Do you love spending time out on the water when the weather is nice?
Whether you enjoy fishing, participating in one of many water sports, or simply sitting and watching the waves roll in and out, buying a boat can give you an opportunity to spend as much time as you want out on the water.
There are more than 15 million boat owners in the U.S. today. Some of them own large yachts and cruise around the world on them, while others own small boats and take them out on lakes and ponds.
Regardless of which kind of boat you decide to buy, buying a boat could prove to be one of the best decisions you ever make. Here are 11 essential things to look for when buying your first boat.
1. How Big Do You Want the Boat to Be?
One of the first things you’ll need to decide before buying a boat is how large you want that boat to be.
If you’re obtaining a boat so that you can fish off of it by yourself, something small and easy to maneuver will probably be your best bet. But if you’re obtaining a boat so that you and your entire family can take part in water sports off the back of it, you’ll need something a little larger.
By figuring out how big of a boat you want right at the beginning of your search, you’ll be able to narrow down your options quickly.
2. What Style of Boat Will Work Best for You?
In addition to considering how big of a boat you’re going to need, you should also think about which style will work best for your specific purposes.
There are certain boats that are designed for fishermen. They have places to store all your fishing gear and are set up to allow you to fish in comfort.
There are also certain boats that are designed for water sports. They have the right components on board for those who wish to waterski, wakeboard, and more.
The last thing you want to do is invest a bunch of money into a fishing boat when you plan on using it for water sports or vice versa. You’ll find out that it’s not going to work for you in a hurry.
3. Are You Interested in a New or Used Boat?
Brand-new boats cost a whole lot more than you might think. While you used to be able to get a new boat for about $35,000 back in 2000, the average cost of a new boat has skyrocketed to more than $60,000 today and continues to go up.
Because of this, a lot of first-time boat owners opt to go with a used boat over a new one. This makes buying a boat more manageable for them as far as their finances are concerned.
First-time boat owners also need to spend some time acclimating themselves to boat ownership. It’s usually better to go through this process with a used boat as opposed to a new one.
4. What Kind of Engine Do You Want on the Boat?
When you’re looking around for a new car, you’ll find vehicles with all kinds of different engines in them. The same goes for boats.
There are a variety of different kinds of boat engines. Here are some of the options that’ll be available to you:
- Diesel inboard engines
- Gas inboard engines
- Outboard engines
- Stern drive engines
- Jet boat engines
- And more
Do your research before buying a boat and see which engine will provide you with the necessary amount of power. Those who plan on going for leisurely boat rides around on a lake will obviously want a different engine than those who plan to race their boat out on the ocean.
5. What Kind of Propeller Do You Want on the Boat?
Outside of thinking about which engine will meet your individual needs, you should also consider what kind of propeller will be included in that engine.
There are high-performance stainless steel propellers that are very durable, but they can be on the costly side. There are also more cost-effective aluminum propellers, but they can cause you to experience more drag and wear down on you quicker than stainless steel propellers will.
View here to learn more about the stainless steel versus aluminum propeller debate. It’ll allow you to choose the best boat propellers for your purposes.
6. Are There Any Special Features You Need On Board the Boat?
Much like cars, boats come jam-packed with all kinds of amazing features these days. From GPS systems and fish finders to stereo systems and sleeping quarters, you can find almost any features you want on board a boat.
Which features are most important to you?
If you wait until you’re shopping for boats to decide that, you’re going to have a tough time figuring out what you need and what you don’t. It’s a good idea to create a list of must-have features prior to looking at boats so that you don’t fall in love with features that you don’t actually need.
7. Can You See Any Signs of Damage on the Exterior of the Boat?
If you decide to buy a new boat, you won’t have to worry too much about the condition of the boat. As long as it was handled properly after it was manufactured, it should be in great shape.
If you decide to buy a used boat, though, you’ll want to inspect it carefully for any signs of damage. Specifically, you want to keep a close eye out for any cracks on the outside of a boat.
Small imperfections on the exterior of a boat, like chipped or faded paint, shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. But larger cracks could indicate a need for costly boat repair. Steer clear of purchasing any boat that has obvious signs of damage on it, even if the boat is available at a terrific price.
8. Has the Interior of the Boat Been Well-Maintained?
Once you’re done inspecting the outside of a used boat, you should also take the time to inspect the inside of it. You want to look for any signs that might show it hasn’t been well-maintained.
Ask a boat owner to see their maintenance records so that you get a sense of how often the boat was serviced. Additionally, walk around the inside of the boat and check for everything from loose seats to broken latches and handles.
9. How Does the Boat Handle on the Water?
You wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving it first. So why you buy a new boat without taking it for a spin out on the water?
Before you fork over a pile of money to buy a boat, ask the owner of it to take you for a ride in it. Pay close attention to how the boat starts up, how easy or hard it is to handle the boat, and how quickly the boat runs through gas.
Push the boat to its limits out on the water, too, to see how it holds up when you’re driving it. You should feel comfortable when you’re behind the wheel, and you should be able to imagine yourself spending long days on board the boat enjoying it.
10. Does a Boat Fit Into Your Budget?
Cost is something you’re going to need to consider sooner or later when it comes to buying a boat. A boat might have everything you could ever want on it. But if it costs too much money, you shouldn’t stretch yourself too thin to buy it.
It’s best to set a budget for yourself at the start of boat shopping so that you don’t spend too much on it. It’s also good to haggle a little bit at the end of the boat-buying process to save yourself some money.
11. How Much Will It Cost to Maintain a Boat?
You’ve probably the heard the old saying, “The two happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it.”
That saying came about as a result of all the maintenance that goes into a boat. From the moment you take ownership of a boat, you’re going to need to do one thing after another to keep it afloat and ensure it runs.
As long as you can afford it, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if you get caught off-guard by boat maintenance expenses, it’s going to make you resent your boat before long.
Look into how much it’s going to cost to maintain a boat you’re thinking about buying. It’ll help you avoid encountering a series of unexpected expenses later.
Consider All These Things Before Buying a Boat
There are so many things to consider when buying a boat. From how big you want the boat to be to how much it’s going to cost, think long and hard about everything before committing to purchasing your first boat.
As long as you look for the things listed here, you should walk away with a boat that you’ll love for years to come. You’ll enjoy spending time on your first boat when it has everything you want and need.
Buying a boat is one great way to reduce your stress levels and improve your life. Read our to blog to learn some other tips for destressing.
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