What should you consider when buying a boat?

13th July 2021 Jack O'Rourke

What should you consider when buying a boat?

There are many factors to consider when buying a boat, and there is a lot of information out there. Perhaps the most important starting point is deciding what boat would most suit your lifestyle. 

Whether you are an experienced boater looking to upgrade so you can travel the world, or new to boating and looking to get out on the water every other weekend, what you want to use your boat for will determine what boat you buy. 

The first place to start is deciding if you want to buy a new boat for a higher price, or find a second-hand boat that is proven to be reliable. There are also a number of steps to tick off along the way, like thoroughly inspecting and testing the boat, to make sure you have peace of mind when you finally complete your purchase. Read on for Deckee’s guide.

How to choose the right boat?

There is a boat on the market to suit every need. Consider the following key points when choosing a boat:

  • Design - What type of boat do I want?

  • Boating needs - What will I use the boat for?

  • Quality - Will this boat operate long into the future?

  • Maintenance - How much will this boat cost to keep running?

  • Value - Is this boat within my budget?

  • Time on the water - How much will I use this boat?

There are a lot of factors that can help you decide which direction to go in. You may be interested in either a motorboat or a yacht. You may want a boat to bring friends and family out on the water, or go fishing by yourself. You could be interested in day-boating, and want a model that is easy to launch, or you want to use your boat overnight. 

These are all points to consider, and will determine the size, make and model of your next boat. Most boats are built with specific purposes in mind and offer different capabilities and features depending on how they are designed. 

 If you are looking for a model that is designed for comfort, look for modern brands that focus on creature comforts and plush furniture and bedding. 

A recreational boater will want a model that has a motor set-up that is capable of performing a range of activities, with equipment for water-skiing or wakeboarding. 

Explore the options on the marketplace by matching your needs to the best-suited boat. Maybe the best choice given your circumstances will be to buy a second-hand boat, especially if you are looking to get into boating for the first time.  

Buy a second-hand boat or buy brand new?

While the idea of owning a brand new boat is an exciting prospect, it may be prudent to start with a second-hand boat to get familiar with operating a vessel, then upgrade in the future. Second-hand boats don’t carry the same stigma they once did, with modern boats built to last longer and be more reliable. You can still find a recent model that has been constructed using high-quality materials and professional boatbuilders. 

If you feel you have the means to buy brand new, there are obvious advantages. What you could save in money buying second-hand may come back to bite you when dealing with malfunctions and ongoing maintenance. A new boat, however, will arrive in the best condition possible and features modern technology and accessories that make it easier than ever to operate. You will also be backed by factory support and warranty guarantees. 

Not to mention that special feeling of becoming the owner of a new boat that you can really make your own. While a new boat is a significant cost investment, you can ensure that you are getting exactly what you want. 

Which boat brand should I buy from?

Whether buying new or second-hand, go with an established and well-known brand.  

Companies that value investing in design and production can assure build quality across their range. In particular, boat builders in Australia are renowned for their quality. 

Look for established brands that have world-leading factories and clear lines of distribution. Be wary of choosing smaller brands to save some money, as boat builders that are new to the market will often opt to set up offshore facilities and use unskilled labour to save on costs, but this will sacrifice build quality and reliability.

Do your own research, and canvass the industry for the company that aligns with what you are looking for in a new boat. Consider the yard’s history of customer service and warranty work if you are looking to resell down the line.

How do I inspect and test-drive a boat?

If you do find a boat that piques your interest, be sure to have it inspected by a qualified industry expert. Even if you are an experienced boater, a surveyor will be able to go over the boat and pick up on issues that aren’t always obvious to see. 

A surveyor's primary role is to inspect the boat’s hull, electrical components and engines. 

While this usually comes with a fee, spotting problems early will save you a lot of money and anguish over the long run. 

If you are confident it is seaworthy, an essential part of the process is to take the boat out for a sea trial. It's your choice if you want to test the boat by yourself or bring along a surveyor, but you will want to make sure that the boat is mechanically safe and able to handle the conditions. 

Following this guide should give you a clear picture of the quality of the boat you are looking to buy and give you peace of mind to sign on the dotted line.