Life on the high seas always sparks the imagination. It is the subject and setting for many of our greatest tales of exploration, bravery, and self-discovery. Whether we’re talking about pirates with a bottle of rum, naval officers battling in faraway harbors, or intrepid adventurers circumnavigating the globe, something about traveling on the water is infinitely alluring.
3 Tips to Make Sure You Buy the Right Boat
Much of this no longer applies to our modern world, but the draw remains. It’s a big reason why pretty much everyone wants to own a boat. And unless you’re a fisherman or other worker making a living on an ocean, lake, or river, this is usually a luxury purchase intended for leisure and enjoyment.
That is what makes boats both so satisfying and potentially so difficult. Yes, millions of people get a perfect boat for their needs and use it for years — even decades — to fish, sail, entertain their family, or just enjoy the beauty of being out on the water. But others get themselves into trouble and needlessly create headaches by not understanding everything that goes into buying a boat.
To help clear up a few misconceptions and ensure that your next purchase is a great one, the following tips about boat ownership will help you navigate uncertain waters.
1. Get the Right Boat for You
Everybody seems to want the biggest and the best. This mentality can prove silly in many walks of life, and we see it play out all the time with boats.
Someone actually wants to start fishing more on a calm, rural lake but they overbuy and end up with some giant twin outboard behemoth that could tow a whole team of skiers.
The same goes for the retired couple who wants to go on short day sails — then talk themselves into a live-aboard vessel with a full sleeper cabin suitable for weeks on the ocean. Not only is this spending more than you need but it’s just too much boat. Or, more accurately, it’s the wrong boat for your needs.
Now, rather than being close to nature like you wanted while out fishing a few weekends each summer, you have a monster powerboat that wakes the neighbors and presents storage problems in the offseason. None of this would have happened if you just kept your eyes on your needs.
2. Get a Boat You Can Afford
The other big problem with going too big or too fancy is the price. Boats are supposed to be pure enjoyment. But it’s impossible to count all the people who have severely harmed their finances by buying a boat they didn’t need and couldn’t afford — all to impress strangers or live up to some strange image of manhood they had in their head.
Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, understand that you are investing in memories with friends and family. And make sure you understand the appropriate financial options to finance the right boat that you can afford.
Leading companies like USAA, for example, have credit options that are transparent with perks to make the deal even sweeter. This way, you’ll be able to have fun with your new toy and not stress about a new burden you’ve voluntarily acquired.
3. Explore All Boat Market Options
When you’re looking for a car, you tend to realize after a while that the sticker price will only get so low. New options tend to be around the same cost no matter where you look, and online markets and Kelley Blue Book have somewhat commoditized the used car world.
Of course, you always want to shop around and get the best financing rates you can. But you’ll probably hit the end of the rope pretty soon.
The boat market still has a lot more variety, however. You can often find great deals, and the big plus is that old boats can be just as good as something newer. Many people argue they are better!
And you can usually rest assured that they won’t sink on you — unlike concerns about safety if you buy a decade vehicle. Don’t be too eager to buy today and instead find the right option for you.
Getting Out on the Water
Buying a boat is almost always a luxury purchase. This is the biggest perk — it’s purely for your enjoyment — but also why it gets people into trouble when they don’t think things through.
It’s always important to be smart about boat ownership. Start by keeping it simple: Get the right boat for you. Get a boat you can afford, and explore all the options on the boat-buying market.
There’s no need to rush the purchase of a boat. You can always delay buying if you need more time to shop around. The water isn’t going anywhere. And this isn’t even all about cost. You’re going to be using this boat for years. You want something not just at the right price — but something that speaks to you. Then, every time you set sail, you really can enjoy the captain’s delight.