This is the most important question you need to ask yourself as this will determine the type of boat you should get. Do you plan to use the boat predominantly for water skiing? Or perhaps you want to go fishing offshore? Or is it a cruiser for overnight trips out to some offshore islands? All these different activities require vastly different vessels. For an offshore fishing vessel you may want a walk around or centre console to maximise deck space. If you plan on sleeping the night you’re going to want a cabin cruiser. Once you know what the boat is mainly going to be used for you can research the right type of budget.
The next consideration is where you will take your boat. Boats are designed for the type of environments they encounter. If you are taking you boat into the open ocean you’re going to need a large boat (at least 6 metres) with a deep V hull. Boats designed for inshore bays and rivers generally have a flatter bottom. You don’t want to make the mistake of buying the wrong boat for the conditions it is likely to encounter.
If only we all had a limitless budget to spend on a boat! Unfortunately for most of us we are going to have to compromise. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a boat though. You can get a good second hand boat for around $20 000. It’s wise to set yourself a budget and don’t go above that. Even if you own a boat you will always have an eye on your next upgrade. Keep in mind once you buy your boat you are going to have some additional costs upfront such as registration, insurance and safety gear.
Boat storage is one of the biggest things most people think about when buying a boat. Storing your boat at home is generally the most cost effective option. But will you have room? Preferably you have somewhere undercover you can store you boat at home to protect it from the elements. Unfortunately most boats won’t fit in the standard garage. There are plenty of other options though. You can store your boat in a wet pen or dry stack down at the marina. You can also look at self-storage options to store your boat on its own trailer.
Buying a boat is a significant cost so you may consider going halves with friends or family, or even using a boat share service. Sharing you boat can be a great option. Especially if you’re not sure how much time you will have to use the boat. If you do go halves with friends it’s a good idea to keep a record of expenses so everything is fair.
Most recreational boats are made from either Aluminium or Fibreglass. These two materials make a major impact in the ride of the boat. Generally fibreglass boats ride nicer and have a better finish. But they are more expensive and take more maintenance. Aluminium boats are cheaper and tougher, but they do slap in rough conditions.
Of course if your budget allows it you are likely to buy a boat new. This is least stressful way to buy a boat. You won’t have to worry about it falling apart once you’ve towed it home. Buying a used boat can save you tonnes of money. But it’s much more difficult to make sure you are not buying a clunker. It’s vital if you do buy a second hand boat you investigate it properly and employ a marine surveyor and mechanic to inspect it.
Once you buy your boat you are going to need to get your licence before you can take it out. Obtaining your skippers ticket is vital to ensure safe boating. If you intend to go fishing you are going to have to get the relevant licenses as well.
Once you’ve got your boat you’re going to need a suitable vehicle to tow it to the boat ramp. Small aluminium boats can be towed with the standard family sedan or small SUV. But if you buy a larger fibreglass boat you are going to need to get yourself a serious tow vehicle such as a 4WD.
Once you’ve got your boat before you head out you need to ensure you have all the right safety gear. Most states have laws outlining what safety gear is required. This can be a significant expense, if your boat has out of date or no safety gear you are going to up for up to $1000 cost.
There you go, that’s the basics or buying your first boat. There’s nothing more fun than a day on the water, following this guide will ensure you get the right boat for your needs. This post was a guest contribution by Eat Sleep Fish Repeat.