Picking up pointers on how to buy a boat for beginners is key to getting the right watercraft for your maximum boating pleasure. There's a few things you need to think about to make sure you do exactly that.
- Know your price range. Although it sounds obvious, know how much you can afford to spend and stick there! It's so very easy to sneak up in price and the you'll end up being boat poor. Consider insurance into your budget also—as a beginner, for your first boat, insurance will probably be around $100 a year or less.
- Identify where you'll keep the boat. One of the first decisions you'll have to make as a beginner entails whether you will be trailering the boat or having a marina slip for it? You might find that, by keeping it in a marina, you'll use it more frequently. Add in the slip fees into your budget if you choose the marina option.
- Think about how you want to use the boat as a beginner. Will the boat be used to tow groups of people? This could factor into the engine size. Or, will the boat be used with just a few people for trolling (slow speed) fishing? If so, a more powerful engine might not be needed.
- Think about where you'll use the boat as a beginner. If the boat is going to be on the ocean, you need a sturdy, steady hull, such as a V-hull but, if you're living on a calm lake or pond, a pontoon boat may be just right for your first boat.
- Consider what type of cabin you want or need. If you're planning on mooring or anchoring out overnight, you'll need at least a cuddy cabin (basically, just a place to sleep) but, if overnighters are not in your plans, a center console boat will offer you more deck surface area on which to move.
- Take a Coast Guard certified safety course. Even beginners need to know the rules under which your state is guided. For instance, in some states, anyone who was born before 1973 must take a safety course or can be ticketed for piloting a boat on the water.