You’ve had the nagging feeling for ages that you need to buy a boat. After all, you spend a lot of time on the water enjoying others peoples’ boats and now you’ve got the family hooked. Being a passenger is okay for a while, until you get to know the ropes, but after you’ve gained some experience, it might just be the right time to take the plunge and buy your very own boat. But, don’t be too hasty as there are a few considerations that need to be taken into account such as hull design, size of boat for your specific needs and other variables that can make your purchase a good one or one that you might regret. Here are a few ideas you need to bear in mind before you sign on the dotted line.
KNOW YOUR BOATING REQUIREMENTS
What will your boat be used for predominantly? Are you going to be heading for the deep in search of marlin and tuna or are you going to be frequenting local inland dams for some bass fishing and waterskiing? Will you be cruising with charter clients or simply leisure boating with family and friends? Many boats can be used for a variety of aquatic activities, but you will need to decide what the boat’s primary usage is going to be for. That means making the choice between deck boats, pontoons, cruising boats, bass boats, deep sea fishing boats, centre console boats, sport fishing boats, cabin walkaround boats or watersport boats such as ski boats, bowriders, wakeboard boats, jet boats and inflatables. Spend time carefully deciding what your preferences are.
CHOOSE YOU BOAT SIZE
Careful consideration is required when choosing the size of your boat. Is the boat going to be trailered or moored at a yacht club in your area? Starting out with a smaller boat will make your transition into boating that much easier and it will not hurt your bank balance as much as a bigger boat. In a few years, you might decide to trade in the smaller boat for something bigger to suit your changing needs. Also, you don’t want to outlay huge amounts of money, only to realise that everyone else in your family, besides you, gets terribly seasick when out on the water.
NEW OR USED?
The benefit of purchasing a new boat is that it will come with all the manufacturer warranties. Should something go wrong with the boat within the warranty period, this will usually be repaired at little or no cost to the purchaser by the dealer. Purchasing a used boat from a dealer will also offer the purchaser more recourse should there be undisclosed problems that occur with the boat. The third purchase alternative is to purchase privately where there is little recourse after the transaction has been concluded and the money has changed hands. We suggest that you pay a marine surveyor to check the boat out thoroughly and write a detailed report on the repairs required. At least then the purchaser can factor in all these repairs into the purchase price to gauge whether the purchase is a viable one.
LET’S TEST DRIVE!
Once you’ve selected the few models of boat you like, take them all out for a test run to establish which suits your boating style best on the water. Different boats handle differently and by test driving the boat you will be able to ascertain top speed, cruising speed, whether the noise factor is an issue, determining ride comfort and establishing what instrument levels are like in the boat.
SHOULD I INSURE?
It is always advisable to insure your boat. If you’re a cash buyer, then the onus is left on you to put the necessary insurance in place. If, on the other hand, you are financing your boat purchase through a bank hire purchase contract, you will need to have insurance in place prior to taking delivery of the boat from the showroom floor. Safeguarding your investment with the necessary insurance is important.
The key to finding the perfect boat for your particular lifestyle means that you will need to gather as much information as you can about it. Speak to others who own similar boats, chat to the boat dealers and search online for articles relating to the type of boat you’re considering buying.