What Questions Should I Ask When Buying A Boat?
If you're buying your first boat for yourself or someone else, you might yourself overwhelmed with the amount of choices available. The boating market is expanding every single year and all of the different makes and models are enough to make your head spin.
You can narrow down your search by asking the right questions, and that's what this article is all about. What questions should I ask when buying a boat? You might be surprised at how simple and easy it can be to find exactly what you're looking for.
You might also enjoy our blog on boating for beginners.
What do you want to do with your boat?
The very first and most basic question to get sorted is asking what you want to do with your boat. Certain boats will find some tasks easier than others. I prefer to use my boat for fishing, but a low top speed when putting around means that it will never be suitable for water sports.
These limitations apply to all boats to varying degrees. Take a minute or ten and just sit back while you let your imagination run wild. How do you see yourself enjoying your time most while on the water? Who is on your boat and what are they doing? What activities are they enjoying while they're on board?
Will you be waterskiing or wakeboarding? Perhaps you'll simply work on your tan? Do you want to entertain friends and family frequently? Will you spend nights on the boat? Make sure you really research the kind of boat that matches your needs and planned activities.
How easy is your boat to maintain?
The following three points will stick together closely since they all have to do with the almighty dollar. Some boats require less maintenance than others and you'll want to ensure that you're not going overboard while trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Smaller boats and less expensive brands will be much kinder to your budget generally speaking, but you'll always need to focus on upkeep for your boat to avoid expensive repair bills. A bit of salt remover or boat wax sealant can go a long way in keeping costs down.
Be honest about your budget. What can you afford?
Unless you're really raking in the cash, budgeting will be the most critical factor when it comes to buying a boat. I'm sure we'd all love to cruise around on a 60 foot yacht, but my bank account tends to disagree pretty vehemently about that idea. I bought small and learned to live with it.
You'll need to consider any sort of loan repayment plan that you get involved with but that isn't the end of the tale. Be sure to leave some wiggle room for fuel, maintenance, insurance, and possibly some marina fees. If you aren't docking at a marina then a trailer will need to find it's way into the budget somewhere.
What does it cost to own and operate a boat?
To add on to the last two points, you'll need to be aware of everything from maintenance to fuel when it comes to your boat. The biggest question you should ask when buying a boat (or anything else for that matter) is how it will fit into your budget. A boat won't do any good if you can't afford to run it.
While some people might say that a boat is an endless expense, the truth is that with continued maintenance things will remain affordable. Most folks complaining about boat expenses have simply let their vessel degrade to the point that it requires a serious overhaul to continue sailing safely.
What features do you actually need?
Cutting down on all of the extras is probably the easiest way (apart from regular maintenance) to keep costs as low as possible. We all want the built-in deck grill and Bluetooth speakers, but the truth is that you can buy these extras slowly as your budget permits.
There is no rush when it comes to creating the perfect boat for you, and there's something to be said for delayed gratification. My boat is nowhere near the lounging cruise machine that I'm aiming for but every new doodad that's installed fills me with a real sense of satisfaction.
Take your time, ask a lot of questions, stay within your budget, and have fun choosing the best brand new boat for you!