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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Boat

Buying a boat represents a dream for many people and can unlock a world of wonder and adventure. Not only are boats incredibly rewarding to own and use, but they can represent a key milestone in the success of an individual. 

However, buying a boat is rife with potential problems if you don’t do your due diligence or fully understand what you are taking on. This is because owning and maintaining a boat requires far more resources, space, and effort than a car, for example.

Buying the boat itself could cause issues if you don’t have a solid understanding of what to look out for. Boat valuations can differ hugely, and you may be stung if you fail to do your research before placing an order.

You will also need to consider mooring costs, storage costs (when you take it out of the water for maintenance or in poor weather), transport costs if you want to move it from one location to another, as well as the effort required to keep it in ship shape all year round. 

Not only this, but you may need to acquire a license to pilot your boat and specialist permits to use certain stretches of water.

Still, none of this should put you off buying a boat if it’s what you truly desire. Despite the additional headaches, owning a boat can lead to a hugely rewarding lifestyle – one that entails travel, adventure, excitement, and the peace you can only experience out on the open water. In any case, if you’re unsure about getting your own vessel, the following sections will cover what you need to know before buying a boat to ensure you are making the right decision.

You Need to Make Sure You’re Going to Use It

One of the most common complaints you will hear from boat owners is that they don’t use their vessels enough. Boats are wonderful, but they have very limited use cases in recreational settings.

Unlike cars, it is unlikely that you would ever use your boat to commute to work, and unless you moor up permanently, you probably won’t live on it full time either. To make matters worse, boats are very weather dependent. No one wants to go out on lakes or especially the open sea in poor conditions, so you will be waiting for the spring and summer months to use your craft.

If you live in a northern hemisphere country with a mild summer, this can be doubly frustrating, as good days will be few and far between. As a result, it can be easy to neglect your boat. The problem with this is that you will be paying for maintenance and storage costs constantly, so you will end up paying for a recreational vehicle you might not use very often. 

Usually, this scarcity of use fundamentally comes down to a lack of fresh ideas about what to do with it. If you are used to using it in a particular location, you can become set in your ways and forget about the possibility of discovering new destinations – which is ultimately what a boat is all about. 

Finding a particular marina to visit is a great motivation for a new adventure. You can pin a course towards it, enjoy your boat, and look forward to a fantastic location to end up in. You might even want to find city-based marinas – such as Chicago area marinas – because they offer a superb balance between the excitement of open water and amenities like restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, and clubs. 

Remember, wherever you end up, it’s wise to verify if the marina in question has spare capacity for your vessel first, as well as check the mooring costs – which could be steep if you are not careful.

Consider Renting it Out When You’re Not Using It

One of the biggest struggles you will face with boat ownership is the challenge of keeping it cost-effective. While few people buy recreational vehicles like boats as an investment, you can minimize the amount of money it costs you by devising intelligent ways of earning money off the back of it.

It is no secret that boats can be expensive to maintain, which can take the shine off of the ownership experience and deter you from using yours as often as you would ideally like to. Therefore, you should leverage this ‘unused’ time to your advantage. 

For example, you could rent your boat out to other people during select times of the year, which can be a lucrative business opportunity. If you prefer to keep your boat moored and it has living facilities, you could even rent it out as left-field vacation accommodation. Alternatively, if you would like to use your boat often but can’t afford it, it might be a good idea to organize tours, bringing guests along with you to show off the local area. 

Create a Budget Before Purchasing a Boat

Continuing with the theme of cost-effectiveness, you should draw up a realistic budget before purchasing a boat.

The combined cost of purchase, storing, mooring, maintenance and fuel could be significant, and you may not know the true cost of ownership until you buy a boat. This leaves you in a vulnerable situation if you don’t have deep enough pockets to cover the costs. 

Ensure it Fits into Your Current Lifestyle – Or Learn to Adapt

Boats are rarely used by their owners because they fail to fit into their busy lifestyles. If you work in a city, for instance, but you have a boat moored in a quiet rural town far away, it is unlikely you will manage to get away for long enough to use it.

This is why you should consider adapting your current lifestyle to suit the boat ownership experience – such as moving closer to the mooring location or making a habit of going out on it every weekend.

Decide Upon the Type of Boat You Want to Buy

There are countless different types of boats to choose from, so it is worth undertaking detailed research before placing an order. Sailing boats, power boats, and narrow boats are all examples of boats that offer drastically different experiences, so consider what it is you want to use yours for before conducting a search. 

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