Boat Buying……..Where do you start?

As a long time boater, I have been lucky that every boat I’ve owned was fun and enjoyable. It may have been by accident that that my 4 purchases over the years were happy events…..however the wrong purchase could have been a financial nightmare for me, and a bad adventure for my family. For some boaters both the happiest day is the purchase, and then the day they sell it! Want to avoid this… more.

The time has arrived. You have made the move to SW Florida and our waterways, and your ready to buy a boat. What brand do I want? What style do I want? How big? What sized engine? What will I need for accessories and electronics? Do I buy new or used? Tough questions for a novice to boating, but solvable if you follow my outline.

STEP 1. Financing. If your pockets are deep and your paying cash…skip this paragraph. Just like any other major purchase, set a budget. Why look at a Cadillac, if you have a Chevy budget. You will need 3 budgets…purchase price/ financing cost, accessories costs, and maintenance/operating expenses. Put pen to paper on exactly how much money you need to allocate for each of the 3. Be honest with yourself!

STEP 2. Type of boating. Are you looking to to do back bay fish? Are you looking for a cabin cruiser or cocktail boat. Water skiing and tubing? Overniting, Gunkholing, Offshore adventures…..will you require a bathroom…you get the idea. Define the primary purpose of the boat.

STEP 3. What brand. Every boat manufacturer and retail boat dealership firmly believes their boats are the very best on the market. It is also easy to go above your price range, so be cautious when in a dealership looking at their products. When you go into a dealership tell them your top limit on any purchase and that it must be an “out the door” price. Brands are important, and the longer the manufacturer has been in business is big plus.Berts Bar Matlacha

STEP 4. Accessories you will need. Selecting the accessory equipment for your new boat can be like a kid going into a candy store. Don’t over buy for the type of boating your going to be doing. Also, don’t buy equipment that requires a PHD to understand the owners manual.

STEP 5. How to shop. Where to shop.  This is the fun part and also the learning part. You will need a notebook, pen, and possibly your camera. 1] Check out the local marina’s and walk the docks. Talk to owners you encounter about their thoughts about their boats. Boat owners are quick to tell you the pros and the cons about their vessel. Don’t be shy, ask the questions. While at the marina speak to any professional guides, netters, crabbers, about the best boat for these local waterways. 2] Go to boat shows, but leave your check book at home. The Ft. Lauderdale boat show is the largest in Florida, so plan on attending. Local boat shows are also great, so bring your notebook, and camera to get pictures of your favorites. Most boat shows offer tons of electronics as well, so that is where your notebook help…write down notes from what the sales people tell you about their products.tarpon point arial

In conclusion, do your research, stick to your budget, and no impulse buying. Another tip is to stay away from used boats, but if you think you have found a gem, make the sale contingent on a marine mechanic inspection. You will want the manufactures warranty and the dealers commitment to service. The last purchase before hitting the waters in your new boat is to buy a plastic chart showing the buoys, markers, hazards in your boating area.

Go boating……..!

TIP: If your a new boater to the area, consider joining the Cape Coral Power Squadron. With more than 500 members, they offer navigation courses, instrument orientation, and basic boating operations. Learn more at They cover all of the waterways, including Fort Myers.

By |2017-08-25T01:30:44+00:00August 23rd, 2016|Boating, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, News, Real Estate, Uncategorized|0 Comments

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