So you want to buy a boat? That’s awesome and we want to help make that happen. Owning your own boat can make your life so much more fun – and it’s probably been your dream to own one for quite some time now. Well, now that you’re about to take the next step and actually purchase your very own boat, you might have some questions. How can you be sure that you’re getting a great deal? What should you look for in a boat? Is there anything important you should do before you even consider buying one?
In this blog post, we’ll look at six tips for how to buy a boat – and we hope to answer many of your questions along the way. Let’s get started!
1. Figure out exactly what type of boat you want to buy
There are as many types and brands of boats out there as there are, say, makes and models of cars. If it’s been a lifelong ambition to own a boat, you’ve probably thoroughly researched different types of boats and you have a good idea of what you want. On the other hand, maybe the idea of owning a boat has been somewhat nebulous…and now you’re overwhelmed with your choices.
Before you figure out how to buy a boat, take the time to think about exactly why you want a boat. Fishing? Entertaining friends and family (or business contacts)? Thrill seeking? Your reason for wanting a boat will inform the type of craft you purchase.
Do some research and figure out exactly what types of boats will meet your unique requirements. Some of the most popular types of boats include the Alumacraft brand, although Suzuki boats and Evinrude boats have their supporters too.
2. Decide whether you’ll purchase a new or used boat
For some people, buying a used boat is almost a no-brainer. Used boats have the advantage of being much cheaper (on average) than a brand new boat…and they can also be quite easy to find on sites like Kijiji and Craigslist. However, you should pause before you instantly decide to purchase a used boat.
Yes, new boats are generally more expensive. But there’s a reason for that – and it’s not that we’re trying to upsell you dishonestly. When you purchase a new boat, you get one without any previous wear and tear…and you also get a warranty. If a boating accident happens (as it could, especially if you’re new to boating), you’ll have peace of mind because of your warranty.
Overall, a used boat is great if you’re trying to save money and you’ve found a used boat in excellent condition. A new boat is better for those who have more available money (if you’ve been saving for years, for instance) and for those who want a good warranty option.
3. Budget for your boat
When you purchase a boat, it isn’t just a one-time purchase. Well, the actual boat is. But there are so many other things that come with buying a boat – and you need to make sure that you budget for all of them. The number one item on your budgeting list is insurance. This is critical, especially if you purchase a used boat with no warranty. Then you’ll also have to budget for maintenance, cleaning, moorage and storage, fuel…it’s quite a list. But don’t worry! A good, streamlined budget will go a long way toward making sure you’re organized and prepared for owning a boat.
4. Ensure all legal requirements are met
Here in Canada, there are a few legalities that need to be taken care of when you buy a boat. First (and most obvious) is proving that you actually know how to operate a boat. Think of it as a driver’s license – you’ll need to take a boating safety course to receive permission (in the form of a card) to operate your boat. Keep the card with you at all times while on your craft.
Additionally, if you buy a used boat currently owned by someone else, you’ll need to have the appropriate licenses transferred to your name. If the current owner doesn’t have any licenses, they’ll need to explain (under legal oath) why they cannot produce those documents.
Making sure that everything is legal as you purchase a boat will limit complications in the future.
5. Start your shopping online
The best place to begin shopping for a boat – new or used – is online. You’ll obviously want to see and test your chosen boat in person before signing on the dotted line but you also don’t want to spend hours and days wandering different marinas in search of the perfect boat. With online shopping, you can narrow down your options and preferences and then hit the marinas. It’s the best of both worlds.
6. Give any potential purchase a thorough investigation
If you believe you’ve found the boat you want to purchase, you’ll need to have it thoroughly inspected (even if its brand new). Hire a boat inspector, look the craft over yourself, and take it out for a test drive as well (just make sure you have your operating license on you). With a purchase of this significance, it’s vital that you be completely satisfied before buying.