The why and where of finding the right boat.
The reasons people have for buying a boat can be as varied and differing as the individuals themselves. Lifelong boaties are hooked to the lifestyle and love of water. Water sports enthusiasts want a boat to go higher, faster, better. Recreational boaters enjoy the relaxation and holiday options offered. Fishing enthusiasts want to get to where the big ones are biting.
Whatever your reason is for buying a boat, you want to make sure you select the right boat to suit your requirements.
This article has been prepared primarily for first time boat buyers who want to enjoy the boating lifestyle, with guidelines, hints and advice on how to find the right boat for you.
The first thing you have to realise is that buying a boat can be a highly emotional experience, driven by wants and desires, which can easily drown out the inner voice of common sense.
To ensure you find the right boat, let your head have control over your heart in the decision making process!
The Right Boat Suits Your Purpose
That sleek lined, high performance sports fisher is an amazing boat but if your main purpose is to enjoy holidays and getaways with your family of five, then it is not the right boat.
While many boat models suit multiple purposes, some are specifically designed for certain purposes.
Clearly define how you are primarily going to use your boat, on what waterways and for how many passengers.
Family outings: for day trips a small cruiser or trailer boat is great. For overnight, a larger or more equipped boat would be required with sufficient sleeping accommodation and suitable bathroom and cooking facilities.
Fishing: most fishing enthusiasts know the boat market well, but novices may not. Some fishing boats are designed for calmer, inland waterways, others to handle the rougher conditions offshore. Decide which best suits your requirements.
Sailing: racing and cruising yachts are set up and equipped differently. Most racing yachts have minimal creature comforts to minimise weight and maximise space for different rigs. They’re built for speed and function. Cruising and recreational yachts have a range of inclusions to varying levels of comfort and luxury. Different styles of yachts handle differing conditions, with different keel types, weights, steering and sail rigs.
The Right Boat Suits The Waterway
While some boats are designed for most waterways and weather conditions, ie inshore, offshore, shallow, deep, not all are.
Fishing and small recreational power boats designed primarily for inland waterways and rivers may have a shallower draft to allow access in shallower waters. Great for rivers but not as stable to cater for rougher conditions offshore.
Boats designed for offshore activities, eg racing, fishing, long range cruising, can mostly be used in inland waters also. But to get there they may need to be trailable. They may also be set up with equipment and power that you don’t require so you may be paying for features you don’t need.
The Right Boat Suits Your Passengers
All boats, regardless of type, brand or model are licensed to carry a specific number of people. Over-crowding a boat is both illegal and reckless behaviour.
Choose a boat to cater for all your anticipated passengers.
The Right Boat Suits Your Storage Plans
Unlike a car that you can park pretty much anywhere, boats require storing or mooring. Before embarking on a boat purchase, plan where you are going to store yours.
If you are buying a used boat which is currently say moored or berthed, don’t just assume the mooring or berth comes with the boat. They rarely go together.
For trailable boats you will need a trailer and somewhere to keep it. Check with your local council if you are permitted to park it on your street. Alternatively seek storage facilities.
Berthing is available for all sized boats at commercial marinas on all waterways. Prices vary depending on facilities offered and the length of the boat.
Moorings are usually controlled by the state maritime authority. Contact them to enquire on availability and cost in your preferred location.
Dry storage is offered by some commercial marinas. These facilities are massive warehouse style spaces with rows of high racks. Boats are moved from the water to the rack via boat lifters and forklifts.
The Right Boat Suits Your Budget
The deciding factor for many boat buyers is the price.
Setting your budget will make the search for the right boat a lot easier.
Either start by deciding how much you can afford to outlay and then find a boat to suit or research the price range of the boat type you want and find finance to suit that boat and your resources.
These resources equip you to narrow your search down to a selection of boats within your budget.
Perhaps this may determine if you decide on a new or used boat
When setting your budget, remember to allow for any additional costs in regard to the purchase, the cost of storage and other ongoing costs associated with owning a boat.
With your budget set, you can begin your search to find the right boat!
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