Nothing more exciting than strolling up the dock and visiting a few friends when you spot it in the corner of your eye....someone's just picked up a "new" boat. Well the boat may not be new...but she's new to the owner and new to the marina.
The joy of boat ownership...it's like a college fraternity...everyone stands around taking turns going through the cabin...up on the bow...in the engine bay...and hearing "Permission to come aboard Captain?" for a few hours or so. It is indeed exciting times.
When our friends come on board they often ask "How big is your boat?" and I tell them she's 36' and the look of panic on their face is quite amusing.
So...the question is..."How big should your boat be?" This may sound like a stupid question but the question is a good one if you think about it. If you are thinking about joining the boating fraternity a few points should come to mind before you decide on pulling the trigger on a boat. Here are a few to consider...
1. What do you want it for?
Do you want to boot around the lake pulling your kids in a tube or waterski? Do you want to go for overnight excursions to remote islands or visit marinas in different cities? Do you want to fish? I follow a lot of Bass fisherman who LOVE showing off their fish on Twitter or Instagram...some of those fish are scary big :). Decide what you want to use the boat for before deciding on what to buy...seems simple but it is important.
2. Bring on another thousand (BOAT)
What is your budget. Believe it or not you can find boats 26' and up on a budget of $10 000 ... it may not be a beauty but you can find deals if you look hard enough. My advice is to stick to your budget as best as possible and make sure you buy the boat at the right time of the season. Our first boat was a 1988 32' Carver Montego...she was a good boat with good bones and we got it for under 20 G's because we picked her up in the fall...always a good time to buy a boat and usually you can get the storage included in the price.
Make sure your boat comes with a valid survey. Especially if you are new at boating. No matter what size the boat is...its always good to have it checked by a licensed marine surveyor. They go over the structure, electronics and engine bay to make sure there are no surprises. To be honest...there are always surprises anyways but it does minimize the risk of buying a boat with a hole in it.
4. Use a broker
If you need help, hiring a broker may help you with your first purchase. Usually brokers are reputable and have been around boats for many years. Their experience can prove to be invaluable and their fee is usually paid by the seller. Ask around the local marina where you want to join and the local boaters could probably recommend a good broker for you.
5. What water are you going to be on?
If you plan on keeping the boat in a marina it is important to keep in mind what water you are going to be boating on before you decide what boat to buy. For those of you who want a cabin cruiser it is especially important. We boat mainly on the Great Lakes and weather can be a factor in many of our trips out...and there is nothing worse than having to turn around because the waves or swells get too choppy for your comfort level. Again...ask around and get advice before you buy...advice is generally free.
6. Power or Sail?
If you are planning on buying a Sailboat...and never sailed before...well...that can be a daunting task. Sign up for some sailing lessons...most marinas have sailing clubs and programs for you to learn how to sail...it's a lot of fun and you can get some experience on the water before you buy.
I'm a power boater...not because I like to spend money on gas but I don't have the patience to sail to a destination. A 25 mile trip will take me 1 hour to get there whereas a sailboat may take 7 hours...food for thought.
7. Last but not least...Boating is an Investment
I'm not talking about making money...I'm referring to an investment in time. If you are like us...time on the water is usually spent with family and friends. If you dream of spending more "me" time or "us" time...there is no better way to spend it than on the water!
Hope this helps....remember...Fatboy's got you covered for all your boating needs.
Enjoy the water Fatboy Friends.