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Bianca Hopes "The B" Group

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Frank Pruett
Frank Pruett

How To Buy A Boat

Editor's Note: Thinking about buying a boat? The process for buying a boat during the COVID-19 pandemic raises a lot of questions for prospective boat buyers. Learn more in our Special Edition Boat Shopping Guide that will address those questions involving safety concerns, tips on working with a boat dealer while social distancing, and how to schedule appointments, sea trials and drop-offs.

how to buy a boat

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Now that you have decided to embrace the boating lifestyle, you'll want to establish a budget so you can start building and prioritizing your wish list. That budget will likely be a key factor in the decision to buy a new or pre-owned boat. Either way, the considerations for size and type of boat will be the same.

Not unlike car buying, there are often a few additional costs not listed on the sticker price. Dealer fees, insurance, registration, accessories, storage and upkeep should all be discussed with the dealer early in your shopping to determine the full cost of boat ownership and to avoid surprises later.

And before you depart on your first outing, find out where you can take a boater-education course. Learning basic seamanship skills and absorbing some local knowledge will give you a greater confidence level once you hit the water. Completion of boater-education courses might also get you a discount on your insurance.

Finally, it's time to enjoy your purchase. Get out on the water and have fun, not just in the immediate future but in the months and years to follow. One key component of that fun is regular maintenance to keep your boat in tiptop running condition, from a regular wash and wax to scheduled maintenance. Another is to expand your boating knowledge, whether through one of many fun programs offered by local dealers or an online resource.

Boats with displacement hulls have a bottom hull that remains low in the water at all speeds. Displacement hulls are usually on slower boats such as large sailboats, big trawlers and cruise ships. They are among the most stable boats on the water, and thus ideal for bluewater cruisers and long distance ocean crossings. Ironically, some small round bottom boats such as canoes and small day sailboats have displacement hulls that move easily through the water, but may tend to roll easily.

As the name implies, these hull shapes lie somewhere in between displacement and planing with a hull that mostly stays in the water but benefits from lift at higher speeds. Among the best known semi-displacement hull boats are the famous Maine lobster boats. Many motor yachts and trawlers will also use semi-displacement hulls, as they can offer the best of both worlds in many ways. Although they are not necessarily designed to cross open oceans, they tend to handle seas well enough to do so and they have the added benefit of being able to achieve higher speeds when needed, but also operate as a displacement hull at lower speeds, making them efficient.

In addition to the above categories, there are multi-hulled boats as well. Multi-hulled vessels can either be planing hulls or displacement hulls, and are generally some of the most stable hulls on the water. Popular multi-hull designs include catamaran boats (both power and sail), trimarans and pontoon boats. If casual entertaining on calm waters is your thing you may want to take a look at pontoon boats for sale. If serious offshore fishing tournaments are the order of the day, check out high performance catamarans.

Finally many boat owners will want to consider power and torque vs. speed when choosing an engine for their boat. Power and torque are two strengths of diesel inboards over outboards. And while there are some very fast turbo-diesel inboard boats, speed is generally the domain of gas outboards, as we mentioned above. Below 30 feet, particularly if you have draft limitations or expect to keep the boat on a trailer, outboards are the typical choice. Above that, inboards can be a good choice, although some of the biggest center console boats in the world and some of the newer outboard powered cruisers are beginning to change that old standard. Still boats over 80 feet will never have outboard engines, as they are simply too big and have too deep of a draft.

Used boats can also be attractive when you have a particular model in mind, but the dealers are out of inventory, or the manufacturer has stopped making that model for some reason. In some cases, a beloved boat builder goes out of business, and the boats they have built in the past actually increase in value as they are harder to acquire.

Above: Hiring a professional boat surveyor is a requisite part of any boat purchase, especially boats over 15-20 feet, as they become more complicated with more onboard systems, maintenance and safety issues to consider. Photo by philipimage on Pond5.

Follow our seven tips to make sure that you start on the right page, and finish the chapter to enable you to move onto a new one. Here are seven things to consider when interacting with potential boat sellers.

If you have the option, find an experienced captain to take you out a few times and show you the ropes. This is the best way to go. You will find some of the most complicated and difficult things about boating is docking, knowing the waters, and remaining cool, calm and collected during your adventures. Being confident and not panicking is extremely important when driving a boat. Just like with anything, this will come to you naturally with practice.

You can catch your dinner then go grill it on a private island with just you and your friends. These are the types of memories and days that you will always treasure because you are a boat owner. No amount of research will beat your experience out on the water. So buy your boat, go explore and experience all that boat life has to offer.

Tatjana Chahine is USCG-licensed boat captain and writer who regularly contributes to, YachtWorld and Boat Trader. Originally from Los Angeles, California, she now resides in Nassau, Bahamas where she operates a Bahamas boat charter and excursion company that helps tourists visit the 700 islands & cays and experience the local culture. Bahamian-owned, the company partners with Bahamians for custom-tailored, guided tours and supports local businesses and community building efforts.

They're experienced. Plus, they're bonded and state-licensed professionals who specialize in this business. They also have instant access to statewide, national and even international networks of boat owners and brokers with boats to sell.

Whether you're going to sail the open ocean, fish your favorite coves or chart a course to your dream retirement-buying a boat is the adventure of a lifetime. You can find many exceptional values in used boats-they can be affordable, seaworthy, well built, well maintained. To make sure you get years of pleasure and adventure out of your used boat, buy smart.

The seller has accepted your offer on a boat. You've lined up your financing. Now it's time for a sea trial to see how this boat handles and performs in the water. The seller usually provides the sea trial. Your broker will usually go with you on the sea trial to answer your questions. A survey is your opportunity to find out any problems, see if everything works properly and determine the boat's condition. Buyers pay for the surveys and for hauling the boat out of the water for inspection. If an unforeseen problem shows up during the survey, you might be able to negotiate it into the final price. Use a marine surveyor and marine mechanicDon't necessarily use a surveyor the seller has recommended-and don't rely on a survey report from the seller. The report might have been written before certain problems turned up in the boat. Always use an independent surveyor and always survey the boat in and out of the water. Marine surveyors inspect the boat in your interest and the interests of your lender and insurance company Often your lender will designate a marine surveyor, and brokers have lists of marine surveyors approved by lenders and marine insurance companies. You can also find marine surveyors by calling the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) at 1-800 344-9077, and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) at 1-800 822-6267. One word of caution-California has no occupational licensing standards for marine surveyors. You should also ask an independent marine mechanic to inspect the engine. Be there at the boat survey We recommend that you attend the survey to learn firsthand what condition the boat is in. It's the best time to ask the surveyor questions. What to do with your sea trial and survey results One big reason for the survey is to find out the current condition and market value of the boat you want to buy. If the results reveal flaws and problems, the sea trial and survey may give you the opportunity to back out of a contract without penalty-or to negotiate repairs on the boat. But be advised: If you're buying boat at rock-bottom price, or if the seller is in distress and is selling for below his market price, the sea trial and survey will not give you leverage to negotiate. The seller might not have funds for repairs and is selling as is, where is. The seller may insist that you pay any repair costs. Your broker usually gives copies of the survey report to your lender and insurance carrier for their review. They'll want to know:

A description of the boat and engine (if it's outboard powered), including the make, model, year, Hull Identification Number and (outboard) engine serial numbers. You can get the equipment list from the survey and the written specification sheet from your broker. This should include:

If your boat is documented with the U.S. Coast Guard, a Documentation Service will transfer the title. You pay the cost and coordinate it with your lender. If you don't have o lender, your broker will refer you to a Documentation Service business. 041b061a72


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