Boating is usually a family activity, so all the members of the family should be involved in the process of choosing and buying the boat. Will it be used primarily as a fishing boat, a water-ski tow machine, or a basic picnic cruise boat?
Determine what it is the family intends to use the boat for, then evaluate the models that fit those needs. Most boats are multi-faceted – they can be used as fishing boats in the morning and ski boats in the afternoon.
Make a list of the family's "must have features," as well as the "can do withouts." Calculate your monthly budget for boat ownership and plan to stick to it. But you shouldn't give up a necessity in order to save a few dollars that will cost you convenience, usage, or enjoyment later on.
Remember that you'll probably be inviting guests aboard your boat occasionally, so factor in a little extra room for them. You want your guests and family to enjoy their outing, not feel cramped.
Many boats now come pre-packaged with the motor and trailer as a complete unit. The boat manufacturers have been careful to outfit such boats for the comfort of the average boater, and the lower prices of these combo units reflect cost savings passed on to the buyers.
Usually, the packaged boat deals will offer some power choice, so make sure there is enough push. But don't go overboard, either. Too much power can cost you in excess boat fuel costs, and it can simply be unsafe.
Keep in mind that the dealer you purchase the boat from will be your partner for advice and service. He/she should be willing to listen to what you want in a boat, and then make several important recommendations.
When your boat requires scheduled maintenance or repairs, the dealer should be expected to be there to stand behind the sale. When shopping for a boat, buy from the dealer you feel most comfortable with or one that was recommended by your friends.
Finally, don't make the mistake of thinking you're making a lifelong commitment to a particular boat. Buying a boat is not a marriage, but more like an enjoyable relationship. Why? Because most boat owners will trade up as their skills grow and their needs change.
Article courtesy of Discover Boating.
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