Over 100 million Americans go boating each year. If you’re on the fence about buying a boat, there’s no time like the present to pull the trigger.
There’s more to choosing a boat than picking the first one you see and test drive. You need to equip yourself with the best boat buying tips to prevent buying a lemon.
Keep reading to find our tips for boat buying to get you out on the water faster.
1. Decide On What Type of Boat
Before you can start boat shopping, you need to decide what kind of boating you want to do. There are several questions you can ask yourself to determine what kind of boating you’re most interested in.
Where are you going to be using your boat? Freshwater and saltwater boating are two very different boat styles.
What kinds of activities will you be doing in your boat? Your boating personality will determine the style and size of the boat you should consider.
Sailboats are great for relaxing weekend afternoons or racing. Pontoons are versatile boats great for day cruising, lounging, and watersports. A fishing boat is lightweight, easy to transport, and is the clear pick for anglers.
How do you plan to store and transport your boat? Do you want something that’s small and easy to tow? Or will you be docking it somewhere full-time?
2. Determine Your Budget
Once you know what type of boat you want, start looking at your finances to see what’s realistic. Start scouring websites to compare models and prices.
If your eyes are bigger than your budget, you might want to buy a used boat.
A used boat will save you a lot of money upfront, but it doesn’t come without risks. There are many variables at play so make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.
Buying second-hand from a dealer might provide some peace of mind versus buying from an individual. You can read online reviews of the dealership beforehand to determine if the company is legit.
3. Schedule a Viewing
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive. The same rules apply to buying a boat, whether it’s secondhand or new.
Look for obvious signs of wear and tear. In older boats, things like rot and mildew can cause serious problems.
Signs of watermarks within the cabin could indicate a leaking hull. Is there excess moisture and mustiness in the cabin? You’ll need something like moisture absorber bags to purify the air.
An exterior inspection is essential, too. Look at the outer hull for any signs of damage like marks on the front which could indicate a hard grounding event.
Ask yourself how much work you’re willing to put into your boat if it needs some repairs.
Finally, you’ll need to it for a test drive on the water to see if you enjoy how it rides. Is the throttle touchy? How does the boat do in reverse and neutral?
As you’re driving, pay attention to how it speeds up, slows down, and turns.
Buying a Boat Made Easy
Buying a boat is a big deal, but with our checklist above, it shouldn’t be difficult. Give yourself plenty of time to weigh your options and shop around for the best deal.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Vacation category