Tips For First-Time Boat Buyers April 17, 2019

The First Time

There are lots of “first time” events in one’s life: some are good, others not so much.

Buying a boat for the first time doesn’t have to be stressful or end badly. All it takes is a bit of planning, a bit of patience, and a bit of persistence.

Here are some helpful tips for the first-time buyer.

  1. What kind of boat?  Seems simple enough, but then you discover there are dozens and dozens of boat types to choose from! But start with the basics: what are you going to use your boat for? Fishing? Cruising? Watersports? Once you know that, it will help narrow the search.
  2. Where will you keep your boat?  Sorry, “in the water” doesn’t count as a good answer! Are you going to rent a slip or a mooring? Keep the boat at home and trailer it to and from the water? And what about winter? Dry storage? Shrink wrap? Give a few minutes to thinking about these issues.
  3. Are you certified?  Operating a boat safely is not like driving a car. Different states have different requirements about certification and training, but you should be knowledgeable about navigation, Rules of the Road and how to operate your boat safely, in all conditions. Take a Coast Guard class or obtain all the certification you need.
  4. Don’t skip a step.  Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, start by browsing the ads, online or in print. Once you’ve found a boat that meets your specs, do a thorough inspection, in the water and out. Inspect everything on the boat, from the deck and fittings to the engine and other gear. If the boat is in the water, have it hauled out and inspect the undersides. Finally, arrange to take the boat out for a spin and see how it handles, how fast it goes and how responsive it is.
  5. Spend wisely.  Educate yourself on the price range your boat falls into, check into other recent sales and ask why your boat is higher or lower than the average for a boat of its kind. If buying a new boat, understand the warranties and what they cover. If buying a used boat, find out if there are any outstanding liens.

We have a few additional tips to add:

  • Don’t bring the kids, at least at first. Boat buying can be a long and tiring process, and it’s not fair to either you or the kids.
  • Do bring the spouse. Having opinions from your helpmate can be a good thing, and a happy helpmate is a happy boater!
  • Ask about construction, materials and quality. Like any valuable asset, you want your boat to hold up to conditions, last a long time and maintain its value. Buy quality. A few extra dollars spent now will serve you well for years to come.
  • Explore different propulsion systems. Outboard, inboard, jet engines…there are pros and cons for all of them. Ask questions and see what works best for your boat’s needs.

Here at Fay’s Boat Yard, we can help you at every step along the way. Our job, indeed our goal, is to match every one of our customers with just the right watercraft.

Our experienced boat brokers and salespersons know all about boats. We’re happy to answer all of your questions, and we know how to find you just the right boat.

If you’re looking, start with a visit to Fay’s Boat Yard. We’ve been buying and selling boats for 75 years!

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