So, you’re thinking about buying a boat but you have no idea where to start? Find out what you need to know before handing over your hard earned money.
Do you really need a boat?
We’re not trying to discourage you but buying a boat can be very expensive. Are you going to get the use out of your boat to make it worthwhile? Apart from buying the boat, think about fuel, a boat trailer, repairs, storage and insurance to name just a few. Could you purchase a boat with a friend and share the pleasure and the cost? Plan out how often you would probably use a boat and compare it to the estimated cost. Join a boat club and make sure you go out a few times to really get a feel for boating. This may save you a big headache down the track.
What are you going to use your boat for?
So you’ve done the numbers and a boat will definitely be worth it. Excellent. Next, we need to figure out the main purpose of your boat. This will determine what type of boat will suit you best. There are three main activities associated with boating, namely – Fishing, Sailing and Water Sports. The line between the type of boats for each activity is not set in stone but it’s still important to decide what the main purpose of your new boat will be. Think about whether you’ll be using your boat in fresh water or salt water and how long your trips will be and how fast you want to go. Imagine thoroughly, how you’ll be using your very own boat.
Do your research
After deciding the main purpose of your boat, it’s time to figure out exactly what kind of boat you’ll need. It’s time to:
• Jump onto the internet
• Have a chat with experienced boaties
• Have a chat with a reputable boat dealer
• Visit a boat show or two
• Have a read through boating magazines
Your aim is to find out as much as you can about the type of boat you want. What are the best brands? What size do you need? How big an engine? The more you know, the better position you will be in when you start talking to boat dealers or people looking to sell their used boats.
An important point here is not to buy too big. Start small and think big later. Don’t give in to the temptation of buying a flashier boat that will increase your operating costs, maintenance and need greater handling ability. Remember, this is your first boat! You’ll learn so much from it that you’ll have a much better idea of what you need the next time around.
Brand new or second hand?
If it’s within your budget, we’d suggest you buy brand new from a reputable boat dealer. It is far more serious if you have a problem with your boat than if you had a problem with your car! A boat dealer will also be able to give you great advice about the right kind of boat for you.
But if you were buying a used boat, we’d recommend getting smaller boats checked at a local boat dealer. For larger boats, getting a marine surveyor to inspect the vessel is probably best.
Get a test drive
Whatever the size, whether second hand or new, always take the boat out for a test drive in the water. It would be best to take the boat out in moderate conditions since most boats will be ok on a calm flat day.
Buying a boat is not an everyday experience but it can be very rewarding in the end. New Zealand is a boating country and there are countless beautiful places and activities that are accessible or doable only by boat. By following the pointers given above, we hope to help you avoid the most common pitfalls that hit new boat owners.
Stay safe and happy boating!