How Much Should You Spend on Your First Boat (Worth A Debate!)

How much should you spend on your first boat

Have you decided on getting your first boat? How much should you spend on your first boat? If so, then here’s something you need to think about before heading to the shop. It is always important to know the purpose of your boat and how you’re going to use it.

This will give you an idea of which to choose that will best fit your needs. A little research about the model, features, and pricing will come in handy before making your way to the cashier.

What to Consider for the boat ownership

What to Consider for the boat ownership

Have you now thought about how much should you spend on your first boat? Having your vessel provides ample opportunities to make great and lasting memories with your family and friends.

Just like your car, where you can go on an unforgettable road trip that can reminisce for years to come, having your boat can charter you to areas of the water that you might be seeing for the first time and will be appreciated for a lifetime.

Just like a car too, you can even join a boat show to show your boat off.

Being a boat owner can give you the freedom to choose where to explore all year round.  Whether you consider yourself a boat person, since you already have a lot of sea and sailing skills experience with your boat, perhaps you want to upgrade or sell off your current boat and buy a new one, or you are a person who is going to buy his very first boat, then this article might just be what you need.

This will give you basic questions that you can ask yourself before making the final decision of what boat to choose and bring home with you and how much boat price will you be willing to pay.

There are two ways to enjoy your vessel without even worrying how much should you spend on your first boat. One is when you are having a time of your life thinking about the possibilities and endless adventures that you can make with your family and friends when you have your boat.

The second one is when you already have the boat and are not able to see the reality that owning one might entail unforeseen logistic and budgetary issues. 

After all, owning a personal watercraft, just like a car, means you have to be responsible enough for its maintenance and upkeep. This reality check will help you make the right decisions regarding your choice of vessel and the responsibilities that will follow it.  

It’s a myth when you hear that there is a small boat size out there that can surpass all other boats.  

Beginners Guide to finally becoming boat owners

Beginners Guide to finally becoming boat owners

Are you getting worried about how much should you spend on your first boat? Starting on any endeavor can be daunting at times and thinking of buying one is no exception.  There are many available types and sizes to choose from, and the price ranges that come with more boat features are so attractive that you want to buy one right away. 

Before you make a decision, try to check your preferences, where you will be using the vessel, and the activities you want to do with it.  You have to determine the exact craft that can cater to your needs so that owning one will be less strenuous and more enjoyable.

Choosing the right type of boat accordingly

What kind of lifestyle do boat owners have? Boat ownership and a boating lifestyle mean having chosen the craft that meets your needs. It also includes deciding whether to buy a pre-owned vessel or a new one according to your budget. 

The consideration for size and type is also another factor to consider. Just how many people you will be accommodating on board can help factor out the length and size of your vessel choice. 

Should you use a trailer to carry your vessel while on land, keep in mind that the size and type of boat will matter on this and also the type of vehicle that will tow it. Where to keep your vessel when not in use can also be a deciding factor that you need to weigh in before finalizing your boat purchase.

How much is your budget?

Have you already set your pontoon boat budget? Or are you still looking at buying a used boat? When you have already decided upon the type of vessel you want to have, check on the price tags attached to these boats. You might be surprised that there are available boats that can fit your budget including a bigger size boat, medium boat size, and a smaller boat.

Practical considerations in terms of purchasing a used boat and a brand new boat will come into the picture. Getting a new vessel that is fresh from the factory and has a warranty is free from problems.

Should there be an issue that will arise from your new vessel, the warranty will take care of it as well as the boat insurance. If you have limited experience with repairs and winter maintenance, a new vessel is a better choice for you.

Choosing a pre-owned vessel, however, can help stretch the budget including the monthly payment should you seek a loan from marine lenders. You can save a significant amount of money as compared to getting a new one. You just need to have it thoroughly checked to ensure its dependability that is at par with the purchase price.

Getting ready for vessel shopping

Have you now decided to buy a vessel? Online shopping for different vessels can be a reliable way to check out the different brands and features of your chosen boat type before the start of the boating season.

This can also narrow your search even down to an older boat model. Don’t forget to check on boats’ forums and online reviews to get more reliable information regarding your vessel.

You may also ask your friends who own vessels about their experience and use their firsthand knowledge when you have to deal with the dealership later. Going to showrooms to have the touch and see experience is a must. 

Working with a dealer can also make vessel buying simple and easy. The quality and location of the dealership is also an important factor to consider when you finalized your boat purchase.

Conducting thorough boat inspection

Did you ever think about repair costs for your boat and its maintenance? When you have narrowed down your choices to one particular one, you should inspect its major components like engine, propeller, steering system, bilge, electrical components, and fuel tank before buying a boat.

Tests drive the vessel if possible while checking on its horsepower. You can also engage the help of an independent marine surveyor who can accompany you to inspect it from top to bottom so you will be able to know its condition before buying a vessel.

Getting the deal inked

Are you ready to ink the deal? Before you sign on the dotted line, take time to know all processes when buying a boat including how much monthly payment you’re going to need. The sticker price may not contain exactly what you need to pay for in total.

These additional costs may be in the form of dealer’s fees, registration, insurance, accessories, storage, and upkeep. These should be discussed with your dealer so you can get the total picture of your investment and avoid surprises later. 

Ask your dealer exactly what accessories come with the boat price and those that need to be paid separately. Safety kits are often included with the purchase but other accessories for your boat-related activity may not be part of the purchase.

Are you planning to buy a new boat or an older one?

Are you planning to buy a new boat or an older one?

Have you made up your mind about a brand new vessel? Are you going for a larger boat? Boats that have a guarantee from the boat handling dealership can be the safest choice that you can make. This might cost more than the one that you might be considering and the price difference will give the second-hand boat an edge to your decision-making.

Imagine yourself miles away from everyone with your second-hand vessel and the one engine you trusted the most that can bring you home safely suddenly came to a halt and won’t start.

No engine means no radio and no power, what you have is a dead battery. Being at the mercy of the waves and getting help from some good samaritan that might pass by will be your only chance of getting to the safety course.

This worst-case scenario has happened to other people so, don’t make it happen to you. You might think you hit the jackpot and you already save money when buying a second-hand vessel that is “slightly used” with only a few hundred hours on its engine.

It works just fine during the start of the season but was not able to make it till the seasons’ end because the maintenance of the engine was deferred for quite a long time since it was not used.

Learning more about Annual Maintenance

The rule of the thumb in boat annual maintenance cost will be around ten percent of your boats’ total value. This is applicable to brand new boats, a five-year-old or a thirty-year-old boat, and all used boats.  All of these boats have and must have annual maintenance to function properly. 

Depending on the issues that can arise, minimal work will be done for a well-maintained vessel or a major overhaul can be the verdict where you can spend up to 20 to 30 percent of your boats’ total value for the replacement of its engine, some major painting job, or fiberglass upgrade.

You also have to check the mechanical, water electrical system as well as the heat and air conditioning to have a fully functional boat at your own maintenance expense. Think of the maintenance cost money as making your floating house more sturdy and safe.

Until when do you plan to keep this boat?

When you buy a boat, you are probably thinking that this will be a perfect vessel to use with your family and friends especially when you see its features that are ideal at the present. The following boat season, you realize it’s the wrong boat for you. You don’t need those features or you need more than what your vessel has. 

Remember that buying a vessel will have depreciating value as time goes by. Before purchasing one, think further and picture yourself using the same vessel with friends and families for 2 to 3 years. Better yet, buy a boat that can serve your purpose for 5 to 10 years before foregoing ownership. Owning a boat means buying something that can meet your needs for years to come.

Taking your boat out on the waters

When you purchase a vessel, where do you plan to use it? Check if the vessel you have in your sights can be suitable for the kind of water you plan to explore. There are different kinds of vessels available on the market that can be used for diverse kinds of activities in different areas of the water.

There’s the fishing boat that is built to withstand harsh water conditions and can venture across various waterways. Deck boats can seat small groups of passengers and can withstand rough choppy waters if they have a V-hull. Your vessel of choice should be suitable for the area of water you plan to use often.  

Your pontoon boat needs a home

Do you know that your perfect boat needs a home too? Your vessel needs a place where you can safely keep it when not in use. Just like your car, it also needs its garage. Do you want to slip or trailer your vessel? Keep its mooring in a marina?

Is your house near the coast where you can easily keep your boat in a boat shed and trail it?  In a marina,  slip fees cost around $150 to $250 per foot plus power and water fees. This is for the single parking space for your vessel. Getting a slip for your boat should be done early, like midsummer since most marinas are full by the time fall arrives and can no longer accommodate your vessel. 

Mooring can be another option but can have a long waiting list. Some take years before they can have their town slip. Trailing your vessel means having an extra yard area that can accommodate your vessel and its trailer.

Tools, safety gears, and spares should be readily available to ensure safe trailering.  You need a vehicle to tow both the vessel and trailer.

Expect that along the way, there can be little accidents that can pop up like frozen brakes, inoperable trailer lights, or blown tires to name a few.  Plan ahead where to keep your boat to make the purchase worthwhile.

Do you have Winter Storage for pontoon boats?

Did you know that after buying a boat, you need storage too? Your vessel needs to be winterized to protect it from the rough elements. This is a challenge that can arise every winter season. Where do you plan to store your boat during winter?

If your boat is in the marina, are you going to store it inside or outside? If you have a storage area in your house, you need to prep your boat well ahead before winter. You have to thoroughly rinse and flush the outside of your vessel and also the trailer to remove traces of saltwater that can corrode them. 

Fuel tanks need to be top off and added with a fuel stabilizer to prevent condensation and the fuel from going stale during storage. You need to check your batteries, cover your boat securely, and other safety measures that can help preserve your boat to be fully functional during the summer.

Keeping your boat well maintained

Your boat needs to have a good yard and maintenance mechanic that can do basic and major projects on it. When you buy your boat, plan well ahead by thinking about how you are going to protect and improve this kind of investment. Knowing and cultivating friendship with mechanics can be a good investment too. This can foster not only friendship but trust that can well pave the way to have the help you need when the time comes. 

A winter job of keeping your boat well protected can be done by these professionals; they go through the entirety of your boat, identify and address the issues that may arise in the future. A positive relationship with these people will help your call get answered quickly and help can be scheduled as soon as possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions About How Much You Should Spend on Your First Boat

Frequently Asked Questions About How Much You Should Spend on Your First Boat

How much should I spend on my first boat?

Are you ready for satisfaction when you experience boating ? Given this is the first time you will purchase a boat and haven’t done any boat shopping before, you will be surprised to discover that there are more boats that your budget can fit in nicely than previously thought of.

Since you are jumping into the boating world, the first consideration you can make is the type of boat you want to have. These starter vessels can be in the form of dinghies, aluminum boats for fishing, pontoon boats, fish-and-ski boats, and bowriders.

Whatever boat you choose can have the guaranteed possibility of having great family connections, and lots of memories and fun.  

The first thing that you need to consider is to understand how often and where you are going to use your boat? You need a boat that can fit your needs and you can enjoy with. 

The second consideration is how large should it be. Think about if you need a larger boat then this is where fuel costs come in. Of course, a bigger boat would also require more fuel costs.

There are considerations to check if you can handle a large boat or a medium-sized one. Controlling the boat can be challenging on the water, much less than trying to dock it after use.

The third consideration is the probable number of passengers you want to carry with you. Smaller boats can limit your numbers while having a larger one can accommodate more people and can handle choppy waters better.

The last consideration is your budget.  Staying within your budget can mean less stress and have plenty of room to enjoy your new boat. For example, if you’re going to get a sailboat then you also have to consider what sailboats require.

Meanwhile, financial situations differ for each person. Some can spend less than $10000 and some can have as much as $50000 to splurge on a boat, you need to check the features of the boat and work your way on your budget.

But be aware that vessels that are sold through a dealership can be advantageous since they tend to be maintained well enough before they are put on the lot. The confidence that you are using a well-maintained and safe boat can help you enjoy the wide vast open waters later on.

How much does a decent boat cost?

Different types of boats available have their standard price range. These include those that can be used in a boat show. Some of these decent boats are as follows:

  • Jon boat price ranges between $500  and $ 3000
  • The catamaran can start at $10000
  • Pontoon Boat and Bow Rider boats range from $15000 to $50000
  • Deck Boats ranges between $20000 to $50000
  • Fishing boats can cost between $25000 and $100000
  • Speed boats start at $75000
  • Cuddy Cabin boats start at $50000

These standard price ranges can be your scale to check on the different boat options available for sale. You also have to check whether the boat comes with the accessories and features that you need.

Boats may come with basic features and you need to add in the accessories you need, or they can come fully loaded with all features available. Given the boat, features can make choosing difficult for you.

However try to check the type of boat you have in mind, when and where you will be using the boat, will this boat be a family boat or s sports boat. Your experience in handling a boat should also be considered and your personal preferences and priorities.

How much can I afford to spend on a boat?

Boat payment can be done in cash or you can get a loan. If you have saved enough money to buy in case you also need to have the extra money for its maintenance. If you buy a boat by loan, you have to keep tabs on your other monthly expenses.

The rule of the thumb in boat loaning is that your boat payment should be 5-10 percent less than your monthly income.  Boat owners need to understand that there is more than just buying a boat and enjoying its perks. Also, don’t forget that you need a tow vehicle to tow your boat for storage.

The responsibility of owning a boat comes with maintenance costs in the form of:

  • Annual taxes
  • Annual boat insurance
  • Registration
  • Mooring or docking fees
  • Winter storage
  • Gas
  • Boat Maintenance

Boat financing and loans may come in 10 to 15 years of payment. There is also a 20-year boat loan available. Just like a car, a boats’ value and warranty depreciate as soon as it is used. Well-maintained boats can keep their significant value up, Since maintenance is a must to keep your boat safe with you and your friends on it, better not skip this part of boat ownership responsibilities.  

How much should I pay for a new boat?

Are you using the boat for a boat show? Or is it just for personal use? Deciding to buy your boat’s purchase price is a personal decision that you can make. 

After weighing the pros and cons and being able to check your capacity to pay whether in cash or through loans, having even just a used boat can change the gameplay on the water with your family and friends.

The joy of sailing and spending quality time with the people you love can be one of the deciding factors to consider having a boat. Being more responsible in dealing with your finances and the maintenance and upkeep of your latest addition will mean keeping tabs on your spending.  

Are you ready for a boat ride?

Are you ready for a boat ride?

Buying a reliable boat that you need and can afford will make the effort worthwhile.  Some people keen on boating advised ensuring boating safety using a boat that is ideally perfect for you and sail it as soon as you can. 

Being on the water and enjoying the breeze should be the boating experience you need. Looking for the perfect boat is a myth and finding the one can take years of indecision. After all, you can always maintain the vessel that you have to be able to sell it faster after a year or two when your wants and needs just got better.

To widen your boat choice horizon, attend some available boat shows in your area. This is already a kind of vessel shopping and getting information on the type, price, and discounts given by different dealerships. 

Here, you will also learn about different safety equipment that should be on board your boat. Most dealers will include safety gear along with a boat sale.

You should be clear on how the vessel will be delivered after the purchase. Knowing about maintenance and repairs and what to do when the time comes can be discussed. It’s never too early to get the information about your boats’ first-year maintenance.

Also, ask for a reliable boater-education course where you can learn the basics of seamanship and increase your confidence in handling your boat. Some insurance can even give discounts depending on your ability or skills in handling a boat.

You finally got your vessel of choice, whether it’s a used one or a brand new sailboat, now the time has come to enjoy your purchase. Have fun on the water and create great memories in the months and years to come.

Fun can be maintained when you keep your boat in good shape even by just regular wash and wax before its scheduled maintenance.

Making yourself knowledgeable by attending vessel programs that are offered by your local dealers can expand your horizon. This is also a good way to meet people who have a lifelong passion for boats and often go during boating season. It will also be a good start to be able to forge a friendship and share experiences.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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