Buying a Boat FAQ's

What are the prices for a new boat?

Buying boats isn't as painful as you might think! Naturally, prices for new boats vary depending on size and make, but many boat manufacturers and dealers can put you in the captain's chair for considerably less than a monthly new-car payment. In fact, monthly payments for many entry-level boats can be less than $200.

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What is the best insurance coverage for my boat?

It is best to have what is known as an "All Risk" policy, which will provide coverage for all types of losses except those specifically excluded in the policy. Typical exclusions may include wear and tear, gradual deterioration, marring, denting, scratching, animal damage, manufacturer's defects, defects in design, and ice and freezing.

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Should I buy a certified boat?

Yes, be sure to look for a boat that's NMMA Certified. NMMA Certified boats meet all applicable U.S. Coast Guard regulations as well as the more comprehensive standards of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). Choosing boats with these certifications can greatly increase boater safety and guarantee boating fun every time you go out!

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Which type of boat is right for me?

One of the terrific things about boating is that there are boats designed for different activities. For many boaters, general purpose craft which serve as fish, ski and picnic boats are ideal.

To narrow down your search, ask yourself what the boat will be used for. Buying a sailboat can provide you with hours of relatively inexpensive fun; buying a house boat can offer a home away from home for long weekends, buying a jon boat enables you to spend hours hunting and fishing. Consider a boat good for family boating, like a family fishing boat — there's nothing like spending time on the water to bring everyone closer together. There is a boat that's right for you. Consult our Boat Selector tool to find the boat that's right for you.

Can I take a boat for a test drive?

Absolutely. Just as you would take a car for a test drive before buying, you also should not buy a boat without first testing it on the water. If you're new to boating, bring a marine surveyor or experienced friend along. It also helps to bring a checklist of inspection points and questions along with you as well.

See how the boat responds to variations in speed, turns, and wave angles. When taking a boat for a test drive, it's also important to make sure the engine was not warmed up prior to your arrival- and also make sure that you run the boat long enough to rule out any danger of overheating as well.

What should I look for when inspecting a boat?

Whether you're buying new or used, there are a variety of things to keep an eye out for when you buy a boat. An out-of-water inspection is also beneficial to check for any irregularities in the hull. In general, any boat inspection should include an in-depth examination of the following:

  • - Boat Engine
  • - Bilge
  • - Steering and throttle controls
  • - Electrical components
  • - Floors & Siding
  • - Propeller
  • - Deck Hardware
  • - Fuel Tanks
  • - Batteries
  • - Riggings, hardware, and sails
  • - Hull condition
  • - Propeller Shaft
  • - Upholstery

Additionally, if you are buying a boat that's used, you'll want to check for floor rot, mildew, number of boat hours logged, maintenance history, and also its storage history,

A general rule of thumb is that if you can use it, you should test it. If you're going to a buy a boat, you owe it to yourself to turn on those lights, test the heater, uncoil the ropes, open the hatch, check the steering, and raise the sails!

I think I need a professional to assist with my boat inspection. Who should I call?

There's so much to keep in mind when buying boats, which is why an independent marine surveyor can be a valuable boat buying resource. In fact, many banks and insurance agencies may already require that you obtain an assessment of a boat's condition from a qualified marine surveyor. Both the National Association of Marine Surveyors and the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors offer licensed professionals to help you evaluate a vessel's features and make an educated decision about how to buy a boat.

What are the most common mistakes that boat buyers make?

One of the primary mistakes that people make when they buy a boat is to simply buy the wrong kind of boat for their needs. A lot of this involves paying attention to the type of water you'll be boating on, as well as the climate. Write down what you primarily plan to use the boat for, as well as the average number of people you expect to have on board. Make sure the needs and preferences of your entire family are taken into consideration - don't buy a leisurely fishing boat if everyone else in your family is looking forward to waterskiing! Please visit our Boat Selector for help ensuring that you buy a boat that is right for your needs.

It's also important to take the time to do your research. The more knowledge you're able to gain about not only the general type of boat you're interested in, but also with regard to the particular boat you're about to buy, the happier you'll be with your purchase. Consult a boat buyer guide, conduct a thorough inspection of any vessel you're considering, and always choose quality over quantity or a flashy brand name.

It's also important to establish a comfortable, trusting relationship with the person you are buying your boat from, whether it's a dealership that knows to keep your individual needs in mind, or an individual you is offering a used boat through a newspaper ad. Both should be able to provide ready and knowledgeable answers to any questions that you may have.

When is the best time to buy a boat?

Boat shows are often a great opportunity to get special deals, rebates, and incentives on new boats. Boat shows occur all around the country and can serve as an excellent boat buying resource for comparing different models and brands. Boat shows also allow you to communicate directly with dealers as well as manufacturers. To find a boat show near you, please visit our boat shows calendar.

The winter months and late spring are also good times to consider a purchase, as many dealers are clearing out older inventory in order to make room for the new year's models.

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