When you’re shopping for a new boat, you can spend days going from dealer to dealer exploring inventory and learning about the latest the industry has to offer. Alternatively, you could just go to a boat show, where there may be hundreds of boats on display – not to mention vendors, accessories, and gear associated with the nautical industry. You might even find the boat of your dreams and seal the deal on the spot. Of course, all of this does not happen by chance. Before you head off to the boat show, be sure to prepare so you are ready to buy if the time is right.
Know Your Boats
Boat dealers and manufacturers have many people to deal with at boat shows. Asking informed questions and knowing which type of boat you are interested in shows them you are serious about boating and not merely there for the entertainment value.
If you aren’t sure which boat is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many passengers will I be hosting on my boat?
- Do I expect to use my boat for fishing?
- Do I want my boat to perform well for water sports?
- What is my budget?
- What is my boat piloting experience level?
Depending on your answers to these questions, you may be able to narrow down your options to certain types of boats and features. For example, a bass boat is ideal if you plan to exclusively fish from your boat, but not if you also want to use your watercraft to tow skiers or host friends. If versatility is what you are seeking, perhaps you should consider a runabout or a pontoon with live wells and a few anglers’ chairs. If you are looking for high-performance watercraft capable of rapid acceleration for skiing or wakeboarding, perhaps a ski boat should be your choice.
Boat Sizes and Motors
Boats come in many sizes and with different types of motors. If you need to carry several passengers, a large boat may be necessary. If not, choosing a smaller watercraft can lower your purchase and fuel costs, as well as make it easier to pilot and transport your boat. Small boats are also easier to store if you do not live on the water.
When it comes to motors, there are three basic types: outboard, inboard, and inboard/outboard. Inboard engines are more expensive and more difficult to maintain, but they are also quieter and offer more cabin space. An outboard engine is more affordable and user-friendly, and it can be lifted completely out of the water, allowing for fishing in shallow water. The inboard/outboard combination combines the power and space of an inboard with the maintenance ease and simplicity of an outboard.
New vs. Used
Once you have an idea of what you want in a boat, consider whether you are buying new or used. Keep in mind that new boats typically come with warranties, whereas used boats generally do not. Though used boats are more affordable than newer models, you could spend more than enough in short-term repairs to make up the difference in the cost of buying new.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
Lastly, don’t forget to get insurance for your boat. Homeowners insurance may offer limited protection, but it is typically restricted to very small non-motorized boats or those with low-horsepower motors. Even then, the coverage is typically only available for certain types of damages and loss events.
Whether you purchased new or used, a dedicated boat insurance policy helps you protect your investment against physical damages and loss, as well as your income and assets against any liability you incur while operating your watercraft. Contact the team here at Patriot Insurance for more information or to request your free quote today.