5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat

By Rob Barton & Tobi Roberts, Bass Pro Shops

So you’re ready to purchase that new boat, but you’re not quite sure what you need? Here are a few things to consider that can help make that decision a little easier.

1. What is your budget?

Before you even step on the lot to look at a boat, you need to have a budget in mind. Buying a boat can be easy, and starting with a number in mind will help keep this process smooth and enjoyable. Once you have this taken care of, it’s time to find the boat that best fits your needs.

2. What kind of boat have you owned before, or currently?

If you have owned a boat before, you can use that experience to help you determine the type of new boat that will fit your needs. What about your previous boat you would change? What would you want to stay the same?

3. What do you want to do with your boat? Fish? Ski? Tube?

It might surprise the first-time boat buyer, but not all boats are created for the same purpose. Knowing what you want to do with your boat is always one of the first steps in your buying experience. It will quickly help you narrow your search.

4. Yes, but what do you see yourself doing with this boat 90% of the time?

Too many times, boat buyers get caught up in all of the things that they may do with their boat, and they end up choosing something that doesn’t fit their primary need.

If the main purpose of the boat is fishing, with the occasional skier in tow, you are looking for a sport boat, similar to the Nitro Z-7 Sport. This type of boat combines the features of a fishing boat (trolling motor and fishing decks) with the tow pylon and swivel seats that water sport enthusiasts enjoy.

If your boat is being used for the exact opposite, you are likely looking for a ski and fish boat like the Tahoe Q7 SF. Ski and fish boats are built primarily for water sports, but have a low-enough profile and large-enough deck space to please the casual angler.

5. What is the monthly or yearly insurance going to cost for the new boat?

This is something that most new boat buyers overlook. While most boat insurance is relatively inexpensive when you compare it to other types of insurance, it’s something that you will still want to consider.

Most boaters only keep insurance for the required time period, but we recommend having it for the life of your boat. The number of boaters continues to rise, and with more boats on the water, it’s even more important to make sure your vessel is protected. Having insurance not only protects your purchase, it also protects you and your passengers—and taking a boating safety course might even earn you a discount.

Answering these five questions when you’re buying your next boat will go a long way to making the process go much smoother, and helping you find the perfect boat!

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