Boat Buying Guide
Written by Remar Sutton
A boat! If you’ve ever gunned the engine of any watercraft, whether it’s a ten-foot dingy or a thirty-foot cruiser, or raised the sail on the smallest sailboat, you know how exhilarating boating can be. Who can worry on the water?
Well, actually, you have reason to worry a lot on the water if you haven’t done your homework before you become the captain of your own vessel.
Why? Buying a boat smart is probably harder than buying a car smart. First, there are literally thousands of boat manufacturers, including backyard entrepreneurs. Second, even the biggest boat builders produce relatively small numbers of crafts. Evaluating quality and reliability, therefore, is much harder to do.
Third, virtually no mandatory safety and quality guidelines are in place to protect you from buying junk or dangerous boats. Some boat sellers take advantage of this, and unfortunately, the worst boat salespersons make the worst used-car dealers look like saints.
Oh, we forgot to tell you the major reason buying a boat smart is harder than buying a car smart: Boats eat money. The cost of the boat itself and key accessories such as radios are only the beginning of the cash outflow:
- What about “use” costs? (Gas and oil expenses alone can wreck a budget, even if you have only a small powerboat. A slip at a dock can cost more than your boat payment.)
- What about insurance? (Usually higher than on a comparatively-priced car.)
- Maintenance? (Boats generally require much more maintenance than cars—and boat mechanics generally cost more than car mechanics.)
- Storage? (Some neighborhoods won’t let you store your boat in your backyard—and paid storage can be expensive.)
Aside from budget items, the consequences of buying the wrong boat can be pretty heavy. Breaking down on the side of the road in a car can be inconvenient, but sinking can be really inconvenient.
That’s why you need tough, unbiased information, both before you buy and after you buy. And that’s why you’re reading the FoolProof Consumer Boat Guide! Our guide will help you answer key questions as it saves you thousands and thousands of dollars. We also provide great, trustworthy links to teach you even more. Use these tools wisely, and boating will be the great escape you’ve always dreamed it would be.
So, let’s go boating!
Next: Developing a Budget
Boat Buying Guide
Calculate Available Cash
Your Available Cash is the maximum amount you have to spend on a boat. This calculator enables you to determine 1) the amount of cash a boat loan will yield and 2) the total Available Cash from all sources, including the loan, you have to purchase a boat.
If the estimated amount of Available Cash is too little for the boat you would like to purchase, you have several options: A higher monthly payment and/or a longer loan term will typically yield higher initial Loan Cash, thus increasing your Available Cash. You may also wish to consider alternative boats that better fit your budget.
*Check the current interest rate for the loan term.
This calculator is solely for informational purposes. It gives you a reasonably accurate estimate of your Available Cash. Results for your actual loan will vary based on your final rate and loan amount.