There are so many options out there when it comes to boat styles, and each can only fit so many needs, that it has become harder and harder to pick just the right one. It’s amazing how much the industry has evolved and what it now offers us. So here are a few guidelines we recommend you follow when choosing the right boat for you:
This is a very important issue in boating and it should be your top concern at all times. First, think about what you’re planning to do with the boat and where you plan on using the boat. Are you going boating on a lake, a river or the ocean? Are you going to be bringing children with you? Could you potentially be out in rough seas? Are you going to trailer the boat? You need to pick a boat that is appropriately sized for what you wish to use it for and the conditions you could experience in the locations you expect to be boating. Which leads us to your first decision.
This is the hardest decision and let me start off by saying that there is not one boat that can perfectly fit all of your needs. This decision really all depends on what you wish to be able to do with your boat the most and hopefully just making it work for the rest. Do you like to fish,cruise, or maybe both? Do you want to be able to sleep on the boat overnight? Do you want an inboard, outboard, or a combination of the two in an inboard-outboard? A center-console is the popular choice for fishermen, as they allow you to move about the entire boat but this leaves you openly exposed to the weather/sun. A walk-around will offer you a cuddy cabin if case you want to be able to get out of the elements, but you have to give up some of your ability to move around. If you are just looking to cruise, you could go with a bowrider, sport cruiser with a cuddy cabin, or a full cabin cruiser that has all of the amenities. The decision depends heavily on if you want to be able to overnight on the boat. The bowrider is the most spacious and is a lot of fun, the sport cruiser offers you the protection of the cabin while still being a performance boat, and the cabin cruiser offer the most comfort but you usually give up some of the performance when making this choice due to the increase in overall weight. Once you get through this decision, the rest are a breeze.
This is an easy one. How many people do you plan on taking with you onboard? Think of how many of your family or friends you might be taking fishing or cruising. Obviously, the more people you wish to bring, the bigger the boat you are going to need and the more it will cost. If you are going to trailer the boat, you also needs to consider if your current vehicle can handle the weight of trailering the boat.
This is always a big debate, especially when young people are involved. There’s no doubt that it is fun to have a large engine or maybe even twin engines, but the bigger the engine, the higher the fuel consumption and maintenance fees. Are you willing to give up speed and performance for an economical ride or would you rather “pay to play”?
New or Used
A new boat is nice because, well, it is brand new and it comes with warranties that will protect you if you run into mechanical issues, but you should plan on keeping this boat for awhile as there is a very high rate of depreciation in the first couple years of ownership. Buying an older used boat can be a better deal, but now you are left without the protection of warranties and are at the risk of large expense if the boat does need repairs and I can tell you from experience it is not if, it is when.
All of these decisions translate into more or less money, so, while keeping in mind that safety comes first, you’ll have to prioritize the rest according to your needs and desires. Please also remember that buying the boat is only one part of your expense. There is also fees for the storage, insurance, maintenance, and repairs that are associated with ownership and these usually add up to more than your boat payment. I will cover these expenses more thoroughly in my next post.
Of course, if you’re not sure about which boat to pick or are second-guessing boat ownership, we can help you out. As a member of Freedom Boat Club, you will not need to buy a boat, as you will receive unlimited access of our entire fleet (variety of styles) which will allow you to pick a specific boat for each of your outings needs all for a fraction of owning just one. You will also not have to worry about the cleaning, maintenance, or storage costs as that is all included with your membership. FBC is your alternative to boat ownership. Your boat is waiting!