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tips-for-buying-boatBuying a boat will likely be one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. First-time buyers may be particularly overwhelmed with the information out there. Should I buy new or used? How much is too much for a particular model? Rest assured: in this post, we’ll cover some tips for buying a boat to help you make the best purchasing decision possible.

Have Baseline Prices in Mind

Just like buying a car, boat prices vary drastically depending on its type, model, condition and age. Nevertheless, having baseline prices in mind can help you gauge if a particular boat is a good deal or not. As a general rule of thumb for new boats:

  • Pontoon boat (22-foot): $35,000
  • Motorboat: $20,000
  • Cruiser (starting price): $100,000

Consider Used Boats

Everyone would love a brand new boat. Yet realistically, used boats are typically a better investment. With the right research, you can find a two to ten-year-old used boat with minimal issues at a drastically lower price.

Attend Boat Shows

While you should do as much boat research as possible on your own, don’t forget the importance of talking to experts. Boat shows are a great place to learn from experienced boat owners about the features, advantages, and drawbacks of different models. And don’t forget the sheer number of boats that are on display at boat shows—they’re a great place to start shopping!

Consider More Than the Price Tag

Remember that purchasing a boat is just the starting point. When putting together your boat budget, you need to include ongoing expenses, including:

  • Boat insurance (rates are an average 1.5 percent of the boat’s value)
  • Boat registration fees
  • State Taxes
  • Boat seasonal storage fees
  • Trailer
  • Gas
  • Safety and navigation equipment
  • Maintenance (expect to spend 10 percent of the boat’s value per year)