Buying Your Perfect Boat


It’s easy to be nervous when you consider purchasing your first boat.  However, your boat purchase does not have to feel this way at all.  With proper planning and a little patience, your purchase can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you will ever buy. 

Do Some Research:

Most people that are unhappy with their boat purchase feel that they bought the wrong boat for their needs.  Make sure you ask yourself these questions before you go shopping.

  • How is the boat going to be used?  Will you be fishing, water skiing, cruising, day trips, weekend trips, or maybe excursions to the Bahamas?
  • Who is going to use it?  Are we talking just family or are you going to bring some friends?
  • When and how often are you going to us it?  Seasonally or all year long?
  • Where will you use it?  Oceans, lakes, rivers?  
  • What suits your personality the best?  Do you want to get from place to place very fast, or would you rather take your time?

These are all very important questions and will help you narrow down the boat you want and where to look for it. These will also help you get an idea of price.

Learn the Common Problems:

Learn the language of the sea by spending some time with boaters.  Hang out at the marina and learn the problems they are having.  Each type of boat has its own unique challenges.  The marina is also a great place to learn what features people like and which ones are necessary.  You may want to consider the boat in terms of these six categories:

  • Safety
  • Performance
  • Condition
  • Accessories
  • Cost 
  • Looks

New vs. Used:

Though new boats have their advantages, they still come with their share of challenges.  It is nice that they are covered by a warranty, but you cannot use a boat that is in the shop.  If you get a lemon your first time around you may be out of boating before you even get started.  Used boats have their share of problems as well, but you should be able to find a nice boat that needs very little attention.

Be a Boat Detective:

Keep an eye out for some of these things when shopping for your boat.  These could be signs of damage.

  • Mismatched paint
  • Curved or warped keel
  • Engine rust
  • Soft spots on the floors
  • Musty or moldy smell
  • Does the transmission shift easy, or does it “clunk”
  • Does the motor tilt properly
  • Tap the hull all the way around, if you hear any hollowness, that could be a sign of repair or hidden damage
  • Check the oil, but use your fingers to see if you feel any grit

Sometimes it’s just a good idea to look into other options such as renting, chartering, or a boat club.

Thanks, and happy boating!