All You Need to Know Before Buying a Boat

Let’s face it, who’s never dreamed of owning a boat before? Whether it’s for fishing at sea or recreational purposes, there are all kinds of thrill to be experienced on a personal craft, during summer, winter, or both. 

Now, for those ready to take the plunge, several important things come to mind as far as the selection and buying process. In this article, we’ll go over everything there is to know to guarantee yourself a successful and long-lasting boat purchase. Get ready to sail away!

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Location, Use, and Frequency

The first thing to ask yourself upon buying a boat is your location and accessibility. Do you live by the ocean or near a lake? Is there a marina close to home? Generally speaking, large bodies of water require boats with deep hulls (ocean, sea), while smaller vessels will easily have access to shallow waters (river, lake). Next, consider its purpose; do you want a boat for fishing, sailing, water sports, retreats, or perhaps spending time with family and friends? Knowing how many people and how often your boat will be on the water is crucial and will help you with the next step.

Boat Types

Once you’ve isolated your needs, it’s time to select a craft! There are many types of boats to choose from, including motorboats, sailboats, fishing boats, cabin cruisers, and even yachts. Evidently, the selection will depend on your motivations and budget, so it stands to reason to choose a type that satisfies your intended purpose. Size is also a major consideration; whether it’s just you, a fishing buddy, or half a dozen people, be sure to find a model that can accommodate your short-term needs and long-term goals.

New Vs. Pre-Owned

For those who’ve been saving for a while, or to whom money is no object, a new boat is a logical choice. They’re naturally more expensive, but haven’t undergone any depreciation and typically come with a warranty to cover any damages. However, as explained by the boating experts at, purchasing a pre-owned craft can be a great investment, too. That’s provided you find a trusted dealer and go through various steps to verify its condition, paperwork, and ensure you’re not being scammed. With some research, you’ll find plenty of resources to help you make a successful used-boat purchase.


Whether the boat you’ve opted for is brand new or if it’s had a previous life at sea, any responsible boat owner should take it upon themselves to conduct a thorough inspection of the craft. Check the engine, steering system, propeller, bilge, electrical system, as well as the fuel tank. 

All You Need to Know Before Buying a Boat

Take help from a seasoned friend or marine surveyor (the equivalent of a home inspector), and go for a test drive or a sea trial. Keep in mind that a craft with one or two passengers will behave differently when it has a party of guests onboard.

Maintenance Costs

A prevailing reason why many people shy away from purchasing a boat has to do with maintenance and overall upkeep costs. Getting a boat is much like buying a car, except times 10! In addition to its upfront price tag, you’ll need to set aside a budget for general maintenance, onboard gear and accessories, docking and marina fees, trailers, hitches, fuel, and repairs. These expenses will largely depend on the type and size of the craft in question, frequency of use, and your locality.

Insurance Matters

In the same way, you need insurance when purchasing a motorcycle or a house, you’ll have to subscribe to boating insurance in case the worst happens. In fact, accidents, collisions, or unexpected malfunctions are sadly all too common. Boat insurance typically covers damages to your craft, onboard injuries, injuries from accidents, damages to other vessels, and compensation for emergency assistance fees (towing or rescue). So, be sure to compare different providers to get the best deal.


Finally, do not overlook the importance of where you’ll be keeping your future boat. Some owners choose to put their boat on a trailer and attach it to their car so they can explore different waterways, while others will prefer to keep it docked at the local home port or marina. Obviously, the larger the vessel, the bigger the challenge!

All things considered, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the pleasures of owning a boat? The process can be rather daunting, from selection to purchasing and subscribing to insurance, but the results are well worth it! As a last piece of advice, keep conducting research and reaching out to local boat dealerships; you’re just a few steps away from your dream life at sea!

Written by George K.

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