As Spring and summer start off the boating season, you probably are itching to head into warm waters and have some fun under the sun. Nothing beats the idea of hopping on a boat with your friends and family and cruising along the water.

If you own a boat, then that’s even better because you get to be the captain of your own cruise without paying a hefty rent every time you went boating. Choose your destination and set sail.

The best part about all this is that you don’t need to buy a big ol’ fancy yacht to enjoy this amazing experience.

Now we may have heard that boats are expensive and boat insurance and maintenance costs can really put a dent in your wallet. But truth be told, it doesn’t have to be that expensive. It is not just the rich who boat.

As a matter of fact, you can finance a compact average-sized family boat with a monthly payment of about $200-$250.

So stay with us to know more about buying boats because we are going to cover all that and more so you can make the right choice.

Six step guide to get your dream boat

We will be walking you through six steps to purchase your boat. As for where to purchase your boat, the internet is the best way. You can find many different boats for sale online based on types, sizes, and features.

Step 1. Plan your budget

Some boats can be very expensive and even the reasonably priced ones can cost you a substantial amount. Which is why you have to set your budget.

Aside from the total cost of the boat, there are these costs to plan in your budget:

You also have to think about the time frame because boat loans are usually over 10 years or so. So before you rush in to buy your first boat, take a moment to decide how much you are willing to spend on it. You certainly would not want to be cruising along the beautiful coastline worrying about how to afford the bills of the boat.

Many boating enthusiast groups will provide you with lots of information on what kind of costs you are looking at in your area. Research, plan, and get the money ready.

Step 2. Decide what type of boat you want 

Now that you have researched and established your budget it’s time to do a little bit of background check and decide what type of boat you want and why you want it.

Whether you want it for entertainment and cruising or fishing is completely up to you. Regardless of that, there are a few other factors that you have to consider.

Powerboat vs. Sailboat

Powerboats require less experience and are fairly easy to control whereas you would need to know things like trimming sheets, changing sails, tacking and many more if you want a sailboat. On the other hand, sailboats have lower maintenance costs than powerboats. Powerboats have additional costs like fuel to consider too.

Size of the boat

First, how many people would you want your boat to be carrying?

Second, in the case of trailers, the type of vehicle needed to tow it depends on the size of the boat.

Third, size also affects storing costs and of course initial purchase price.

Where you will use the boat

For large waterways, it’s best to use larger boats with deep hulls and smaller boats for shallow waterways. Small bowriders and ski boats are optimal for lakes whereas, sailboats and cabin cruisers are amazing for riding the ocean waves.

Step 3. Decide whether to buy a used one or a brand new one

Boat prices sink like rocks once you sail off. Meaning, the depreciation is very strong.  This is why it is wise to buy a used one if you are on a tight budget. You can get great deals out of boats that are two to eight years old.

The downside, however, is that some boats might have been overworked. Worn out Hull, motor, seats, and levers might be a cause for concern. So, you should always have the boat inspected by professionals before making a deal.

With a brand new boat, of course, you won’t have to worry about any of that. New boats are coveted because of their quality, durability, and reliability. You will also have the manufacturer’s warranty for defects and issues which you may not have in case of a used boat.

That is why, the price of buying new will always be higher than a used one.

Step 4. Gather information

We have mentioned earlier about how there are several other costs to consider. To get a better idea of the prices and costs you have to do a little bit of research.

Internet

You can certainly obtain information online. Most brands have their owners’ club webpage. There you will find other boat owners who will be happy to share their experiences.

Boat shows

You can also attend boat shows. These are like supermarkets for all sorts of boats and boating accessories. Boat shows are ideal places to learn more about boats and the best deals different brands offer. In most boat shows manufacturers also offer discounts.

Step 5. Consider boat financing options

Boat financing is very similar to t car financing. Like car loans, boat loans consist of a principal amount on which interest is paid for a fixed time. Like every other loan, you have your secured loans, unsecured loans, and second mortgages.

You can get your financing through

A lot of people prefer choosing the first option as boat dealers have tons of experience in setting up boat loans. They also are incentivized to offer better prices if the customer chooses their financing plans. Arranging boat dealers for the loan also take care of the legwork and paperwork needed in securing a loan on your own. Keep in mind, this convenience has a small price. You may find, personal financing like home equity or personal loan can help get a lower interest rate than what the boat dealer is offering.

And to get the boat loan your credit will be checked and in this case, 700 or higher raises your chances of getting a good loan at a great interest rate. Before getting the loan you should consider the down payment, interest rates alongside the monthly costs of the boat and see whether it fits your budget.

Even if you do have cash on you, boat financing might be an option to think about as it can mean you will be able to afford an even better boat.

Step 6. Buy off-season

It is as simple as that and for obvious reasons. Spring and summer are boat season which is why the prices will be at an all-time high due to demand.

Whereas in the fall the demands decline and lots of manufacturers offer great discounts which makes it an ideal time to get your hands on the dreamboat you have been eyeing.

Winter is also a great time as most boat shows happen in the winter. You can get to know all about boats and have many of your local and national manufacturers at one spot. Boat shows also offer various discounts.

The fall and winter are both great seasons to buy.

You will get great deals and also have more than enough time to buy all the necessary boating equipment and accessories you will need for the next boating season.

Final Thoughts

Buying a boat can feel like a painstaking task. However, there is a huge reward in the end – you can call yourself a proud boat owner of a dream boat. Once you hit the water and feel the breeze all of this legwork will seem pale in comparison to the excitement you will be feeling. So, follow our steps and get closer to sailing away!