Choose A Boat That Is Appropriate To Your Level Of Experience
Another vital consideration when buying your motorboat is to decide which size is right for you. This decision needs to take account of your level of sailing experience, for the simple reason that the larger the boat, the greater the level of skill required to handle it, to manoeuvre in harbour and to pilot it smoothly to ensure maximum sailing enjoyment.
First Up Don’t Buy A New Sailboat
Boats are like pets in a lot of ways, they require attention, they require water, and most likely you donât want to come home to find it roaming around your neighborhood. Buying a new boat is like buying a prada puppy when there is a shelter dog who needs a new home just down the street. Whatâs more, there are literally millions of good deals on used boats that need new homes that will keep one less fiberglass horror from the landfill and save you thousands on day one when it drops in value the second you put the key into a new boat as it sits at the dock.
Used boats are worked in and the bugs are worked out. A used boat wonât make you cry when you t-bone the dock in your first season when you are still learning to let the main out and come to wind. Used boats cost a fraction of what you would pay for a new boat but donât let that fool you, boats are expensive.
Where Will You Use It Is It Suitable For That Area
You may covet that enclosed pocket sportfish, but if youre doing your fishing along the rocky shores of Cape Anne, perhaps a center console with 360-degree casting ability is a better choice. If you like back-bay fishing, then maybe a low draft boat with a Minn Kota trolling motor and Spot Lock is a better choice.
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Buying & Selling Advice
Nearly 90 million adults in the United States participate in boating each year that’s more than a third of the adult population who enjoy getting out on the water. Every year nearly 1.5 million Americans buy a new or used boat, ranging from large yachts to small cruisers to canoes. The Boat Buyers Guide from BoatUS is designed to make it easier for you to buy a boat by explaining the sometimes-confusing process and pointing out the areas that can trip up a buyer.
BoatUS has helped buyers make wise decisions for more than 50 years. Whether youre an old salt moving up to a bigger boat or a new boater looking to buy your first vessel, the information in this guide can help you ensure the transaction goes smoothly.
How To Buy A Boat
Its a great time to buy a boat, is something heard often these days. But why? I put this question in front of an informal panel of boating expertsBill Walczak and Chris Buchheister of Walczak Yacht Brokerage Service Jeff Truesdale, general manager of Clarks Landing and Jennifer Richards, of Hinckleyand they all agreed. It is a great time to buy a boat.
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Charter First To Find Out What You Like
When fashion designer Giorgio Armani set about building his first boat he was helped a great deal by previous yachting experiences. Sometimes theyd belong to people I knew, sometimes they were just chartered. Invariably they were not my style too white, too much lighting, too much marble, crystal and mahogany, he explains.
Armanis yacht, the 65 metre CodecasaMain, was far from your average gleaming white hull. Painting Maìn green was a choice made to camouflage her at sea, so it doesnt appear too flashy, he says. I designed Main entirely, taking inspiration from particular military vessels that looked very practical, and from the optimisation of space that is a characteristic of old ships. Notably, I set out to rid the decks of all superstructures that might break up the purity of line.
Get The Proper Equipment
Another important type of new boat owner checklist is one that suggests all of the equipment youll need. Of course, you need a life preserver for each person on the boat, but other things you might not have thought of include:
- A basic toolbox
- Extra light bulbs, fuel filters, etc.
Start gathering up these items right away so that you can make sure everyone is safe from the very first time you head out on the water.
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Make Friends With Everyone But Not The Vendor
There are so many horror stories out there about dodgy, dishonest yacht brokers that we went into this process with the same levels of suspicion that youd treat a used car salesman. Perhaps weve been lucky but every broker we have dealt with has been helpful, full of information and eager to educate us on all things about boats and sailing. It may help that we clearly had no idea what we were doing at the beginning. Perhaps a different approach might have had a less positive experience. Who knows? But I think that generally in life and relationships, you get out what you put in. So, go on. Be nice.
Yacht brokers are full of knowledge and top tips to help you buy your perfect boat. Make friends and make the most of their experience. You might even like them.
Once we found our boat, and armed with the positive experience of dealing with several different brokers, we pretty much threw ourselves on the mercy of the salesman and boat yard manager in Ipswich. And the experience was simply brilliant. Even though Robert The Broker was working for the vendor, he understood the market. He was much more realistic about what the boat was worth than the vendor was. Both Robert The Broker and Ralph The Boatyard Manager gave us tons of advice that has proved invaluable in the negotiations and subsequent early weeks of boat ownership.
All this information is essential intelligence to get a better picture of what youre buying. Not asking silly questions is definitely a mistake.
Will 2021 Be The Year You Buy Your First Sailboat
The recycling truck just hauled away the last of the champagne bottles you quaffed ringing in 2021 and a new decade is now perched on your doorstep. For many, the brave new future that awaits them will involve crossing a few bucket list items off their proverbial list and If youâre reading this article, odds are your first list item to cross off is to get a sailboat and sail into the sunset.
But that begs the question for the newbie sailor, which boat is the best boat for a beginner?
Perhaps itâs not the make of the boat that is half as important as the features that the boat might boast? Evaluating what your needs might be, what your budget might be and what your skill level might be are all keys to happiness with your new craft.
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Theres No Such Thing As The Perfect Boat
Everything about owning a boat is a compromise. A lot of what you want is impossible to get. We were looking for a solid hull that could get us around the world, reasonably new, with three cabins, a centre cockpit and a bright, airy saloon. It had to feel bigger on the inside that it was on the outside, and it had to be pretty much setup and ready to go because we were working to a tight schedule .
Is the deck perfectly suited to cake eating? Important question to ask. You dont want to buy an inappropriate boat, do you?
After several months of research it seems that within our price range you can either get an old, solid and small blue water cruiser. Or something new, ex-charter and set up for coastal waters. Theres an infinite variation, but theres no way youre going to find something that ticks all of the boxes.
We put an offer in for a lovely Hunter Legend. It was way outside our budget, and missed the blue water cruiser box, and didnt have enough room for the kids, but it was setup and ready to go, and we were getting a touch desperate. Luckily for us, that sale fell through. It wasnt right for us. But it did force us to prioritise the boxes and work out which things we absolutely had to have.
Once we found our close enough to perfect boat, we walked straight into the next bear trap.
Boat Handling And Safety
Learning the basics of boating. Now that youve got your own boat and youre ready to roll, you may realize that you have no idea what youre doing! Thats okay, because practice makes perfect. There is no better way to become an expert boat driver than to just get out on the water and do it!
If you have the option, find an experienced captain to take you out a few times and show you the ropes. This is the best way to go. You will find some of the most complicated and difficult things about boating is docking, knowing the waters, and remaining cool, calm and collected during your adventures. Being confident and not panicking is extremely important when driving a boat. Just like with anything, this will come to you naturally with practice.
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Positive Praise On Forums
As you start researching different boat options, its a good idea to get online and visit boat aficionado forums. Here, you can learn more about the boats youre thinking of buying. Those that have positive praise from boat experts are likely to be a better choice.
Additionally, you might learn about boats you havent heard of on these forums. You can also ask questions about boats for example, about what their best features are and what the pros and cons of buying certain boats are.
Picking The Perfect Platform
If you are contemplating your first boat purchase or considering replacing your existing boat, here is some food for thought on how to buy a boat. There are nearly 250,000 boats registered in the state of Maryland. Nearly three-quarters of those boats are less than 20 feet in length, trailerable, and powered by an outboard motor. The average boat owner uses his boat between 50 and 100 hours per season. After the initial purchase of the boat, the average owner spends between 15 and 25 percent of the purchase price annually on operation costs, such as fuel, insurance, dockage, maintenance, and storage. Given those sobering thoughts, as you contemplate your boat purchase, it is wise to have a clear idea of what you want your boat to do and what your expectations are.
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Where Will You Slip Or Trailer It
So, you bought the boat, now what? Are you going to trailer it? Keep it in a slip? Keep it on a mooring? Do you have a lead at a marina? Are you on the town mooring waiting list?
A typical slip fee might be $150 to $250 per foot with additional power and water fees. Sure, you may have the money, but it might be a 2-year wait to get into the marina near your house. In the meantime, can you live with your boat in a marina an hour drive from your house? Thats not an unusual situation with a new boat. The time to find next years slip is midsummer by fall, every marina is full for the following year.
Moorings are no delight either. As an example, the Falmouth, Massachusetts town moorings in many of the estuaries and bays have a 10- to 15- year wait to get a mooring! I rejoined the Falmouth Marina wait list in 2012, I was originally number 150-something. Now, eight years later, I am up to number 34, and move up two to four spots each year. Perhaps in 10 years, I can get a town slip!
Basics To Buying A Boat:
Is a bowrider the best bet? Could a cruiser be in your future? Or, is a trawler at the top of your list? Picture by Forest Johnson.
Shop With A Reputabledealer
There are two options when it comes to sourcing yourboat: a private seller or the dealership. If youre aiming for a used boat andknow someone personally whos selling one, then go for the first option.However, its almost always better to go with a reputable and experienceddealer, whether youre buying a new or used boat.
Dealerships can give you loads of information about the boat and can give you on-water tuition. Aside from these points, buying a boat from the dealership includes a warranty, which means youre protected from any defects or problems the boat may have. More importantly, you can get huge discounts on new boats with the dealerships if you shop at the end of the month or end of the fiscal year.
Rule #2 Decide If You Are A New
The traditional advice for first-time boat buyers is to buy a used boat. That way if you end up not liking boating, your economic risk is minimized. Also, the traditional wisdom is that people rarely select the right boat in the first place and since their first boat is likely to be a mistake, it might as well be a used boat which will be traded in a year or so, anyway.
While that advice has merit, there are other things to consider. First, with the advent of the Internet , first-time buyers can now see video of thousands of boats, read our Captains Reports, compare boats, and get a much better idea of the right boat than was ever before possible. Also, buying an old used boat increases the chances that things will go wrong and the experience will be less than the best, which might just end prematurely what could have been a great lifetime on the water.
Ones personality also has a lot to do with buying new or used. Some people are quite anal and are extremely uncomfortable if everything isnt in apple pie order. Our advice to people like that is to consider a new boat, a non-current boat or a used boat with low hours in pristine condition. Our surveys indicate that about one-third of the boat buyers prefer to buy only new products. If you are one of those people, admit it, and be prepared to pay for making your boating world orderly and as trouble-free as possible.
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Whether Its Used Or New
This is because a new boat will come with a warranty. So if there are any issues, you can get them fixed and go back to enjoying your boat.
When making this decision, think about whether you want to spend less now or potentially spend less later.
You can also search for used boats that have warranties. While this might not always be available, you might be fortunate and find one.
Once youve decided on whether you prefer a used or new boat, youll have a better idea of what youre looking for when searching for the right boat.
Upfront Costs & Annual Maintenance
Before you buy, you’ll want to consider the upfront purchase costs. The first step is figuring out how you want to spend your time on the water and what type of boat you want to buy. You might want a fishing boat, or a bowrider for family fun. Perhaps a cabin cruiser that could house your family overnight for extended trips, or a specialty craft like a pontoon boat for family parties or a ski/wake boat for watersports.
Our Boat Finder Tool can help you identify the boat style thats right for you by selecting your preferred activities, number of passengers and more criteria for your ideal boat. Then, be sure to learn more about the initial purchase costs in our comprehensive guide on Boat Values and Prices: Negotiating Your Purchase.
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Buy The Boat That Fits Your Needs & Experience
Its tempting to go out and purchase the most powerful speed boat on the water. Its also tempting to buy the largest offshore vessel you can afford. On the other hand, if youre concerned about pricing, it might seem like a good idea to buy a smaller boat. However, you need to think about your needs and experience level. A larger or more-powerful boat may be too much for a first-time owner, while a small boat may not give you the comfort and space you prefer.
Are You Prepared To Spend 10% Of The New Purchase Price On Annual Maintenance
Whether its a brand-new boat, a 5-year-old boat or a 30-year-old boat, they all need annual maintenance. Long ago, when I was a new boat owner, I complained to someone about the cost of winter maintenance. That grizzled old salt looked at me and said, Kid, heres a rule of thumb: take the new value of your old boat and assume youre going to spend ten percent of that cost in maintenance every year. Thirty-odd years later, I have to say he was pretty accurate.
As I track my expenses over the past 20 years, most years, I get away with minimal work and spending only a few percent of the boats value other winters, I might spend 20-to-30 percent of the boats value with a planned engine replacement, a major paint or fiberglass project, or as the case for this winter, an electronics rip and replace.
Think of owning a boat like owning a floating house. It has many systemsmechanical, electrical, water, possibly heat and air conditioningeach of which needs some sort of annual maintenance just to keep the system running correctly. Then, every 10 years or so, the system starts to become obsolete, and either major maintenance or a full replacement is warranted. I cannot emphasize enough that with our short boating season in the Northeast you are far better off spending your boating budget on preventative maintenance in February than trying to address a major repair in June!
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