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Look Before You Leap

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Look Before You Leap

This is the time of year when we come out of hibernation, the sun warms up the earth and the water beckons!

Whether you are a seasoned boater or a newcomer to this lifestyle, buying a boat is a big decision. Cynics and people who don’t have the right knowledge on hand can be heard to say axioms such as boats are “holes in the water, into which you throw money”, and “the happiest day of a boat owner’s life is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it.” This doesn’t have to be the case if you approach boat ownership with an understanding of what is involved.

First and foremost, do your homework as to what boat (and which types) suit you based on your needs. Ask yourself the following:

• Is the boat just for your family or do you need a bigger boat to accommodate friends too?
• What will you use the boat for? Fishing, water skiing and wakeboarding –or just to cruise.
• How often will you use the boat – seasonally or all year round?
• Will you operate the boat on dams and rivers or on the ocean?
• How much can you afford to spend? Don’t forget that the costs go beyond just the boat; you need to take into account where you are going to house the boat (do you need to hire a boat locker?), insurance, maintenance, instruction and safety course fees and petrol.
• Don’t forget that newcomers to boating have to do the required skippers license. It’s based in categories of how far from land you want to go, as well as weight. This is a once of test for the skipper, but your boat will have to pass a test annually to be fit for the water. This is all in an effort to keep yourself and other boaters safe.

Once you have that nailed down, you need to decide whether you want to buy a new or used boat. We all want a brand spanking new boat but often you can get more for less when you buy a second hand craft.

However, there are benefits to buying new in that you know it has no history; with a pre-owned you need to look out for tell tale signs of trouble because it is no use buying a boat when it spends 90% of good boating time being repaired. On top of that, you end up spending what you could have bought a new one for! If the deal sounds too good to be true – it probably is…

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