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The Complete Guide to Buying and Owning a Boat

Are you thinking of buying your own boat? Well, you’re not alone. Watercraft sales increased by an impressive 10% last year!

That’s a whole lot of people experiencing the beauty of owning a boat for the first time. They’re hitting the water, feeling the wind in their hair, and enjoying all sorts of wonderful waterborne activities. You can’t beat it.

But you do need to know what you’re doing. Don’t, and you risk buying the wrong vessel, running it into the ground, and even putting people’s safety at risk. Want to avoid that fate?

You’re in the right place. Keep reading for some expert boat ownership and buying advice.

Think About Your Needs

Buying a boat is similar to buying a car or a house. Why? Because finding the right one for you depends on your specific requirements.

After all, there’s no point buying more boat than you need (or know how to handle!). It’s a recipe for overspending. You want one that falls within budget (more on this next), has all the features you’re looking for, and aesthetics you like.  

Identify these sorts of requirements will narrow down the search like nothing else. It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to auctions, speaking to private sellers, or heading to dealerships. You’ll be able to rule out any boats that don’t fit the bill and focus on those that do.

Consider Your Budget

Here’s one thing you know already: boats aren’t cheap!

Even the smallest makes and models can sting your bank balance. That’s why it’s so important to recognize your boat buying budget ahead of time. It’ll hone your search and prevent you from overspending.

If you don’t have the luxury of deep pockets, then second-hand vessels will be your best bet. Boats depreciate in value just like cars do, which means the cost of owning a boat is far more affordable when you buy them pre-used.

Remember that you tend to get what you pay for though. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Likewise, paying more for a superior vessel could save you money down the line (in terms of repairs and replacement parts).

Don’t Rush the Decision

We know what it’s like. Desperate to buy a boat and let the fun commence, you run from one boat show to another in the bid to find the perfect vessel. But try as you might, nothing quite fits the bill!

Some boats for sale are too big. Others are too small. A few come close but lack the key features you’re looking for…

It’s frustrating, to say the least. And as time goes by, that frustration continues to build. For some people in this predicament, it becomes tempting to jump the gun and purchase any old boat for the job.

It’s not a good idea! With a lot of cash on the line, this isn’t a decision you want to rush.

You risk wasting your money on a subpar watercraft that’s riddled with hidden issues. Trust us, the best results come from shopping around and biding your time. Be patient and the ideal vessel will soon come along.

Pay Attention to Key Parts

As we said above, buying a used boat can save you significant sums of money.

But (like anything second-hand) you do have to be careful about their condition. An apparent ‘bargain’ can soon turn sour. Vessels that look great may breakdown straight away and/or need serious work to make them seaworthy.

Always do a thorough check of any boat you intend to buy. Make sure the engine isn’t on death’s door, there aren’t any leaks, and the electrical systems operate as required. Be vigilant for signs of rot, rust, and stringer separation too.

Perform Key Maintenance Tasks

Let’s fast forward and imagine that you’ve now bought your ideal boat. At long last, the fun can begin and you can get out onto the water! However, it’s not enough to know how to operate the craft…

After all, you could have purchased an expensive vessel with a first-rate engine and Yamaha propellers. The last thing you want is to let it fall into a state of disrepair, right? You need to understand how to maintain it too.

You’ll soon realize that owning a boat is a big job. The maintenance tasks required for the various boat parts can seem never-ending at times! Among other things, you’ve got to inspect the engine, change its oil, check the battery, clean the hull, dry the interior, and examine/fix the electrical systems.

The real secret to success is learning your owners’ manual. Refer to it whenever you need direction. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about keeping the craft in good condition.

Understand Boat Safety

Anybody who owns a boat must be well versed in boat safety.

You need to be adept at driving and understand how to keep everybody on board safe from harm! Alas, too many accidents occur every year because inexperienced owners make mistakes and take unnecessary risks. Staying safe usually comes down to having the right equipment and making sensible decisions.

To put it another way, it’s your job to a) take all necessary safety equipment onto the water and b) make decisions in the interest of everybody’s wellbeing. Lifejackets, flares, radios (and spare batteries), fire extinguishers, and sunscreen are just a few key items you need. From there, avoid alcohol, drive at sensible speeds, err on the side of caution, and check the weather before you leave.   

Remember This Guide to Buying and Owning a Boat

More people than ever before are buying boats in America. And we don’t blame them. There’s nothing better than having year-round access to your very own vessel.

However, that doesn’t make buying or owning a boat easy. You have to know what you’re doing in order to stay safe and make the most of the investment. With any luck, the information in this post will help you do exactly that!

Would you like to read more articles like this one? Search ‘boat’ on the website now.

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