So You Want To Buy A Boat. Buying a boat can be a very daunting task especially if it’s your first boat. You might be thinking to yourself: “Where do I start?” We’ve compiled some suggestions to help you along the way.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT BOAT FOR ME?
The very first thing to think about when buying a new or used boat is “what is the right boat for me and my family”? This depends greatly on your location. Do you live near salt water or fresh water? For salt water you could be looking at fishing, watersports, and cruisers. If you live near fresh water you might want to consider a smaller boat such as bowriders, center consoles, and pontoons. Either way the choices are vast.
WHAT TYPE OF BOATING WILL I BE DOING?
The next question you want to answer is “Will I be primarily fishing, cruising, entertaining, or water sporting”? Depending on your tastes/needs you will want to look at different model boats. Are you interested in day boating? Or will you want to stay overnight on your new boat?
WHERE CAN I COMPARE PRICES, LOOK AT MODELS, AND TAKE VIRTUAL TOURS?
The internet is a great place to start. Many manufacturers offer virtual tours and “build a boat” apps on their websites such as those featured @ https://www.montereyboats.com/ or
http://www.pursuitboats.com/. These types of websites will give you a good idea of cost, options vs. standards and point you in the right direction for a Boat Dealer near you, which is a critical factor in buying a new or used boat.
Once you answer these vital questions it might be time to start looking at boats. A good place to start is your local boat show. There are boat shows happening throughout the country. Here’s a link to a website that lists dates of boat shows: http://www.boatshows.com/Calendar
Once you determine the type of boat you are looking for, your next step is to find the RIGHT Boat Dealer. While attending a boat show you’ll find many Boat Dealers representing your area.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT BOAT DEALER FOR ME?
- THIS IS A CRITICAL FACTOR! – A dealer and service department near your location is best.
- Ask family and friends for recommendations of boat dealers and service centers near your area.
- Ask marine/boat dealers how they arrange test drives. Reputable dealers understand that it’s important to try a boat on the open water. Don’t buy a boat, especially a used boat, without trying it first.
- Check online reviews of local boat dealers on their websites and Facebook pages. A good service department is an important element of a preferred dealership.
AFTER YOU’VE CHOSEN A BOAT DEALER – and you’re ready to buy:
- Make an appointment with a salesperson, perhaps someone you met at a recent boat show
- Check the boats out in person at the dealers showroom
- Take a walk-through inspection
- Schedule a sea trial
- Order a survey just before purchase
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW BOAT!
If it’s your first boat purchase it’s time to get certified. Here’s some useful information on boating courses and certification. HAPPY BOATING!
TAKE A BOATING COURSE AND GET CERTIFIED
If this is your first boat you definitely want to take a boating course. There are many resources both online and in person to accomplish this. Here are a couple of links for boating courses:
- Online boating courses: http://www.boatus.org/courses/
- US Coast Guard – Boating courses by zip code: http://cgaux.org/boatinged/class_finder/
- Boating Laws & License Requirements by State: http://www.americasboatingcourse.com/lawsbystate.cfm