According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), fishing is the most popular activity, followed by tubing and water skiing, then cruising and sailing, and 95 percent of US boats are no larger than 26 feet.
- How many passengers will you carry?
- Do you need room for sports gear or cocktail hour?
- Will you want sleeping quarters for overnights?
- Are you anchoring at a favorite fishing spot?
The bigger the boat, the more expensive it can be to operate. Your annual expenses can easily exceed $10,000 when including:
- registration and insurance (average cost is $700)
- fuel costs (a three-hour cruise is generally $100)
- docking and storage (from $1.50 to $15 per foot/day depending on location)
- cleaning and treatment
- engine maintenance and repairs
- stocking your boat with gear, water skis, fire extinguishers, lifejackets, etc.
You will also need a truck and trailer to haul your boat. Larger vessels require permits or professionals to be transported.
You will have power options from outboard and sterndrive to inboard and jet boats, but maybe sails or paddles are more your style.
Consider new boat depreciation. The value of a used boat will level out after a year if it’s been kept in good condition. Proper maintenance and equipment improvements make the difference. When buying used boats, consult a professional mechanic or surveyor.
Start your search online with boat owner forums where you can chat with experts and enthusiasts like iboats.com. Visit a boat show to view models in person and discuss your wants and needs with dealers.
Gold, J., 2017. It’s Boating Season: How to Buy a Boat and Not Sink Your Budget, https://www.moneytalksnews.com/7-tips-for-buying-boat-without-sinking-your-finances/
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