First, it’s important to figure out whether you really need to purchase a boat outright. Write down what you plan to use it for and, more importantly, how often it will get used at all. If it’s not often, you might consider renting.
Still interested? Here are a few of the logistics you’ll need to navigate on land before getting out on the water:
Decide whether to buy new or pre-owned:
It’s true you’ll save a lot of money by purchasing a pre-owned vessel, but there advantages to buying new, too, such as peace of mind, and the ability to get exactly what you’re looking for. If you decide to go the pre-owned route, be sure to investigate the boat’s history, give it a thorough inspection and take it out on the water before purchasing.
Consult other boatowners:
Online services like Consumer’s Digest can be a huge help when trying to determine which boat is really worth your investment and what is a fair price to pay. Start with the web to get an overview and to help narrow your search. If at all possible, talk to someone who actually owns the make and model you’re considering to get an understanding of the pros, cons and true costs of ownership.
Look into insurance options if you are buying a boat.:
If you are thinking about a smaller, slower boat or a canoe, you probably don’t need more insurance; in fact, these vessels are probably covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Yachts, sailboats, and any watercraft that goes over 25 miles per hour you’ll likely want to insure beyond what your homeowner’s insurance covers. Expect to pay around 1.5 percent of your investment’s value. A boat policy will protect your boat from loss or damage, and also provide liability coverage, in case you cause damage to someone else’s person or property. Be sure to separately insure any pricey equipment or gear, too. Finally, just as with car insurance, you can sometimes get discounts for safety features or safe driver training. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you’re getting the best rate.
Find out your state’s registration requirements:
Just like land vessels, aka cars, most water vessels will require a title and registration. This doesn’t apply to absolutely all boats, though: non-motorized boats (like canoes and kayaks); small sailboats, lifeboats and other vessels may not need to be registered. Another option is federal documentation. If you plan to travel to other states or foreign waters, this may be a good choice. In some cases, federal documentation will exempt you from having to register with your state. Depending on where you live, costs, requirements and even the agencies that are in charge of boat registration can vary, so check your state’s guidelines.