Buying a boat is a huge responsibility but, at the same time, affords the prospecting owner the freedom to navigate the seas and sail to open oceans. Before you can enjoy the perks of being a boat owner, there are things you should think about before shelling out cash or applying for a loan to finance one.
How Much is Your Budget?
If you’ve bought a house or car before, you probably have an idea of how to buy a boat, and the first step to that is setting a budget. Aside from the actual cost of the boat, factor in other recurring expenses, such as fuel, maintenance, docking fees, repairs, etc.
How Often Do You Use One?
If you are planning to sail the boat once or twice a year with the family, it makes more sense to rent one to avoid the heavy costs of both the initial downpayment and any interest rates accrued from financing. In addition, renting a boat also eliminates the need to pay for storage or docking fees. On the other hand, people who live near the ocean or lake and go sailing on a boat every week or so may find it more sensible to purchase one.
Where Are You Sailing Off To?
Where you operate the boat will influence the size of the vessel and the tools and systems you have in place. For instance, if you are sailing around the waters of Maine, you won’t have to worry about your keep not going deep enough since the waters within the area are unfathomable. If you’re operating the boat somewhere remote, like Bora Bora, then a single sideband radio system that maintains a frequency over thousands of miles is a must-have on board in case you run into problems and not some assistance or rescue.
What Boat Size Do You Need?
Passenger capacity differs for every boat. Are you planning to take the whole family out or are you just going solo or with one other friend to fish? Answer to this question can help you determine whether or not you need a large boat with a spacious layout or if you can do without all that legroom and go for a faster, more fuel-efficient design. There are a variety of boats available in the market – bowriders, cruisers, runabouts, sailboats, speed boats, trawlers, etc.
Where Do You Plan to Keep It?
Unless you plan on living in the boat and on the water, you’ll need a place to store it. Before you buy a boat, do some comparison shopping for docks and marinas. For winter season, look for an indoor space to store your boat.
Do You Need Boat Insurance
The monthly cost of your boat’s insurance policy will depend on the boat’s size, type, overall cost, and the level of coverage you need. Ask help from the dealership or broker you are working with as they can usually refer you to a trusted insurance company.
When shopping for a boat, don’t just pick one that feels right today. Choose one that will suit your lifestyle needs five to ten years from now. Answer the six questions above in detail before dotting any lines and cutting any checks.