Want a boat? You’ll have to be more specific. Do you want a yacht, a dinghy, a catamaran, a multi-hull, a powerboat, a cruiser? Oh, is that sail or motor cruiser? As you can see, there are a whole lot of choices out there. If you’re curious about getting out on the water, follow these helpful tips as a guide to buying the right boat.
Narrow down your choices
As we mentioned earlier – there are a LOT of choices out there. But you can narrow your choices down by asking yourself a simple question: what am I using the boat for? Is this just for yourself? For you and a friend? A boat for entertaining family and friends? That’s the capacity taken care of, but what about its primary purpose. Will you be using this boat for off-shoring? Overnight trips? Fishing? Water skiing? Does it need to be hitched to a trailer? Once you’ve locked all that in, you should ask yourself the most important question – just how much am I willing to spend? Read common boat buying mistakes here.
Choose the right type
You should have a short list of boat types/categories once you’ve established how much you’re able to spend, and what you’ll be using the boat for. For a comprehensive list of boat types and categories for personal and family use, click here.
Choose what you absolutely need, then what you want
Just like any major investment, you need to figure out what you absolutely need from your boat as opposed to what you want. If you are only boating on rivers, a “tinnie” style construction is your best bet. Fiberglass is better for the open sea. You should figure out engine configurations, if you need mod cons such as bedding and galleys, accessories or if you’re really only in the market for a jet ski or a personal watercraft.
Get some advice from experts
You’ve surely seen boating show and marine craft expos advertised on television. If there is one near you, attend and get to know others in the marine craft and boating community. They are seasoned experts and will be happy to share their insights with you. Of course, you can find many of these online!
Carry around your short list
Once you’re brimming with knowledge, carry around your short list to dealers and marinas to make sure you’re keeping to your plan. Finding the right boat that ticks all your boxes may take a while. Sometimes you’ll stumble upon the perfect boat in a single day! Persistence is the key.
Ask questions and test your boat
Once you have found something that is to your style and budget, ask the relevant questions. If it’s used, ask to see a maintenance record and logbook. Ask if it has a warranty, and if this warranty is transferable when sold. Then ask to take it out for a sea trial to see how it feels and handles in real-world conditions.
Learn to use it
If you’re new to the water, you should definitely invest in learning how to handle your boat. At the very least, you should know how to handle yourself in emergencies and know all there is to know about boating safety. It could save your life.