In order to purchase the best boat for your needs, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your interests, your budget, and your level of boating experience. If you are a complete novice, don’t fret, there are considerable resources available to help clear the mystery of boat features, types, and their uses listed below. If you’re an old timer, the ideal boat might still be elusive. So regardless if this is your first boat or your tenth, take a moment and review the questions below as they will ultimately help you zero-in on the best boat for your needs.
1) What is the primary use and purpose of the boat and where will it go?
No matter if you’re thinking recreation, fishing, or work, it’s important to identify how and where you’ll use your new boat. If you are strictly planning on fresh water in a few local lakes, then you can almost certainly eliminate center consoles from your candidates. Similarly, if you are planning on fishing near the Gulf Stream, a flats boat just wont work for you. Likewise, if you are going to fish more than just cruise, you’ll want to ensure your boat has ample fishing friendly features. If you are considering a bay boat, it might be helpful to check out our posts, Best Bay Boats – Top 5 Must Haves as well as, Bay Boats – 2014’s Most Requested Features before you buy. The key takeaway, by outlining how and where your boat will be used upfront, you’ll ultimately get closer to the best model for your needs.
2) How big is your crew?
Depending on the number of fellow anglers or family that might ride along, you should carefully consider seating options, maximum weight, and passenger capacities. If you plan to take a larger number of passengers routinely, you may have to sacrifice a few fishing bells and whistles for creature features and shoot for a bigger model. On the other side of the coin, if you are solo rider or maybe a duo, eliminating extra seating will typically give way to additional storage and greater fish-ability.
3) Where do you plan to keep your boat?
For better or worse, lots of new boat buyers don’t consider permanent storage until after they are already making payments. One problem, larger boats may require a dedicated slip or paid storage whereas smaller vessels are often on a trailer and occupying space at the owner’s residence. Not that either situation is more favorable than the other, but you’ll certainly want to consider where your boat lives outside of the water before you are pulling away from the dealership. From lawn mowers hurling rocks at your hull, falling tree branches, or a boat that is just too tall for your garage, there’s a lot to consider and no shortage of perils. Understanding this and answering all the hard questions up front will help you realize the actual cost and any pain points of ownership. Loosely related, you’ll also benefit from knowing the 10 essential items you want to keep inside your boat.
4) Do I need an inboard & outboard?
With distinct advantages of both power types, buyers are often in the dark as to which is the best for their specific needs. From cost to uses, maintenance to performance, there’s no shortage of things to consider so check out this helpful post, Inboard vs Outboard before you buy.
5) How much do you really know?
The saying, “you don’t know, what you don’t know” is absolute truth considering a boat. For example, sailing is fun, but ask yourself, are you qualified to captain a sailboat? Similarly, are you capable of understanding weather, tides and safely navigating offshore waters? Before you answer or sign that purchase agreement, make sure you are honest about your boating experience and knowledge. Never underestimate the value of a basic boating safety or operations courses. In the end, they could save you considerable sums of money or something much more valuable.