy family or me time depending on your mood
- Explore the world and make new friends
- It is proven that being on or near the water helps your mood
There’s a high chance you have already started looking for a boat broker in your city. We advise reading through the following tips on buying a boat before entering any negotiations with boat brokers near you.
Tip: Patience is key. Careful purchase entails learning about what suits you, so better do your homework before purchasing.
- Why am I buying?
The first question you should ask yourself is why a boat? Do I need it or want it? Will I actually go boating on it or end up renting it out? Do I want leisurely cruises with friends or do I want speedy thrills? Should I go for a classic sailboat or a hi-tech digitized motorboat?
So many questions needing answers; remember patience is the key here.
Boats come with a multitude of features and you need to choose according to your requirement. It will be a massive investment, so think long term and accommodate for changing needs/wants – you don’t want to find yourself with a boat you have outgrown a few years down the road. Boats range from all-purpose fishing boats to cabin cruisers to pontoons and more. You must first understand your purpose and then move to decide on the size, layout, and features suitable to fulfilling your purpose.
- What should I buy? Used or New?
We repeat, buying a boat is a huge investment. Buying a new boat means buying precisely what you are looking for. They come digitized and certified, so hopefully you don’t have to worry about any prevalent misuse. Nevertheless, it will be costly and the value depreciates over time just as a car’s value goes down over the years. It is possible to find a well maintained used boat near you, lowering the cost of initial purchase.
Once you start searching, you may find a multitude of large, high-powered boats for cheap but always bring in a surveyor to check the condition of the boat. Additionally read our article “11 Pitfalls of Buying a Used Boat”. Look for cracks, flex, moisture or mold in wooden and fiberglass parts. A mere walkthrough on the boat will help you discover rotting floors, transoms or hulls. Ensure checking the electronics and most importantly make sure the engine runs.
What is in the package?
Boats come with an equipment list provided by the seller, depending on the type of boat you buy. Once bought there’s no limit on adding equipment to your heart’s content. A used boat usually comes with dock lines and power cables, but it is wise to replace those relatively cheap accessories when taking ownership. The big ticket items are what to watch out for early on such as Radar, GPS, Sonar, and Wind Indicators
How to find the money to purchase your dream boat?
It is imperative to have a good broker if you are considering an expensive boat. A good broker will know more and you will benefit from his network. The buying process will become easier and you will land better financing deals.
A boat may cost anywhere between a few thousand to several millions of dollars. So self-financing means being very sensible and not risking your costs of living to fund a boat. Note that you can make it your home, save on some tax or get a mortgage.
In any case, it is recommended that you either take a loan from your bank or get a boat dealer to finance your buying. The last option can be looking up a specialized marine finance lender but before signing any contract, understand the interest rate, the payment period and the total cost of the loan.
- Will there be other costs?
Be sure to get comprehensive coverage/liability insurance, usually paid monthly, to protect your investment. Financed purchases also necessitate comprehensive insurance coverage. It will cover you and your boat if your boat gets damaged accidentally or in a storm, or even if it is stolen. Yes, people steal boats in broad daylight.
Whether your boat is brand new or a weathered one, the maintenance cost on a regular basis is unavoidable, it can reach upto 10%-20% of the boat’s value per year. Maintenance usually includes spending on paint, minor repairs on hulls, fiberglass or vinyl. It could increase if you plan on engine repair. If you are not using your boat in the winter then do remember that you would need to store or winterize in certain locations in the country. This cost may range from $1,000 to over $5,000 depending on the region and waterway. When you bring your boat out of hibernation, relaunching will again incur cleaning and maintenance costs.
Don’t stress, of course, the costs may seem high but the time spent will be priceless and the joy of passionately indulging your hobby will justify the price tag.
An important aspect particularly if you live in colder regions. Most boats come with covers and can be stored in your garage at home; ensure safety from snowdrifts and falling trees; and if you store it in a marina or boatyard ensure it is secured during heavy stormy winds. In case of marina storage, be ready to regularly check the arrangements and be ready to pay the storage cost depending on the size of your vessel.
- Can I test drive before buying?
By all means, you should. Inspect everything, check warranties, tools and emergency kits, power docks, and electronics. Take it for a ride to get the hang of it and familiarize yourself with the engine.
Tip: Avoid emotional bouts, be practical and close the deal intelligently.
Disclaimer/Shout out to Shipshape.pro
If you do not have the time to research and find a good boat, you can find professional and registered marine service providers to assist you, through the extensive database of Shipshape.pro by clicking here. We have an exhaustive panel of relevant and specific boat maintenance professionals near you or in any city across the United States that are ready to help you in any manner. Click here to find out more.