Boating Basics: Buying Your First Boat
When it comes to boating, we’ve all heard the saying: “Boats are holes in the water into which you throw money.” Another popular boating expression is: “The happiest days of a boat owner’s life are the day that they buy the boat, and the day that they sell it.” Perhaps those who believe both of these sayings have never owned a boat, or haven’t been seduced by the lure of the waterways or the open seas.
Whatever your budget and level of boat owning ambition – whether you’re thinking of a dinghy, a fishing vessel or a glamorous yacht, there’s sure to be a boat that’s got your name on it. But before you take the plunge and start your love affair with the water, there are some important considerations to ponder. Start by making a checklist to help you make the right choice. It should include important factors, such as how you plan to use your boat, where you want to use it and the condition you want it to be in at the time of purchase.
Fishing, Sporting or Daydreaming?
The first question to ask yourself is what do you want to do with your boat? Do you want to use it to fish, water-ski or simply cruise around on calm waters? It is vitally important to think about how you intend to use your boat, and then you can conduct thorough research into the types of boats that suit your purpose. There are many different types and sizes of vessels that are appropriate for fishing, such as a Sedan Bridge boat or a multi-hulled cruiser. If you’re not sure what type of boat to buy, ask your local boating association for advice. Your questions will often get an enthusiastic and helpful response.
Another important aspect to consider is the number of passengers you intend to take on board the boat. Remember to check its maximum carrying capacity and clarify if the amenities are suitable. Keep in mind that larger vessels are usually more expensive to buy and run, as they consume more fuel than smaller vessels.
Open Seas or Calm Waters?
Do you want to take your boat into the open seas or remain in calm inland waters? This is a fundamental question that’s vitally important to your purchase. Be certain to find out if your boat is suitable for the kind of waters you want to sail. Many areas of Australia have treacherous seas and changeable weather patterns, so check to make sure your boat is large enough and strong enough to stand up to dangerous or unpredictable weather conditions.
Whether you want to sail your boat over the open seas or on smooth waters, think about buying a boat with inbuilt buoyancy. This feature helps the boat stay afloat even when it’s filled with water, so passengers will be able to stay aboard in an emergency to can wait for rescue personnel to arrive and assist them.
Brand New or Second Hand?
Australian boat manufacturers range from small backyard operations to large, well-known businesses. Several second-hand dealers, overseas manufacturers and private sellers also sell boats in Australia. You should buy your boat from a recognised boat builder or seller who can help you obtain the right vessel for your particular needs. If you buy what is known as a “production boat,” which is built by a reputable boat builder, it will be easier to sell your boat when you want to trade it in for another one.
Before You Shell Out Any Cash…
Before parting with any cash, it’s strongly advised that you conduct enquiries and background checks on the paperwork and the general history of the boat you wish to buy. Be sure to obtain a report on the boat’s condition from an independent expert. You can get a Marine Survey and Valuation Report from an accredited marine surveyor, which contains comprehensive details of all the inspections that have been carried out. You should also be present at the boat inspection with the surveyor when they perform it, so you can ensure they inspect the boat thoroughly. Be sure to ask any questions that come to mind during the inspection process.
Be Safe Not Sorry
Make sure you have a valid boating licence and that you have the skills and experience necessary to operate a boat. Boat owners are required by law to keep their boats safe, so this is essential, especially if you want to buy a large boat and carry lots of passengers. If you are a complete novice, a small investment in some basic safety training and a few lessons on boat management and handling is well worth your time.
Once you’ve completed your purchase, you need to purchase comprehensive boat insurance coverage. It should insure the boat for theft, accidental loss and damage caused by third parties.
If you follow these basic but important steps – considering how, where and why you want to buy your boat, you’ll be more likely to find a boat that’s perfect for you. Learning boating safety and skills, and insuring it properly will give both you and your passengers the peace of mind to enjoy yourselves on the waterways.
Joanne Lemke is a final year creative writing student at UOW, who is looking to break into the corporate copywriting space once she graduates and hopefully go on to eventually some day write a book around her other passions, namely cooking and travel.