What Type Of Boat Should I Buy?

WHAT TYPE OF BOAT SHOULD I GET?

This is the most common question. The answer is individualized, and requires first answering some other key questions. For instance, how many people will typically be on the boat? The boat must have that capacity.
Next, is there an activity that takes precedence over others, such as fishing or wakeboarding? Most boats can serve multiple roles in a pinch, but a real enthusiast will want a boat designed to help make the most of your primary activity.

Now ask yourself whether you will be trailering the boat? For one thing, the boat selected must not exceed the trailering capacity of your car or truck. Does the boat need to fit in a garage? How long is it on the trailer? How high?
Selecting the right type of boat takes some soul searching and, preferably, some time spent aboard friends’ boats or rental boats to help narrow down the features wanted.

SHOULD I BUY NEW OR USED?

Both have merit. Budget is always an important factor here, as well. With a new boat, you should be able to rely on the dealer’s reputation (do get good referrals — picking the dealer is important) and the manufacturer’s warranty for peace of mind and service. You will generally be able to finance a new boat for a lower rate and, perhaps, with a lower down payment. A new boat provides the most modern systems. It’s hard to beat the “bragging rights” and pride in ownership of a brand new boat.

Used boats can be had for less money than new boats. Many used boats might still come with a remnant warranty from the manufacturer and, if purchased from a dealership, might come with something like a 30 day warranty. In any event, we recommend you have a Marine Industry Certified Dealership conduct a marine inspection on the used boat. This will allow you peace of mind that the unit you are buying is mechanically sound and seaworthy. Add this cost — which might range from $250 to $500 — to the cost of the boat.

Used boats do not have the latest upgrades, though many have been refitted with new systems and motors. Used boats generally suffer less from depreciation compared with new boats. Used-boat financing usually requires higher rates, bigger down payments, and shorter terms.
When comparing new and used boats, one is not better than the other, but each offers benefits that the other does not. It’s up to you to decide  which you are more comfortable with.

WHERE SHOULD I BUY?

If you are buying a used boat, you will buy it where you find it — whether that is at a dealer’s yard, on a listing at a boat show, or in the driveway of your neighbor. If you are buying a new boat, you will look in some specific places. The first place to check out is your  local dealer market. The dealers in your area can service your boat and motor and, honestly, are going to be at least as responsible for your happiness as a boater as they are for the actual boat itself. Look for “ demo days” events that you can attend to ride on some boats, meet with other boaters, and develop a rapport with your local dealer. We host several demo days events throughout the season on Caesar Creek Lake. Fill out our “contact us” form to be added to our list. We will notify you of upcoming demo day events.

Another great place to buy a boat is at your local boat show. At the show, you can climb aboard the two or three boats that make up your “short list” and compare the features directly. You can also get quotes from the competing manufacturers for the boat sale, as well as other desired services such as storage, dockage or winterization. Boat shows are also a great place to shop for financing: make the banks earn your business. Finally, many boat- and engine-makers offer incentives for making the purchase at the show. This is why many industry veterans will push buying at the show to take advantage of the manufacturer incentives.

HOW MUCH DO BOATS COST?

Boat costs range from under $10,000 for a new, small fishing boat, or PWC, to millions of dollars. Perhaps more useful is that according to the latest data from National Marina Manufacturers Association, the average price of a brand new powerboat hovers at about $40,000. For some, this seems high, but experienced boaters might ask that these folks consider the following before dismissing boating as expensive:

Boating is commitment in time as well as money, like other recreational activities. Few of those provide the return that boating does. For example, a boat allows a family to go fishing, participate in watersports, cruise to interesting places, and see and do things together that the land-bound cannot. Boat owners always have a weekend getaway on tap.
Boating is also an investment in the ties that bind. It’s harder to get a more “captive” audience with family and friends than taking them out on the boat. The bonds that come from learning new skills together, experiencing new things together, and just being in a different environment together are tough to beat. No bones about it, It costs money to go boating, as it costs money to do many other activities. The benefits, though, as millions of boaters will attest, are unique and just plain tough to beat.

WHAT ARE ADDITIONAL COST TO BOATING?

In addition to the price of the boat, other costs will be required to go boating. Naturally the cost of water tubes, skis, fishing rods and fuel is expected. Some others costs will apply to all boaters; other costs will apply to only some boaters. Check this list against your personal situation. (Values are representative, vary by region, and not meant to be actual quotes.)
•    Annual state boat registration: $33-75
•    Annual trailer registration: $25-65
•    Trailer ramp fee: Varies by state. (State of Ohio are usually free)
•    Seasonal Dockage: $650 – 2500  (Can vary by lake and region)
•    Insurance: $250-$2,000 per year
•    Boat winter storage (shrink wrap; outdoor storage): $35-$60 per foot
•    Engine winterization (outboard): $250
•    Engine winterization (inboard/sterndrive V-8): $400
•    Engine winterization (diesel): $750
•    Service sterndrive (pull drive, bellows): $450 – 1,500
•    Safety equipment (three flares, horn or whistle, four life jackets, etc.): $350 – 500

HOW DO I LEARN TO DRIVE A BOAT?

Experience. New boaters need to start off slowly and expand their range of operation as they gain experience. Operating a boat is very little like operating a car.
For example, there are no painted lines on the water, and buoys serve a different purpose than traffic signals. But, by attending a boater-safety course, boaters can gain understanding of navigation aids.
Then there is the water. The height under bridges and overpasses changes constantly with the stage of the tide — sometimes you can fit under and other times you cannot. This type of knowledge is localized, and learned best by boaters who go out slowly at first, increasing their range of boating over time.
The surface of the water is bumpy and can change from hour to hour; this too takes some time on the water to predict. But, with time, boaters come to understand how much wind, and from what direction, affects their waterway adversely.
There are charts published and inexpensive marine electronics that show the depth of water one is operating in and any hazards, such as underwater rocks, stumps, shell banks and sandbars. It’s prudent for boaters to purchase and understand the use of charts and marine electronics.
Current and wind can confound new boaters who are not prepared for them, especially while docking. But those boaters who proactively seek out knowledge of these forces and practice maneuvering can catch on quite readily. Operating a boat requires the gaining of experience — but that experience comes from going boating, so it’s all good!

 Truly motivated boaters jump-start their learning. There are good books on the subject of boat handling, and many expert magazine articles, such as the monthly Seamanship column in Boating Magazine, that one can refer to.
As you would expect, taking a boater-safety course is a great idea and will up your safety and enjoyment of all aspects of boating. Professional captains can also be hired, if one desires, and there are many schools that teach boat handling on the water. Needless to say, nothing beats the firsthand learning gained by taking the helm!WHERE DO I STORE MY BOAT?Many boaters store their boat on their own property. If they own a trailer, the trailer serves as the storage bed. Some trailer boaters rent yard space from storage facilities, RV parks and service stations. In some locales, vacant lots can serve for a fee. Security and convenience of these options varies. If you cannot utilize your own property for storage, then you can seek out a marina or boatyard. Options here range from “wet storage,” which means in a slip and ready to go at an instant to “rack stored,” also called “ high and dry,” wherein the boat is stored in a building and moved to the water by forklift on request.
For winter storage (or any long-term, nonuse storage), yards and marinas offer storage inside and outside at varying rates. Shrink-wrap and storing outside is a great option as well.WHAT TYPE OF TOW VEHICLE DO I NEED?The type of vehicle you need to tow your boat will vary by the size of the boat. A small skiff or PWC may be towed by a compact car. A big diesel pickup is required to haul around a 40-foot race boat. For most boaters, an SUV or pickup truck with a V-6 or V-8 engine serves well.
Of course you probably already know that a small vehicle can tow a small boat, and a big truck can tow a big boat. Many new boaters wonder about the advantages of towing. There are many.
For one, you get to cruise your boat to many more locations, whether just across town or across the country. With a trailer, a boater can cover many miles quickly on the highway and then put in at new and exciting boating locations.
Another benefit of trailering is that storage costs can be kept lower. With a trailer, boaters can bring their boats home and store them on their own property. Some trailers even boast folding tongues that allow them to more easily fit in a garage or other indoor storage facility. Of course, keeping the boat on a trailer makes corrosion much less of a worry compared with storing a boat in the water.

DO I NEED A LICENSE?

In most states, yes you need a license, or at least some formal education. In Ohio for example, if you were born on or after January 1, 1982 you must successfully complete a boaters education course to legally operate a vessel greater then 10 HP. These are offered in a variety of settings, including online, by organizations such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the United States Power Squadrons. In many cases, completion of a boater-safety course can also result in discounted boat insurance. Some states also have restrictions for PWC operation. You can visit http://watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/laws/ohio-boat-operators-guide/ch-7-ohio-operating-laws#701 for a complete list of OHIO watercraft laws.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BUY A NEW BOAT?

This is the age old question we get all the time. Sure there are certain times of the year when you will get better incentives from the boat builders and the engine builders, like during the boat show season, but the best timing of all is when you are ready to purchase. We know that sounds cliché but many times we have worked with customers that spend hours shopping and educating themselves in the winter and spring time but find they are not ready to purchase until later in the summer or fall. This can be confusing on consumers because pricing can change. During the shopping phase we find that consumers usually try and compare the experience to the auto industry but lets face it, thats what we buy the most of when it comes to big purchases. The marine industry is very seasonal unlike the auto industry. Boat builders are subject to raw goods cost so much more because they are not buying in full 12 month windows like other industries. Let’s not forget to mention the volume between the industries.  The same is true for dealers. Their inventory selection gets very low in the meat of the summer making it difficult to find that perfect boat that you have been eyeing all winter and spring. We feel it is also important to understand that the model year change over takes place in July. That means that the dealers prices can go up in the middle of the summer because the manufacturers have had to raise the price to them. Your best time for getting everything you want in a new boat is definitely the boat show season. You get the pricing of the season at this time as well as manufacturer incentives. Add to the fact that you can usually visit a boat show and find everything available under one roof. At the end of the day though the timing has rot be right for you and your family. The dealer will always do everything in their power to earn your business if they know upfront you are ready to purchase at that time (or within 30 days).

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