Buying your first boat

boat buying

Boat Buying

Choosing the right boat may be easier for an experienced boater, but what about first time boat owners? Boat Insurance UK would like to help make choosing a boat easy for first timers and helpful for those well-versed boaters as well!

Things to consider

Who’s going to use the craft?
The basis of your decision will be dependent upon…

What do you plan on using it for?
What you plan on doing with your boat is…

Where do you plan on using your boat?
If you plan on traveling with your boat and staying overnight…


The basis of your decision will be dependent upon your own needs. Your plan may be to purchase a boat for some important factors: Fishing, cruising, to invite friends, easy care, or easy launching. Make sure that if you plan on inviting friends on your boat, you’ll have enough room to move around safely. Your friends will be enjoying your boat as well as you, so keep them in mind when purchasing a boat.



What you plan on doing with your boat is crucial. Are you going to use it frequently, infrequently, on weekends, or use a trailer to move it around? If you choose a large boat it will cost more to maintain and to store. Gas, insurance, maintenance, mooring, docking, storing, are all additional costs a future boat owner should be aware of.


If you plan on traveling with your boat and staying overnight its important to choose a boat that will be comfortable and is designed for this purpose. When buying a boat check to see if the hull can withstand rough waters. Often boats designed for fresh water are not suitable for rough waves and can become damaged or take on water. A calm ocean can change within minutes and turn a perfect day trip into a disastrous one. Ask around and find out what type of design works best for the size you’re looking at.

What Type

There are a few categories which boats fall under; depending on your needs will determine the category. There are Fishing Boats, Sailboats, Personal Watercraft, and Self-Powered Boats. After you decide which boat is reasonable, you can move on to the next step.

New or Used

After you determine which type of boat you prefer, you should choose whether to buy a new or used boat. A new boat will come with a full warranty. There are less repairs although they depreciate once they are purchased. If you choose to go with a used boat it may cost less than a new boat. Many used boats already come with good equipment, which is expensive to buy new, or as an option on a new boat. The negatives, which come with a used boat, are costly repairs due to age.



A good place to shop around for new boats is at a boat show. At a boat show you will be able to find dealers competing with prices and packages. Much like shopping for a car, there are specials on models that have ended. Toward the end of July dealers try to clear out all of their old models. You may be able to find a good deal trying these techniques.


There are many more options when it comes to buying a used boat. You can browse classified ads in newspapers, websites, and magazines. Buying from a private party is typically cheaper because dealers have overhead costs and sales commissions that drive the prices higher than private parties.


Before you buy a used boat check the recall listing provided by the Coast Guard. If the boat you’re looking at has a recall listed check to see if the owner has repaired the defect, and that the recall is still in effect. Make sure they have all the necessary documents and look for signs of a stolen boat.

Before you buy a boat someone who is knowledgeable of boat mechanics should inspect it. A mechanical technician should inspect the engine because it’s much more complicated than an automotive engine. If you want to check it yourself here are a few problems to look for:


If there is oil around gaskets, or oil in the bilge To check how well maintained the boat is pull the spark plug out and check to see if it is burnt or has been replaced on time. If there is a white substance on the engine or the drive, the engine was running hot. Check the engine’s oil and ask when it was replaced last. While checking the oil look to see if water has entered. It will look milky in color. Check the gearcase oil Check the hoses and belts to see if they are cracked and inelastic Check the prop and rudder’s condition.

boat buying


Check for cracks, blisters, chips, and other hull problems Check fuel tanks and lines, check for leaks Try all switches Check connections for clean connections Smell for mildew Check to see if all hardware is fastened

Marine Surveyor

Some insurance companies require you to have a marine surveyor check your boat before they insure you. You’ll feel much better about the boat after a professional has surveyed it. It helps for you to be there as the marine surveyor is observing your boat for informational purposes.

Purchasing your Boat

Now that you would like to purchase the boat it’s time to talk about a price. To be sure you have a decent price line to follow you can refer to a marine blue book as you would an automotive handbook. After you know the blue book price, try to work out a price which is suitable for the condition of the boat.

After a price has been settled put everything in writing that is included in the purchase and the price. If the boat needs a repair before the sale put it in writing also.

After you’ve purchased your boat its time to get it ready for the upcoming season! For information on regulations of Operators Licenses, boat care, how to get your boat ready for the spring, how to winterize your boat, safety information, federal and state boating laws, and Boat Insurance please visit Boat Insurance helpful pages. After you know everything there is to know about owning a boat you can enjoy your new boat!