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Set Sail: 5 Tips for Buying Your First Boat

American summers are best spent on the water. If you’re ready to go soak up some sun and catch some waves but need the cruiser to do it this article’s for you. Boat buying isn’t easy, and you don’t want your investment to sink, after all. So keep reading for what to know when buying your first boat!

Things to Know When Buying Your First Boat

Not everyone runs through a boat-buying checklist and it proves regretful for them later.

There’s a lot of things to consider, and many things you don’t want to overlook like: what you’re hoping to actually use the boat for? Make sure you go in prepared and well thought out so your watercraft fun doesn’t get washed out.

1. Budget Wisely

Adding a boat to your budget is like adding a car.

A modest size boat shouldn’t hurt your retirement budget, but something that’s meant to impress the neighbors might.

Making sure your boat will be paid for alongside any housing payments, car payments, or other loans is vital. We would recommend making sure you can pay your boat up to six months in advance, in case financial crisis strike.

This step often comes as the most overlooked stepped.

Reselling a boat is like reselling a house: challenging.

People want to get on the water, and soon their eyes are bigger than their wallet.

Make sure you won’t have to grab a bucket to start pailing out water on a sinking ship by budgeting WAY ahead of time.

2. Know Your Waters

Here’s the fun stuff: boating activities.

Maybe you’re a beach docker, and you just want to work on your tan while drinking a cold one. Or maybe you’re into sports and need a new boat that can throw out big waves for massive air.

Whatever the case, think about this in advance. We’ve put together a short list of reasons people often buy a boat, with some of their perks and pitfalls.

You don’t want to end up with a Pontoon only to realize three months later they’re not great for tubbing.

Common Reason’s People Buy Their First Boat

Vacation Cruise – These tend to be on the more expensive end because they’re basically floating homes. But if you’re looking for something that can serve as your weekend getaway, don’t plan on it also being good for water sports like wakeboarding.

Classic Speed Boat – These ARE great for water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, and other activities. If you’re looking for one that’s nice to dock near a beach or floating dock, we recommend something with a larger deck. Where these come short is in walk-space and gas costs.

The Family Pontoon – A classic first boat among families, but make sure it’s what you want. Pontoons are the perfect boats for sunset cruises or morning no-wake rides. But if you have kids or teenagers these boats can get a lot of wear and tear and also often fail to live up to the fun people want to have on the lake.

The Roundabouts – Known for doing “roundabouts” out on lakes or rivers. The perfect trailer-pulled boat used for those wild fishing trips and other aquatic adventures. Not great for anything involving more than three people or rope pulling.

3. Designed For You

There is also the option of buying a boat that’s custom designed to your specifications.

Maybe you do want something that’s great for cocktail-cruises but also has a little power for the kids. Maybe you’re looking for something to spend a couple months to a year out on.

Don’t let what you see at boat shows and boat houses limit your imagination. You can always get a boat designed for you.

Boat and yacht design is a lot like house design. It takes time, and you want professionals to guide you along the way.

But when the project is finished…you know there’s nothing else quite like it.

4. You Still Have to Swab the Deck

Your boat is not a one time purchase.

Did you read past that? Your boat is not a one time purchase.

It’s not like you sign on the line which is dotted and never have to put another penny into the vessel. Like a car, a boat takes maintenance.

And oftentimes more maintenance than a car.

Boats often need tune-ups like engine fixes, bilge pump replacements, seat reupholstering, floor changes and other cycles of repair.

Make sure your budget mentioned above factors this stuff in. If things aren’t replaced when they need to be, your boat can depreciate in value rapidly.

We would also like to point out boat storage maintenance here. Not only does the boat require an allowance, but things like a boat garage, lifts, docks, and winter shrink wrapping should be taken into consideration.

5. Do You Turn Right or Left on The Lake?

Have you taken a Boating Safety Course? Did you know there are boat police? Do you know if you’re going the wrong way around a lake?

Boating Safety is often neglected and can lead to major boating accidents including death.

Please do not brush past a boat safety course in thinking, “It’s open water! I can go anywhere!”

Each lake will often have specific rules-of-flow, and knowing how to spot them can be tricky. If you hope to just put your boat in the water and start cruising you might get some angry waves coming your way.

Or a ticket.

More Boating

For more on topics like picking up your first boat or other new things head on over to our lifestyle blog page where we have all sorts of ideas. If you don’t see something there that you’re looking for, or want more on a topic you do see, feel free to reach out and contact us.

Our goal is to give you the best ideas possible. Have a fantastic time out on the water this year!

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