You’ve been asking yourself, should I buy a boat? Great question. It is a big investment, both in time and money, so we want to help you make sure you are making the right decision.
It implies, of course, other questions such as . . . Am I sure I’m a boater? Do I have the money? Do I have the time to maintain it? Do I have room to store it? To answer these and other questions, you may want to consider other options besides owning. Then you can decide what type of boater you are.
Type 1: Renter
Are you brand new to boating? Do you or your family have very little experience on the water? Are you unsure of your discretionary income? Renting may be for you.
This is the option with the smallest commitment. Renting may be a good way to find out if the boating lifestyle is something you and your family will enjoy. If you are looking to make memories with your family, you might want to make sure that they will be good memories! We know some folks who bought boats, then figured out their kids didn’t like it quite as much as they hoped. The premature boat purchase turned into a very expensive lesson. You may want to test the waters, so to speak, with renting.
You should always take a good look at insurance when renting. Many marinas use insurance policies which do not give you much liability protection. More on this in another post, but take a good look at the liability involved when renting.
Telling factors: If you only envision going out on the lake 2-3 times a year, you are probably a renter. If you have less than a thousand dollars to spend, you are probably a renter.
Monetary Investment: Minimal Non-Boating Time Investment: Minimal
Type 2: Boat Club Member
Do you envision boating once or more a month? Do you want someone else to handle storage, maintenance, and up-keep? Boat Clubs may be for you.
Boat Clubs have taken off over the last few years with good reason. Clubs offer nearly all of the benefits of owning, but with much less of the hassle and time commitment. You pay a low, flat monthly rate and go out as often as you want. None of the maintenance cost or hassle. None of the storage and transport cost or hassle. Clubs often have multiple locations so you can enjoy different lakes and areas. Boating accessories are often included. If you want the flexibility of boating when you want, where you want, and are in it for the on-the-water experience only, then Boat Clubs may be for you.
Type 3: Owner
Do you enjoy tinkering? Do you enjoy maintaining your car, yard, or house? Do you have considerable discretionary income and time? Ownership may be for you.
Boat ownership is a big step, so make sure this is going to be a worthwhile investment. It’s great for the person who loves working on their own stuff. It’s great for the person who has the discretionary time it takes to see that the boat is maintained properly, stored properly, and safe. If you are considering storing and transporting the boat yourself, see this post.
Monetary Investment: Extensive Non-Boating Time Investment: Extensive
Still thinking ownership may be the way to go? We’ve developed a free eBook titled Should I Buy a Boat?: The True Cost of Boat Ownership which walks you through many of the considerations involved. Reading through this valuable resource will either save you major headaches down the road, or help make you certain that ownership is the way to go.