How To Buy a Power BoatPage Overview
While some folks simply see a powerboat as a means to spend a quiet morning catching dinner, others have romantic notions of taking to the seas in the biggest, most ostentatious vessel available.
It is these sorts of grand thinkers that wander the tempting floors of boat shows with glazed eyes. And, the next thing you know there is a boat the size of Greg Norman's infamous yacht in their driveway―while the nearest ocean or lake is 2,000 miles away.
The allure of boats and watercraft is undeniable. But not only can these new toys break the bank during purchase, but there are a bevy of other costs that you need to eventually consider.
So, that spontaneous purchase may end up causing you to take out a second mortgage or amass a mountain of unnecessary debt; those dreams of romance on the waves or catching the big one may quickly subside.
Boat shows are great and loads of fun. Most of the manufacturers are usually represented, and all types of vessels are available to peruse and dream about. But even though all the gleam and glitter might be overwhelming, try to keep in mind the big picture and follow a few basic tips. A wise choice will put you on the water happy.
You might even opt to take a few boating classes before taking the plunge. This way you can figure out exactly what you want out of a powerboat. Generally, that is the first step in the buying process.
The biggest question to ponder before buying a powerboat is figuring just what you want out of it. Are you simply looking to net some fish? And if so, what kind of fish; since there are boats to match certain types of fishing?
Are you a water skier or tuber and want a boat specifically designed to create wake? Do you prefer lounging about and enjoying a cocktail? Is this a family affair? Are you looking to go on overnight excursions and thus need a boat with a galley? Or would you like to do a bit of each, which would put you in something of a multipurpose vessel.
So many questions to consider; but without them you could end up buying a pontoon boat that may give you some hours of fishing pleasure, but will not count for much when you latch a rope to it and try out your skiing skills.
The second thing to take into consideration seems to be a bit of a no brainier, but you might be surprised especially if you have multiple options. This is factoring in where exactly you intend to pilot your powerboat.
Obviously a yacht will not do you much good in the desert, but a deck boat might be perfect for lulling away the hot days on a reservoir. If you are lucky enough to have easy ocean access, you have plenty of choices based on your primary use objectives, but you will not want anything with a weak hull or just an eight-foot dingy to challenge the rougher waters.
Much like buying a car or truck, buying a powerboat should involve plenty of research. Some powerboats are more expensive than a good-sized house, so it is important to have all of the facts in tow before signing on any dotted lines.
Once you have figured out the type of boat desired, and where it will be used, you can begin the arduous process of putting all of the final pieces together. This can involve laying out all of expenses the new vessel might incur: mooring or storing fees, slip fees, fuel costs, and insurance.
You should also calculate annual maintenance at around $50 per boat-foot. So, if you opt for a 30-foot boat, figure in $1,500 a year just to keep the thing afloat.
Based on what you expect from the vessel, you will need to research all of the available makes and models that fit the bill. This will involve analyzing aspects like layout, performance, perks, and overall style.
This is where a boat show or visits to various dealers can come in handy. But, if you want to get the lowdown without any type of sales pitch, you need to surf the Internet. Some of the best information you can find is on fishing and/or boating discussion boards. This way you get honest opinions (usually) from people that either already own the boat, or are also in the market for one.
Many people on a powerboat search will consult boat brokers. Although these folks know boats, and most of these companies offer excellent advice and will match a boat to your needs, their suggestions should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, they are in a sense are the middleman; they represent the people trying to sell a boat.
Head down to a boat show or dealer and actually hop in the captain's chair. You need to physically know the boat is right for you. You'll want to verify that it offers the amenities you are specifically looking for, and that components like the view from the seat and the fit of the controls is acceptable.
Just like taking a car for a test drive, there is NO substitute for taking a powerboat out on the water. If this is a possibility, then jump on the opportunity, even if you have to find a marina that rents the type of boat you are interested in. Beg the dealer, if you have to. Set up an appointment with the seller if you are buying from an individual. Considering the costs that are usually involved, most should be willing to let you take the boat out first.
In the end, the key is patience. It may take several months of weekends to locate just the right powerboat for you; one that will fit your water sports plans, fishing dreams, or your budget.
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