If you live near the water, or if you’ve ever thought about living near water, you’ve probably considered the possibility of owning a boat. It’s an attractive concept; a boat would feasibly allow you to travel on the water, opening the door to possibilities like drifting to different islands, fishing, or just enjoying the waves by yourself. On top of that, boats are something of a status symbol, with yachts being an exclusive possession of the wealthy and even smaller boats signifying some level of financial success.
However, buying a boat on impulse is a bad idea. There are a few realities you’ll need to face—and come to terms with—before you purchase a vessel of your own.
What to Consider Before Buying a Boat
Be sure to explore these truths about boat ownership before you finalize your purchase:
- There are many good reasons to own a boat (and a handful of bad ones). Some people want to own a boat because they’re passionate about fishing. Others love the water, and want to enjoy warm, sunny days on its surface. You may even want a means of travel if you live in a place where other cities or islands can be reached via water. However, there are some bad reasons to own a boat; for example, if you’re bored and looking for something new to fill your time, it could be a sign you’re buying a boat on impulse. If you’re looking for a way to spend a windfall or inheritance, this probably isn’t it.
- You’ll need some way to store it. Boats still exist when you’re not using them to travel or engage in your favorite hobby. You can usually store your boat on the water in a marina for a small fee, but in winter months, you may need to pull your boat out of the water and store it somewhere on land to prevent damage. For this, you’ll need to factor in transport costs. You can find great boat transport services with Big Boat Transport. No matter what, you’ll need to invest in a boat cover and other forms of protection and maintenance if you want to keep the vessel in strong working condition.
- Boats require ongoing care and maintenance. Along similar lines, you need to be prepared for the fact that your boat will require ongoing care and maintenance. You’ll need to work to keep the interior and exterior clean. If and when you notice issues with the motor, you’ll need to take care of them proactively. This takes lots of time and could cost lots of money, on top of what you initially paid for the boat.
- Boats depreciate in value. The actual depreciation rate of your boat will vary based on many factors, like how well you take care of it, what kind of motor you’re using, and even what color it is, but you can generally rely on it losing between 20 and 25 percent of its value in the first year. Accordingly, boats aren’t a good investment if you’re not enjoying them regularly.
- You may not have time to enjoy a boat. Just because you want to enjoy a boat doesn’t mean you’ll actually get that privilege. If you’re still raising children, if you’re working a full-time job, or if you’re juggling lots of other responsibilities, you may only get to use the boat for a fraction of the time you expect. Take an honest assessment of your current free time before you move forward.
- This could be a passing interest. Buying a boat could be a rash financial decision, based on a fleeting interest in the water. Think carefully; have you always been interested in the water, or is this something that cropped up recently? Buying a boat because you just started learning a new hobby is usually a bad idea.
- You may not be able to afford a boat. Even small boats can be expensive. You can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars for most small fishing vessels, less for a personal boat or waverunner, and more for a full-scale vessel or yacht. Just because the financing makes it so you’ll face a small monthly payment doesn’t mean the unit will work perfectly within your budget; the long-term costs of boat ownership, like rental space and upkeep, need to be taken into account as well.
Are You Ready to Buy a Boat?
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re ready to move forward with your boat-buying decision, spend some more time doing research. Talk to other boat owners in your area and see if you can spend time with them on their boat; is this something you enjoy? What do they have to teach you? What would they have done differently during the purchasing phase? You may also be interested in attending boat shows or taking different types of boats for a venture into the water.
The bottom line here is that the more information you’re equipped with, the better decision you’ll ultimately make. Never buy a boat on impulse, or if you don’t fully understand what owning a boat entails.