Thinking About Buying A Boat?


It really is a thrilling day when you take possession of your first boat. For some it’s a pinnacle moment in life and a declaration of all your hard work.  For others it’s the opportunity to relive childhood memories and share this amazing lifestyle with family and friends or just a tranquil retreat away from all of life’s challenges.

It certainly isn’t uncommon to pass a half dozen dealerships during our daily commute; there really is no shortage to choose from. Picking out the right boat for you might not be as easy as you think though. My first bit of advice is to keep your spouse involved, kids too! One great way to get to know the playing field is to visit a couple of local marinas and walk the docks. Stop by the Dock Office and let the marina staff know you are doing some research; chances are they will introduce you to a handful of active boaters who will gladly share their experiences. The “newbie” comments I hear the most in any marina setting is “how nice everyone is”. It’s true and you will be thoroughly amazed at the camaraderie within the boating community.

Now you are armed with some inside information and have gotten a look at several types of boats and sizes. If you have a short list of boats you like, talk to a few different insurance agencies and ask them to quote you on yearly policy costs. The next decision is crucial….where to keep it! You have tons of options but making the right decision is important. Boating is very much a destination sport, so keeping your boat somewhere that requires a bit of planning really adds to the adventure. The best marinas in South Florida happen to be in Lighthouse Point.

So now you have some associated costs put together, you’ve talked to a handful of boaters and hopefully have been given the names of a few good brokers or have seen a couple of used boats in different marinas that are for sale. Now is the time to do a little online research and read up on different brokers or dealerships and pick out a couple to contact. Oh guys, by the way, there are some fantastic lady brokers out there that have Captain’s licenses and years of experience. Whatever way you go, though, find a broker with some sea time under their belt.

At this point you have narrowed it down to length, manufacturer and power options.  Now, the big decision is new or used. Don’t count out a late model used boat just because someone else slept on the boat.  That can be remedied. This is the time to spend a few dollars and bring in an Accredited Marine Surveyor.  A surveyor will tell you everything about the used boat you are interested in and will provide you a detailed report that will help you make the final decision.

So maybe the used boat market is not your cup of tea. You want a new boat, great! Almost all of the dealerships in South Florida have nice selections in stock with several boats ready to ride away on. Look for extended warranty packages.  Ask if they will add in anti-fouling paint to close the deal? Does the dealership have a substantial service department and will they come to you when service is needed? It’s always nice to see a fleet of service vans on site.  This is a great time to negotiate for every extra you can think of. Before you sign the closing paperwork, new or used, do the right thing and contact your Local Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron and sign up for the Safe Boating Course. I guarantee that you will learn some great information, make some new friends, and after passing the course your certificate will get you a decent cost break on your insurance. My last bit of advice is to take the insurance savings and buy a boat one size up!

Be safe, have fun, and be courteous of the other boaters around you.