Like many fellow Americans this past year, you may be be considering buying a boat for the first time. All the COVID closures have made a lot of families reconsider their original vacation plans, and are spending money on boats and RVs instead. We will focus here on the boats.
Boats make a lot of sense for isolating with family or others in your buble. Spending family time together is experiencing a resurgence under COVID restrictions and boating fits the bill for a lot of families.
BASIC STEPS TOWARD BUYING YOUR BOAT:
Think about what kind of boating you would like to do. Consider how and where you will use the boat that you buy. Boats are generally specialized to specific uses and conditions. Therefore, which boat you purchase should be guided by how you plan to enjoy the water. So, take the time to do good due diligence and research. It is very important to find the “right boat” to match your planned water activities, personal tastes, and the needs of your family and/or crew.
Consider whether you want a boat that you can put on a trailer and move between bodies of water and home. Do you want room to entertain guests, enjoying cocktails and/or dinner at sundown? How often will you stay on the boat overnight? Does your family want to be able to water-ski and/or wakeboard behind the boat? While each of these questions are certainly valid reasons to buy a boat, answers to each question can point your choice toward very different boats.
Once you choose which type to purchase, you are faced with the fact that the different types of boats need differing amounts of time and money to use and enjoy them properly. Like everything in life there are trade-offs. For instance you can save dockage fees and the cost of winter storage with a trailerable boat. However, each time you use the boat, you will need to take it to the launch ramp in order to get it in the water. This is time consuming, but money saving. Alternatively, a water stored boat makes for a quick after-work getaway.
SHOULD I BUY NEW OR USED?With only a little bit of shopping you will discover huge number of used boats for sale at far lower prices than brand new. Modern boats made of aluminum and fiberglass last much longer than the wooden boats don't rot like traditional wood does, so today's boats last a long time. While you are saving money up front, similar to buying a used car, you may have higher repair and maintenance costs.
SHOPPING FOR A BOATOnline is a great place to start once you are ready for serious boat shopping. There you can compare models, prices, and often you can take virtual tours of boats. Online, you can search by criteria such as type, length, type, or model, and location of the boat for sale.
Once you've narrowed your boat choices down to a few, you will want to see the boats in person. Depending on the size and price of the subject boats, you could be making an easy trip to your local marina, going to a boat show , or you could be flying to the far side of the world. You want to check that your choices look as good in real life as they did on the internet. Always insist on taking the boat out on a sea trial -- even if the vessel you are interested in is out of the water.
INSPECTING THE BOAT: WALK-THROUGH, SEA TRIAL, SURVEY
The depth of inspections depends on several factors. But if you are facing a major purchase, dig deeper, look beyond that which the seller wants you to see. You may find your concerns satisfied or you may find out why it is priced so low. Your inspection should start with a walkaround the vessel.
Following you walkaround, take the boat out for a sea trial. See if you enjoy being on the boat out in the water or underway. After your sea trial, you will want to have the boat hauled out of the water before buying. There are a lot of issues that can be hidden below the waterline.
You may want to hire a professional surveyor, especially if you are making the significant purchase of a boat larger than 30’. Most marine insurance companies will require a recent survey anyway. You might even learn a few things about your boat-to-be.
WHAT'S INCLUDED WITH THE BOAT?Things that are included in a purchase will often depend on the boat type you buy, including new or used. Aside from that, what comes with the boat depends on the deal you strike. Your seller should give you a list of equipment, which should give you a good idea of what comes with the boat. If anything is missing or you discover you want additional amenities or equipment, save your money to buy the extras that will help you enjoy your time on the water.
CLOSING THE DEALIn making a deal, you will find that buying a boat is like buying anything. if you fall in love with it, you will pay a higher price. Regardless of the type of boat you choose, buying one can be a very emotional experience. But try not to get swept up in the emotion of it all. Try to remain detached and unemotional when you negotiate a price. When you enter into a purchase transaction with a private seller, you need to make sure the owner actually owns the boat. Carefully check the paperwork, and ask the yard or marina where the boat is kept if there are any unpaid bills or liens against the boat.