4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat
If you want to purchase a new boat but aren’t quite sure where to start, there are a few things you should consider. Your answers to these questions may help you narrow down your options and make your decision a little easier.
1. What Do You Want to Do With Your Boat?
Not all boats are appropriate for all activities, says Boats.com. For example, sailing, fishing, cruising and water sport may each require a different type of boat.
So, consider how you envision spending time on the water. Will you be waterskiing or wakeboarding? 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, says Boats.com, as one type may not transition well to another type of activity.
2. What Is Your Budget?
Before you begin shopping for a boat, have a budget in mind. You need to know what you can afford in terms of the price of the boat and, when applicable, monthly payments. Discover Boating also recommends that you consider the additional costs, such as fuel, maintenance and insurance. Also, consider whether you’ll need to purchase a trailer to transport and store your boat.
3. What Is the Cost of Owning a Boat?
The costs associated with owning a boat extend beyond its purchase price. According to Discover Boating, you’ll need to keep these additional costs in mind:
- Maintenance and Operating Costs: While the costs of boat maintenance vary, they are typically dependent on the size of the boat and, when applicable, its engine. You’ll need to keep up with routine maintenance, such as engine tune-ups, painting and waxing, says Boats.com. Don’t forget to consider the costs of fuel and unexpected repairs, too.
- Marina Fees: If you keep your boat at a marina, you’ll be responsible for monthly fees. These fees are typically based on the size of the boat, where it is kept and if the marina provides any additional services, such as cleaning.
- Storage Costs: If you store your boat for the winter, you’ll incur a seasonal or monthly fee that is typically based on the size of the boat as well as whether it is indoors or outside. If you’ll be storing the boat outdoors, consider paying to have the boat wrapped to help protect it from the elements.
- License and Class Fees: Many states require a boating safety class be taken before you can obtain a boating license, and you’ll be responsible for the fees for both.
4. What Features Do You Actually Need?
It’s important to separate your boating wants from what you truly need. Boats.com recommends that you determine which features you will actually use as opposed to those that are just nice to have. You don’t want to pass up a boat or drive up your expenses over something you may not actually need.
Knowing the answers to these questions when you’re buying your next boat can help make the process a little smoother. Knowing your budget, having an idea of the costs and understanding which features are must-haves can help you find the right boat for you.
Originally published on June 22, 2012.