So you are in the market for a boat! Congratulations!
It usually starts with a childhood memory of sunny days fishing on dad’s boat, or that unforgettable weekend with the family on a rented boat. But like most of us, once you’ve experienced life on a boat, you will eventually start dreaming of owning your very own.
Buying a boat is an exciting experience in life, and doesn’t have to be complicated!
But similarly to any major purchase, you don’t want to jump in head first and make a decision you will regret later on.
After all, you want to make sure you are buying the right boat that will suit all your needs and be a reflection of you and your family out on the water!
But don't worry, we're here to help, and to ease the process we've created this handy boat buying guide. So if you're ready, let's talk about how to buy a boat!
What Type of Boat Should I Get?
Picking out the perfect boat is a very personal decision, because it really depends on your interests and what you plan to do out on the waters.
For instance, are you an avid angler who plans to spend every free moment on that boat fishing? Then you might want to consider a boat with a livewell, a large casting deck and other fishing ammenities!
On the other hand, if you are all about enjoying the days on the water lounging on deck with family and friends, you might want to focus your attention on a pontoon boat designed for entertaining.
Boat party anyone?
Here are a few things to ask yourself before buying a boat:
What do you plan to use the boat for?
- Long excursions?
- Water skiing and wakeboarding?
Who is on the boat and what are their needs?
- A family with young children?
- A boat full of friends?
- One or two anglers?
Where and how will you store the boat?
- Do you have access to a marina slip?
- Do you plan to store the boat in your yard?
- How much boat can your vehicle tow?
New vs Used
While many of us are after that brand new boat to call our own, sometimes a used boat is a more feasible and affordable option!
Here's the thing you want to keep in mind with buying a used boat, while you might be saving money on the sale price, there are sometimes hidden costs in maintenance and repairs.
So if you are a bit of a handyman, or don't mind forking over a little extra money when problems arise, this is a great option for you.
Now if this doesn't sound like you, and you'd rather avoid the toolbox and those hidden maintenance costs, you might be better off dealing with a new boat that is under warranty. There is something to be said for the peace of mind you get knowing you won't run into any problems when you are on the water.
Also, a new boat gives you the choice of design, layout, styles, features and gear. Yes, it's time to let that imagination of yours run wild!
How Much Should I Spend?
We all have that dream boat in mind, but at the end of the day you need to consider what you are comfortable spending. As with purchasing a home or vehicle, you usually have a set budget in mind, right? It's no different when purchasing a boat!
Naturally the price of boats vary greatly depending on the model, make and size of the boat you have in mind. This is why figuring out your boat budget will help narrow down your options so you can find a boat that is most realistic for your lifestyle.
Similarly to all large purchases and investments, when you are in the market for a new boat it is likely you will rely on financing for at least part of the purchase.
And while there was a time when getting boat financing would have been next to impossible, times have changed! Not only is it easier to find a lender that will help make your boat ownership dream a reality, but you might be surprised to discover that there are a few different financing options at your disposal.
In addition to the initial purchase of your boat, you will need to keep in consideration the cost of boat maintenance.
Just like you wouldn't skip out on your annual physical, you also can't ignore examining and maintaining your boat's primary mechanical systems.
To get the best performance out of your boat, you will need to invest in regular oil changes, and system inspections, to regularly washing the interior and exterior of the boat.
Showing your boat a little TLC can help save you a lot of money in repairs in the long run!
In fact, making boat maintenance a priority will even lead to better fuel economy!
Yup! Regular engine maintenance, propeller maintenance, and even cleaning the scum buildup on the bottom of your boat will actually lead to big savings in fuel cost!
Licensing and Insurance
I know, I know...most new boat owners are eager to talk about boat specs and the best fishing holes, but from time to time we have to get down to business and take care of some basic housekeeping items by talking about things like licensing and insurance.
While there was a time when anyone could drive a boat, but since 1999 there has been more of a push to focus on keeping our waterways safe, and before climbing on board and operating a boat you must now prove that you are competent to do so.
While there are a few ways to demonstrate your competency, the Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is the standard document used to show you are competent to be operating that new boat of yours - This is your official Canadian boating license.
Ok so now we all know you are competent, don't worry, there was never a doubt!
But there is still something else a new boat owner will need to think about; Boat Insurance.
Did you realize that boat insurance actually isn't mandatory in Ontario?
That's right, the choice is yours my friends!
That said, you might still want to invest in boat insurance for peace of mind, but also because in many cases it actually is still a requirement.
For instance, if you plan to dock your boat at a marina, use a private boathouse, or you intend to finance your boat, you are likely going to need to prove that your boat is insured.
Ultimately, buying a boat is not an overnight decision, and there are a few things that you should take into consideration before making your purchase. But with a little research and effort you will be on the water starting your own adventure in no time!