The weather is warming up all across the nation, and if you are like many anglers, you can’t wait to get out on the water. Getting ready for fishing season and taking the big step and purchasing your first boat or preparing to upgrade your current one is an exciting time. And whether you’re new to boat ownership or are looking to buy again, there are several things to consider:
What You Need vs. What You Want
When you think about owning a fishing boat, you surely have a dream boat in mind. However, when making an investment like that, you must be realistic. Unless you have an unlimited income, carefully factoring what is necessary and what is luxury are important factors in the right boat for you. It is important to do your research and decide what “wants” you can let go of and still have a boat to make your dreams come true. Keep in mind, if the feature will make your use of the boat significantly easier or enjoyable, that is a feature worth the investment.
The Cost of Ownership
Another thing to consider is the cost of ownership. First, of course, is the initial cost of the boat. You also have to consider the cost of a tow vehicle and tow equipment. The boat and the trailer is usually well over 3,000 pounds, so you require a vehicle that can handle that. There are also ongoing costs you will have to consider including fuel, repairs, and upkeep costs. Additionally, consider any upgrades or add-ons you might be making and add those costs as well in preparation for when they take place.
Safety and Legal Considerations
Before buying a boat, it is important to keep in mind the safety and legal requirements in your state. Each state has different requirements, so ensure you are looking at the information that is relevant to you. For instance, you will generally require some sort of license or boating safety certification. Your boat will likely have to be registered, you will require safety equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, and must comply to federal and state guidelines.
Storing Your Boat
Storage should be on the list of things to prepare for before buying your first fishing boat. In some areas, storage facilities are around every corner. In others, you might not have as many options. Some people store their boats on their property, while others pay for storage at a local storage facility or marina. It is worth your time to explore your storage options before you buy. This could add a significant cost to owning a boat, and could add a lot of work if you keep it at home.
New vs. Used
Deciding if you want to buy a new boat or one that is used can have a great impact on your price range. There are benefits as well as drawbacks to both options. New boats will theoretically have no problems and will not need major maintenances for a period of time in comparison to used boats. However, they are much more expensive than used ones. With used boats, you might have small issues to deal with here or there, depending on previous owner maintenance, but they are more affordable. Its best to look at both options to see which is best for you depending on your price range and desired features and amenities.
Buying a boat is an exciting time, but you shouldn’t go into it blindly. Not preparing for these things will add to costs “unexpectedly” which may cause great financial strain. Start with these considerations, and before you know it, you will find the perfect boat for you.