Buying Your First Boat: A Guide

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They say that the only day better than the day you buy your first boat is the day that you sell it. That piece of information is usually enough to put people off buying a boat at all. While it’s important that you put a lot of thought into your first boat purchase, it needn’t be the stress that most people assume it’s going to be. With the right awareness, you could be launching off into the open water without a care in the world. The key to buying a boat is research. If you’re considering buying your first boat then knowing the following points could make your purchase far easier, and you might even get a better price as well.

Know your boats

Your first step should always be to work out what kind of boat you’re looking for. Spend some time browsing boating websites and familiarise yourself with the different makes and models that are available in your price range. Look at sites that sell brand new boats, but also remember to look at second-hand options as well. The more that you know about the kind of boat you can get for your money, the more likely that you will make a smart purchase. Remember to factor in:

  • Size – how many people are going to be on the boat?
  • Power – do you want sails, engines, or a combination of both?
  • Skill level – you may want to take some sailing lessons before making your purchase.
  • Location – mooring costs can be high, so research the best places to keep your new boat.

Always make sure that you know as much as possible about the kind of boat you’re looking for, and you’ll be more likely to end up with the right boat for you.

Cost evaluation

You will have some idea of your budget, but if it’s not going to stretch far enough to cover the initial costs of your dream boat, then it might be worth looking at alternative options for financing. There is a wide range of ways to raise the money that you need to get the boat of your dreams. One of the most useful ways may be to look at getting a personal loan. This is a good route to help pay for those starting costs and make sure that you have the least amount of headaches possible. Discover personal loans and you could be able to buy your first boat much sooner than you expected.

Boat shares

If the costs are putting you off, you can drastically reduce them by looking at shared ownership. This can even become an investment opportunity if you’re smart. Shared boat ownership means that you will have set days where you can take the boat out. This option isn’t going to be for everyone. Part of the joy owning your own boat is the freedom to go anywhere at any time, and being restricted on the times when you can use the boat might negate the positives.

The legalities

Depending on where you are buying your boat, the seller will have to provide a number of legal documents. In many ways, buying your first boat is similar to buying your first home. There will be a contract to sign, and the seller has to show proof of ownership as well. Tax documents and a title will also need to be provided, and if someone is trying to sell you a boat without these legal documents then you should always walk away before you make a mistake that will cause you a lot of stress in the future.

Ongoing costs

While the biggest part of your budget will be spent on the boat itself, it’s important to remember that you will also have running costs. You should always estimate roughly 10% of your boat’s value to be the running costs, although this may be slightly less for boats without an expensive engine to maintain and run. Mooring costs should always be factored into your budget as well. There’s nothing worse than having your dream boat and not being able to pull into a dock at the end of the day.

Be wary of fixer-uppers

Your first boat should never be one that is going to require a lot of work to make it seaworthy. You might pay a reduced initial cost on a boat that needs work, but that work will still have to be done before you can take your boat out onto the open water. First-time boat buyers are well advised to buy a boat that is ready to go, as they will usually lack the experience to know exactly what needs doing. Besides, if you are thinking of buying a boat, chances are high that you just want to start boating, and spending time in the harbor getting greasy might not be fulfilling the dream.

There’s little in life more satisfying than taking your first boat out of the harbor and onto the open sea. Take the time to make sure that your purchase is well-researched, and you could be kicking back with a glass of champagne and watching the world drift by from the best view in the world – over the wheel of your own boat.

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