Boat Buying Guide
Boat ownership can be a rewarding experience – but only if you go into the purchase well-informed and with realistic expectations. Buying the wrong boat, or one without considering the long-term costs, can lead to disappointment and potential financial burden.
New vs. Used
When it comes to buying a boat, you’ll first need to decide between buying new, or buying used. Despite being beautiful to behold, new boats can have their own issues. Warranties and maintenance will be taken care of for you, but any time the boat is in the shop and unavailable to use, is time (and money) wasted.
Alternatively, used boats can sometimes provide the best value for money, but investigating a used boat thoroughly is a must. Thinking of buying a used boat? Here are some tips to help with the process.
Become A Boat Detective
If you’re going to purchase a used boat, you need to be sure to research and inspect thoroughly. Start by looking at the overall condition of the vessel, interior, and exterior. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; the current owner should be honest and open with any issues that may be present.
If you have any doubts as to the condition of the boat, employ a professional marine surveyor for an in-depth inspection. However, make sure that the surveyor is a qualified professional, and preferably a member of one of the marine surveyor associations, such as the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS).
Other important checks to make include examining the registration documents, studying the hull to check for osmosis, looking at the engines and machinery, and checking the bilge for any signs of water ingress or fuel leaks.
Understand the Costs
The 20% down payment amounts is only the beginning when it comes to boat ownership costs. Alongside the cost of the boat itself, you’ll need to factor in costs for fuel, mooring, insurance, maintenance and repairs, plus things like navigation equipment and safety gear.
For sailboats, always remember to factor in the cost of sails and rigging too. In more extreme cases, you may also have to factor in the cost of transporting the boat from A to B.
To Rent or Lease
Boat rental or leasing can provide an affordable alternative to full boat ownership. If you’re just getting into boat ownership and your budget is tight, it may be a better idea to rent or lease a boat for a short period of time before looking to make a purchase. With leasing, you’re likely to get more for your money, as you’ll be able to use a much higher-end boat than you might otherwise be able to afford.
To Boat or Not To Boat
Take the time to carefully consider your needs and resources before you buy a boat. Doing your homework and making an informed decision will help you avoid potential problems.
Depending on your budget, requirements and the type of boating you want to do, buying a boat may or may not be the best option. There are plenty of opportunities to experience boating without owning a boat, such as chartering a boat or participating in meet-ups and clubs. You may even be able to build your own boat affordably, which could provide a cost-effective and deeply satisfying way to explore the world of boating.
No matter what route you take, it’s important to plan ahead, so the boating life can you leave you brilliant memories and smiles, rather than boat-owner blues.