Owning a boat can change your life. As a boat owner, you can enjoy long days spent fishing, weekends spent waterskiing or wakeboarding, and evenings spent on the water socializing with friends.
Buying your first boat can be an intimidating process. But it doesn’t need to be so long as you’re well-prepared and know what to focus on. Here are a few things to consider when buying your first boat.
How will you use your boat?
With so many styles of boats available, you should consider how you will use your boat and then pick out a vessel to match your needs. Do you plan to use it for fishing, cruising or for watersports with the family? Such considerations will help determine the size, layout and amenities you need.
Where will you keep your boat?
One of the biggest considerations for new boaters is where they will keep their vessel. Will you keep your boat in a slip at a marina or on a mooring? Or are you planning to keep it at home and trailer it? You also need to consider if come winter you’ll store it on your property or if you’ll pay for storage at a facility.
What certification do you need?
Most states require boaters to have some type of boating education certification, so check on what your state requires. If you plan to boat in neighboring states, check if they accept your state’s certification or if you need one specific to that state.
Handling the walk-through and sea trial.
A boat for sale might look nice, but give it a thorough inspection to be sure it’s in a good shape. Inspect everything on it, from the deck and fittings to the engine and machinery. If you’re satisfied, try it out to see how it handles. Consider how fast it goes and how responsive it is. If you’re still interested, and the boat is in the water, have it hauled out to give it a more thorough inspection and make sure there are no problems below the waterline.
Closing the deal.
Don’t end up paying more than you should. Try not to be emotional when negotiating the price. Determine the boat’s value to you and try to stay close to it. Also, if you’re buying a used boat from a boatyard, check that there are no outstanding bills or liens on the boat.