Investing in a boat is a big decision and if you play your cards right it’s something that should last your family for decades. Sailing is so much more than just a hobby, it’s a way to create special holidays with family, a great way to meet like-minded people and a wonderful way to explore more of our beautiful world. With a boat, weekends and holidays will be spent on the water, soaking in the sun, fishing and enjoying watersports.
Whether you’re a seasoned boat owner, or new to the game, there are four big questions that you’re going to want to ask yourself before you get started. Read on for my 4 big questions to ask yourself before buying a boat.
New or Used?
There are many pros and cons to buying new and buying used. I personally lean towards buying a used boat because you can get so much more bang for your buck. Boats, like cars, depreciate pretty rapidly, especially in the first year. Choosing to go for a preloved option means that you can shave off most of the depreciation, while still getting a relatively new boat with modern fixtures if your budget allows. It’s one of the best ways to buy a boat without sinking your budget and can be a good way to get a larger boat or special features that you may not otherwise be able to afford.
One of the biggest benefits to buying new is the manufacturer’s warranty that you get. However if you choose to buy a second hand boat that still has some warranty, this can be a good middle ground. I also always advise that you seek out a professional inspection before buying used to ensure that the boat has been well cared for and there are no obvious issues.
Prices for boats drop considerably during the off season, so if you’re able to purchase during the off season you’ll notice that you can save a pretty penny too.
Sail or Motor?
Generally motorboats are much easier to drive and sailing boats require wind. The type of boat you choose will depend on a few factors, such as the activities you’d like to do with your boat and also the amount of work you’d like to do. Sail boats can be wonderful if you like to do some gentle cruising or quiet fishing. However if you fancy enjoying some water sports such as water skiing, then you’re going to want the power of a motorboat. There tends to be a bit more of a learning curve with a sailboat, however that is half the fun. Sail boats are generally less expensive to run, however they have more limited uses.
How Many People?
Do you plan to use your boat just with your immediate family members for small day trips? Are you hoping to be able to spend a few nights, or even weeks, aboard your boat with some friends and family. Perhaps you’re looking for a boat to be able to host fun cocktail evenings on and special celebrations with loved ones. Think long and hard about how you imagine your future boat fitting into your lifestyle. The way you plan to use your boat and how many people you intend to entertain will say a lot about how big of a boat you really need. The larger the boat generally means a more expensive cost price, but it also impacts other costs including running cost, storage costs and even how expensive it will be to transport the boat. If your budget is tight, then you’re going to want to aim for a boat that is as small as possible while allowing you all the space you need to really enjoy your boat.
I suggest touring a few boats to see how they feel once you’re on board. If you’re looking for a boat for staying overnight or entertaining on, then you’re going to need to get a better feel for the spaces available on each boat model. It may even be worth renting a boat that you’re looking to buy to see how it feels over the course of a weekend.
Where Will You Store it?
Boat storage is an important aspect of boat ownership. If your boat is large enough, then you may have to factor in monthly marina fees to your costs. A smaller boat can be stored at your home and easily towed with you from place to place. If you plan to store and move the boat yourself, then you’ll probably have to invest in a trailer. If your boat is large enough, it may require professional movers to transport it from place to place. Thinking about what storage options appeal to you most is a great way to ensure that the boat you purchase suits your lifestyle and budget for years to come.
Owning a boat affords you a level of freedom and fun that can enrich your life substantially. Hopefully these four questions help ensure you’re well prepared before you begin the boat buying process. Take your time to find a wonderful boat that will provide your family with years of happy memories.