3 Tips For Buying A Boat On A Budget

Boat ownership is often portrayed as a status symbol, which can lead you to believe that owning a boat is out of the question for an ordinary person on an ordinary budget. But the truth is, you probably can afford a boat if you want one. You just need to know how to choose and finance a boat on a budget that you can afford. It's easier than you might think. Take a look at some tips that will help you buy a boat on a budget.

Choose a Boat That Fits Your Needs

There are a lot of boats out there that range from very expensive to very affordable. The best way to get the most for your dollar when you buy a boat is to determine what you're going to use the boat for, and then buy the most affordable boat that meets that need. A boat that's cheap but doesn't have the features that you wanted a boat for in the first place isn't a very good use of your money, and there's no point in paying extra for features that you don't plan to use.

How do you know what kind of boat you need? The activities that you plan on using the boat for are a good starting place. You need a different kind of boat for freshwater fishing than for sailing on the open ocean, for example. To further narrow it down, think about how many people you want to fit in your boat, how big a boat you want, what type of engine you're interested in, and whether you plan to dock your boat in a marina or put in on a trailer to take it from place to place. You can use an interactive guide online to fill in your preferences and help narrow down the possibilities until you find the boat that's right for you.

Consider Both New and Used

Opting for a used boat might feel like a no-brainer if you're on a tight budget, but it's worth taking a look at both new and used boats. The benefits of buying a pre-owned boat should be pretty clear. They cost less, they'll probably be cheaper to insure, and a pre-owned boat will have already been through the greatest period of depreciation.

However, it's worth taking a look at new boats while you're shopping as well. As with used cars, a used boat could be reliable, or you could be buying someone else's headaches. A boat that hasn't been well-maintained and cared for might be more trouble than it's worth, and may cost more than you want to spend in repairs. And if you can find a good financing deal, a new boat may be more affordable than you previously thought. There's no hard-and-fast rule here – check out deals on both new and pre-owned boats and make your decision based on what's available.

Shop Around

Don't limit yourself to only one kind of venue when it comes to buying a boat. While many people believe that boat shows are the best places to find deals on a boat, that's not always the case. Consider that dealers at boat shows have to pay to transport the boats that they're showing and rent the space to display them, and those costs are built into the prices available to you. You may find better deals at a dealership that isn't paying extra costs to display the boats at a show.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't attend boat shows. If nothing else, a boat show gives you the opportunity to board a lot of different boats and talk to a lot of people who are knowledgeable about boats, and that can help you refine your own search and better understand what you should be looking for. And it is possible to find great deals at a boat show, especially on the last day when dealers are most anxious to sell.

Take your time. Visit boat shows and dealerships, and don't forget to look online as well. Give yourself as many different options as you can and you'll be more likely to find a price that fits your budget.

Boat ownership doesn't have to be out of reach for an ordinary person. Don't give up your dream of owning a boat – take steps to make that dream come true.