Buying a Boat: What You Should Know As a First Time Buyer

Are you thinking about buying your first boat? Shopping for a boat can make for both a long and intimidating process. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what you need to know as a first-time boat buyer.

A marina with boats along the Intracoastal Waterway at Edisto Island in South Carolina, USA.
A marina with boats along the Intracoastal Waterway at Edisto Island in South Carolina, USA. | Wolfgang Kaehler/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Choosing the right boat type as a first-time buyer

Much like with cars, there’s not one single type of boat. In reality, there are many different kinds of boats. As a first-time boat buyer, that means you’re going to have to figure out what the right boat for you is. 

To make such a choice, it’s important to understand what your options actually are. If you’re in the market for a boat to use with family and friends, Discover Boating suggests checking out several different types of boats, including bow-riders, deck boats, and even pontoon boats.

If you plan to do some fishing instead? An aluminum fishing boat or a bay boat might be a good fit for you. Other boat types you might want to consider whether you want to kick back and relax or spend the day fishing include cabin cruisers, center consoles, trawlers, and walkarounds.

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Deciding whether you should buy a new or used boat

In addition to deciding what type of boat is the best fit for you, you’re also going to have to decide whether to purchase a new or used boat. According to Scout Boats, there are plenty of advantages to buying a new boat. You’ll be able to choose the exact boat you want and can rest assured knowing that a warranty backs it. The downside, however, is that you’ll likely spend more buying a new boat.

The good news is that there are advantages to buying a used boat, too, Scout Boats reports. If you’re a first-time buyer that’s shopping with a tight budget in mind, purchasing a used boat could have you spending less than a new boat would. Unfortunately, the downside to purchasing a used boat is that you’ll have to deal with wear and tear from the boat’s previous owners.

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Finding the best place to buy a boat

As a first-time boat shopper, it’s important to purchase your boat from a trustworthy and reputable boat dealer. According to Discover Boating, doing so can benefit you in the long run. Much like with cars, boat dealers are highly familiar with the specific brands and types of boats they sell and service.

Besides being familiar with specific boat brands and types, Discover Boating reports that boat dealers can work with the manufacturer when it comes to warranty issues. You can also trust a reputable boat dealer to help you secure financing for your boat.

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Is buying a boat worth it?

Shopping for a boat can be intimidating, especially as a first-time buyer. But if you want the ability to get out on the water at a moment’s notice and enjoy all that boating has to offer? Then buying a boat may be worth it for you.