Buying a Boat: Things to Consider
If you're ready to spend long hours and weekends on the water this summer, you might be thinking more about purchasing a boat to help get your outdoor adventures started. South Carolina has an abundance of rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans making it a great place to own a boat. Plus, the weather is nice most of the year in South Carolina, so you'll have plenty of opportunities throughout the year to enjoy the water.
While proximity to water and the weather are things to consider when it comes to owning a boat, there are many other factors you'll also want to consider. A potential buyer has to consider everything from the type and size of the boat they want to where it will be stored along with factoring in the overall expense and responsibility that comes along with owning a boat. To help you out, we’ve put together a few things you'll want to consider throughout the boat buying process.
Decide on the type of boat.
Do your homework to find out what type of boat will best fit your needs. As you research your options, you’ll want to keep these things in mind. How do you plan to use the boat? Do you want a cruising, watersports, or fishing boat? Do you want to purchase a new or used boat? Also, consider the bodies of water where you plan to use your boat. Will you spend your time on the lake, ocean, or river? The body of water you plan to go on will have an impact on the type of boat you select. What size boat do you want? How many people do you plan to have on the boat at one time?
If you’re still unsure after you’ve done your research, contact a local boat dealer or attend boat shows so you can ask questions.
Create a budget.
After you’ve done your research and know what you want, you'll need to review your budget to determine how much you can afford. Owning a boat could be a large financial commitment. There are many costs and fees associated with owning a boat such as storage, gas, insurance, taxes, and registration fees. Other expenses to consider are safety equipment, fishing gear, a trailer for transporting the boat, and rental fees for storing the boat.
Don’t forget maintenance. Just like cars and trucks, your boat will need regular maintenance and repairs to keep it in good running condition.
Should I buy new or used?
Once you’ve reviewed your budget and know how much you can afford, it's a good time to decide if you should buy new or used. Buying a new boat may give you peace of mind because of the warranties and service included with your purchase. However, if the cost of a new boat will put a strain on your budget, you might want to consider a used boat. You'll also want to consider the depreciation on a new boat. Just like a new car depreciates in value as soon as you take it off the lot, so does a boat.
While a used boat might work better for your budget, you'll be dealing with more wear and tear on a used boat which could lead to an increase in maintenance expenses. Before you buy, have a professional inspect the boat's engine, belts, seats, check for cracks and leaks, look for mildew, and check the electrical system to ensure it’s running properly.
Where will you store your boat?
Are you going to use outdoor or indoor storage or are you going to store it on your own property? Finding storage will depend on the type of boat you have. You may have space in your garage or on your property. If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, you may want to check with the association guidelines to make sure your boat is allowed to be stored on your property. If you’re storing your boat at a marina or other storage facility, you’ll have to factor in storage costs/fees in your budget.
Consider the cost of regular maintenance.
If you want to keep your boat in good condition, you’ll want to get it serviced on a regular basis. Create a maintenance schedule to help you keep track of the services needed. The maintenance schedule may include changing the oil, checking the belts, inspecting the propeller, checking for leaks, and washing the boat.
Research your financing options.
If you’re like most people, you’ll need financing to help purchase your boat. Financing a boat is similar to financing a car. You take out a loan for the amount of the boat, and you pay it back with interest over time.
Many financial institutions offer boat loans with different terms and interest rates. It's important to do your research to find the best financing option that meets your needs. At AllSouth, we offer competitive rates and flexible terms on Boat Loans. When choosing financing options, always consider your budget and how much you can comfortably afford.
Are you ready to enjoy long summer days relaxing and having fun on the water in your new boat? With the boating and summer seasons right around the corner, now may be a good time to purchase a boat. If boat ownership is part of your summer plans, you can make it happen. Just be sure you know what you want and consider all the costs associated with owning a boat to avoid drowning financially.
For more information about boating, check out your local Department of Natural Resources.