How to Decide What Boat to Buy

One of the terrific things about boating is that there are boats designed for different activities. Recreation boating is a common choice for many boaters. In this case, boaters wish to buy a boat which will serve as a fishing, skiing and picnic boat. Consult these steps when deciding what type of boat to buy:


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    Compare and contrast different types of boats. Performing a boat comparison can help to narrow down your search. Do you enjoy fishing on the local waterways? Are you looking for a boat to use for water skiing, wake boarding and exciting water sports? Are you looking for a craft designed for family boating? Or a powerboat for racing? Do you want a boat for a little of everything? There is a boat that's right for you. Consult a Boat Selector tool to choose the boat that is right for you. A boat buyer guide can help you choose the ideal boat for your specific needs.
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    Narrow down the size of the boat you need. The size of boat you choose depends on how many people will be boating with you and where you plan on boating. Make sure you anticipate these things accurately to ensure boater safety each time you're under way. Every new boat has a National Marine Manufacturing Assoc. "NMMA capacity plate" that tells you how many people you can safely have on board. If your choice comes down to a question of 2–4 feet (0.6–1.2 m) in size, buy more if your budget allows. Doing this will allow you to keep your boat longer as your needs change. Choose a boat that is no more that 26-feet long if you plan on trailering your boat to different waterways and boat marinas.
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    Decide what kind of engine will best serve you . When deciding what engine you will need on your boat, it's best to consider what you will be using your boat for. Water skiers will need more power, where fishing buddies probably use less. Today's buyer can also choose from new-tech engines that are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. It's best to compare boats with different engine sizes and consult a boat buying resource to make the best choice.
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    Determine your budget . Buying a boat doesn't have to be painful - there's a boat for every budget. Boat owners are often surprised that their dream boat cost less than they'd expected! New boats and pre-owned boats bought at a reputable dealership can be financed, so you can take advantage of monthly payments. As with cars, pre-owned boats typically cost less than a similar new model.
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    Shop new first regardless if you want to purchase a new or used boat. You will gain insight into which type of boat is best for you and the market price. You can then do a boat comparison on similar pre-owned models. With this information, you can zero in on your perfect boat!
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    Choose the purchase date. The best time to buy is when you are ready! You can find a great deal on a boat at any time of year. Boat shows are great places to shop - you can compare boats from a wide variety of brands and dealers, and can often take advantage of special show pricing and financing offers. Just be sure you've done some homework and identified the right type of boat for your needs before you buy.
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    Get some boating education. Boaters' education courses are available through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, Boat US, Boat-Ed and BoatSafe.


  • If I buy used, how will you know that the boat is in good condition? Get a qualified marine surveyor's inspection. Surveyors will check all systems, as well as the hull structure and can ensure that boat maintenance has been upheld. Call several insurance companies in your area for recommended surveyors.
  • How do you find a good dealer? Shop around a little ... boat shows are also ideal for finding the dealer that suits you best. Choose a dealer who is Marine Industry Certified and is convenient to where you'll be using your boat. The dealer who goes out of his/her way to get you on the water, knowing you are qualified and ready to buy, should get high marks.
  • How do you go boating with small children? You'll need help of an additional qualified adult. If you are the helm, you'll need someone to watch the children. It's a wonderful opportunity for everyone to work together as a crew. Consider practicing a "baby overboard" drill. Bring a doll to the boat, put a life jacket on it as you would the baby, throw it overboard and practice rescuing it until everyone feels comfortable with the procedure. Make sure to always establish boating safety rules with the children prior to hitting the water!

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Categories: Purchasing Boats