4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat
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 begin shopping for a boat, you need to have a budget in mind. Starting with a number in mind may 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? Consider making a list of features you need, want and want to avoid, says Discover Boating. Also, consult online listings websites that offer descriptions of different types of boats.
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 an important step in your buying process. It will quickly help you narrow your search. Your primary interest when boating may be sailing, fishing, watersports or leisurely meandering. Each of these activities requires different features from a boat, and there are boat types to match each activity. Be honest with yourself and choose wisely, because a purpose-built boat may not transition successfully into other types of activities.
4. What is the real cost of buying and owning a new boat?
This is something that many new boat buyers can overlook. The costs associated with owning a boat go far beyond the cost of actually buying the boat. You’ll need to consider things like maintenance, fuel, slip fees and insurance.
- Maintenance: Annual maintenance of a boat may be as much as 1 to 3 percent of the boat’s purchase price, says Keith Ammons, “The Boating Guy” from DiscoverBoating.com, when speaking to Men’s Fitness magazine.
- Fuel: The average boat owner will run their boat approximately 90 hours a year and burn 1 to 3 gallons of fuel per hour, according to Ammons. That means boat owners should budget another $300 to $900 per year to run their boat.
- Slip fees: Docking your boat can be a bit tricky, as there are a limited number of marinas, and the fees for a slip (the individual docking space for your boat), can vary depending upon boat size, location, amenities, etc. For example, the monthly slip fee for a 35-foot boat at Harbor Island West Marina in San Diego, Calif., is nearly $300, according to Discover Boating.
- Insurance: While a homeowner’s insurance policy typically provides minimal coverage, you may want to consider adding a standard boat insurance policy. Boat insurance policies generally cover damage resulting from collision, fire, lightning, theft and vandalism, and may cover losses even if they occur on land, says the Insurance Information Institute (III). For insurance information specific to your situation, make sure to consult with your insurance agent.
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!