Should I buy a boat?
Buying a boat might not be as painful as you think. If you are truly interested in purchasing a new or used boat, consider organizing the process into three phases – Planning, Shopping, and Decision. To help you get started, we’ve created a series of essential questions you’ll want to consider throughout the process of boat buying.
Phase 1 – The Planning Phase
The planning phase of a boat purchase is primarily about evaluating your current situation and needs. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself when considering buying a boat:
- What activities do I plan on using the boat for? Fishing (salt or freshwater?), watersports, sailing, cruising, multipurpose, etc.? This is absolutely the most critical step in the planning process.
- Which type of boat is right for me? Fishing boats, fish and ski boats, cabin cruisers, high-performance boats, deck boats, pontoon boats, etc. These are just a few of the many options you’ll want to consider based on the activities you want to pursue on the water.
- What is the average number of people I expect to have on board? Family cruises are no fun in a crowded two person fishing boat! Carefully consider how many people you’ll have with you on most of your trips.
- What is your price range? Before you begin shopping, you’ll want to establish a budget. Need help determining your budget? We can help you map out options. Feel free to call us to see what you can realistically afford.
Phase 2 – The Boat Shopping Phase
Now that you have a basic understanding of your boating needs, it’s time to start shopping. This is when the real fun begins. Visit local boat shows or boat dealers and board as many boats possible that meet the requirements you’ve identified in the planning phase. Then interview your dealer about matching you with the best boat that meets your needs.
Some important questions to ask during the shopping phase are:
- What are the boat’s warranties? Ask this for every boat (new or used). Sometimes warranties are transferrable – and if you want to sell the boat down the road – this could be an important selling point.
- Can I take the boat for a test drive? You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, and you probably shouldn’t buy a boat without a test run. Bring the family along and be sure to test the boat in water conditions similar to where you’ll be using it. How does it start? How did it handle in water? How did it accelerate and turn?
- What should I look for when inspecting a boat? Whether you’re buying new or used, there are a variety of things to keep an eye out for when you buy a boat. An out-of-water inspection is also beneficial to check for any irregularities in the hull. In general, any boat inspection should include an in-depth examination of the following:
– Boat Engine
– Steering and throttle controls
– Electrical components
– Floors & Siding
– Deck Hardware
– Fuel Tanks
– Riggings, hardware, and sails
– Hull condition
– Propeller Shaft
Keep in mind, if you are buying a boat that’s used you should also check for floor rot, mildew, number of boat hours logged, maintenance history, and also its storage history. This information should be readily available.
- What is your asking price? Find out what the dealer is offering the boat for first and negotiate down from there.
Phase 3 – The Decision Phase
So now it’s decision time. You’ve evaluated your boating needs, shopped around for various boats, and now it comes time to making a selection.
- When do I plan on making a purchase? When you are ready to make the purchase, it’s important to decide the time frame for which you’ll be ready. I.e. two weeks, two months, or next year – whatever the case, have a timeframe in mind.
- Will the dealer/seller honor the same price within my time frame? Chances are if you are ready to make a decision, a good dealer will honor the same price a few weeks down the road.
There you have it! Three phases to get you started on your path to buying a boat and some important questions for you to consider along the way. If you have found your dream boat but are unsure if a lack of funds will prevent you from making a purchase, we can help you with that! Simply stop by or call your local Mariner Finance branch today to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff to learn how we can assist you with your financial needs. Get your personal loan today.