Tips on How to Buy Your First Boat

If you’re considering buying your first boat, you might feel overwhelmed worrying about what factors you should consider and what questions you should be asking. Here are a few tips to help guide you during your first boat purchase.

Consider how you will use your boat. Boats come in many different styles, so you need to think about how you plan to use your boat and then pick one that matches your needs. Will you be fishing, cruising, or doing watersports? Considerations such as these will help determine the size, layout and amenities you need.

Decide where you plan to keep your boat. When buying a boat, one of the biggest considerations is where to keep it. Do you plan to keep it in a slip at a marina or on a mooring? Or do you plan to trailer it from home?

Research what type of certification you need. In most states, boaters are required to have some type of boating education certification, so find out what your state requires. If you plan to boat in neighboring states, check if they accept your state’s certification or if you need one specific to that state.

Consider what you should look for during the walk-through and sea trial. Even if the boat you’re considering looks nice, give it a thorough inspection to make sure it’s in good shape. Inspect everything from the deck and fittings to the engine and machinery. Next, test it on the water. Consider how fast it goes and how responsive it is. If you’re still interested, and the boat is in the water, have it hauled out to give it a more thorough inspection.

Close the deal. Try not to be emotional when negotiating how much to pay for your boat. Determine the boat’s value to you ahead of time and try to stay close to that value. Also, if you’re buying a used boat from a boatyard, check that there are no outstanding bills or liens on the boat.