4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat

Posted by: Erik Hendricks on May 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Between the seemingly endless types of boats and the never-ending list of boat accessories, a first-time boat buyer or even an experienced buyer can feel a bit overwhelmed. These are the questions you will want to ask:

What Kind of Boat is Right For Me?

If you have owned a boat in the past, you might rely on your prior boat-related knowledge when making a decision about purchasing a new vessel. If this is your first time buying a boat, then ask yourself a few questions. What is the primary function of your new boat? Is it going to be your new fishing boat or are you looking for a boat to take your son or daughter out on the water? After you know how you'll be using this boat, it's important to ask yourself how much horsepower you will need in the motor. The maximum horsepower on a boat cannot exceed what a boat can handle - so if you plan to tow skiers or tubers, you will likely need a larger model.

What is My Price Range?

GettyImages-876497522Boat ownership doesn't have to cost you your life savings; we believe that the boater lifestyle can become a reality for anyone. Since there are quite a few upgrades and add-ons for a new boat, you should come prepared by knowing your price range. If you already know what you are willing to spend, you will have a smoother buying process and be less tempted to add on big-ticket items at the last minute. We also believe your entire experience will be more enjoyable if you come into the dealership knowing what you can afford.

What Should I Look For When Inspecting a Boat?

Whether you are purchasing a new boat or a used one, it is still important to inspect the boat before you sign on the dotted line. Start by doing a general walk-around of the boat, look for signs of stress-crack patterns. Any open cracks will need to be repaired before that boat is out in the open water. Keep an eye out for chips in the paint and screws or bolts that are missing. Pay close attention to the upholstery - inspect the cushions for wear and tear, mold, and green algae. If you are buying a used boat, ask the owner how long the boat was sitting with gas in the tank. Ethanol is corrosive, especially for fiberglass. Check the fuel lines and tank for leaks.

What IS the Actual Cost of OWNING A BOAT?

The good news is that after you purchase a boat, the biggest cost of boat ownership is out of the way. However, the reality is that costs associated with a boat don't stop there. In order to think of the larger picture of boat ownership, consider the costs associated with maintenance, fuel, slip fees, and even insurance. The average boat owner will run their boat approximately 90 hours a year - burning around 1 to 3 gallons of fuel per hour. If you average that cost out with the current gas prices, you will be spending roughly $300 to $900 per year on boat fuel.

Maintenance costs can be easy to forget about when you are purchasing a brand new boat. You aren't thinking about the upkeep or minor repairs that will likely happen within the first year of ownership. Depending on the conditions your boat endures on a yearly basis, you can expect to pay as much as 1 - 3 percent of the boat's purchase price on maintenance fees. These routine boat maintenance tips will keep your boat in tip-top shape.

After you've asked yourself these 4 questions, the next step is to download this all-in-one flowchart to buying a boat. Now you should have all the necessary knowledge to go out and start boat shopping - good luck! 

Miller Marine Boat Buying Chart