Buying a New Boat: Managing Wants & Needs

When you’re preparing to buy a new boat, you have plenty of factors to consider before making that big investment, and you need to balance your wants with your needs. 

Boat buying wants and needs

Buying a boat is an investment of not just money, but also time and energy. But money is the biggest factor to consider, and the average boat buyer goes in with a set budget. Some first-time buyers just want something small to start with; others may be turning over the proceeds from the sale of a boat into something new. 

With a budget in mind, buying a boat typically comes with a series of tradeoffs. Specifically, what you really want versus what you really need may conflict with how much money you have to invest. Here are some things to consider when it comes to the wants and needs of buying a boat.

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What Do You Want in a Boat?

What size boat and engine do you want? Which deck layout and features do you seek? Are you looking for a ski boat, a cruiser or a fishing boat? A pontoon, perhaps? 

Boat buying wants

There are all sorts or questions to mull over. A good starting point is to ask yourself the bare essentials of what want your boat to do, and then build from there. You may have expectations that might exceed your budget, but having a wish list helps ensure you won’t end up with less boat than what you really wanted.

What Do You Need in a Boat?

Once you know what you want in a boat, determine what you need from it. Be realistic about what you plan on doing with your boat. Will you use it for watersports or fishing, or just for cruising? What weight capacity do you need for passengers and cargo? Do you need a special type of boat for specific marine conditions?

Boat buying needs

Once you figure out what you need from your boat, you can make tradeoffs. For example, you may want a speedboat with more horsepower and speed, but if you’re a weekend cruiser with a large family, you may need a pontoon boat instead. Or you may want something capable of handling the conditions of the seas, but if you’re mostly doing freshwater fishing, you may need a flatter-bottomed hull to get you in close to shore.

Whatever your wants and needs are for buying a boat, develop your wish list first, and then use your budget to figure out what tradeoffs you’re willing to make between wants and needs, if any. A little brainstorming goes a long way in bringing you the right boat rather than getting stuck with the wrong one.




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