With the boating season around the corner, it’s natural that your thoughts turn to getting on the water. If you’re buying a boat for the first time, it’s probably because you’ve spent a bit of time on one and like the whole idea. One thing we can guarantee: being on the water is great fun, but it’s more than that – it’s a way of life.

Find a boat that suits you and your pocket

Before you start searching for boats online or go visit the nearby dealer, think of what you want to do on the water.

  • how far – or how near – do you want to cruise?
  • will you be using it inland or offshore?
  • do you want to ski, relax, or go fishing?
  • do you want a new one or pre-owned?
  • how many people do you want to take on board?

Test it on the water

After this initial brainstorm, you can narrow your search and start looking for your perfect boat. As with any big purchase, be sure not to be rushed to making your decision, and if possible see how the boat handles on the water. Pay attention to small details:

  • start with the cold engine to make sure that there are no tech issues
  • check the boat’s steering and handling at slow speeds
  • check how quickly and easily it gets on the plane
  • try taking waves of different sizes at different angles

Ready to decide?

Now it’s the time to find out about optional extras, colors, delivery times, warranty, part exchange (if applicable) and payment terms, as well as price. Go on to checking other boats in the same range.

With a new boat, timing is important. Special deals are often available during boat shows, or at wintertime, when you may not be so inclined to think about boating. So do all your research, be aware of model cycles, decide what you want to buy and then try to negotiate at the best time.

If the price is higher than you would wish, you might do better to negotiate the inclusion of extra equipment in the price; items such as ropes, fenders, lifejackets, GPS, depth sounders, chart plotters, and even boat sound system or a cooler bag. The value to you is higher than it costs the dealer to supply these items, so having some of them ‘thrown in’ can be a good compromise.

And you’re good to go to order. Good luck with that!