Your Guide to Buying a New Boat
Buying a new boat is an exciting prospect. However, it can also be overwhelming if this is your first time. There are many things to consider, not just about the type and size of boat you want, but also recommendations that will ensure you transport and operate it safely. Here, we provide a guide to buying a new boat and help walk you through the process. With these tips, you’ll be ready to make your purchase and enjoy your boat for many summers to come.
Considerations for Your Boat PurchaseFirst, you want to consider what type of boat will suit your needs. What do you plan to use it for? Is it something simple, for example, such as for fishing? Do you need to accommodate just yourself, or friends and family? Will you be taking long trips and sleeping on the boat? Maybe you might even plan to live on the boat for the summer or all year round. Where you operate your boat is also important. Is it for the cottage on a small, enclosed lake? Is it intended for larger bodies of water or even the ocean? Last but not least, consider your storage and transportation needs. Do you have a boat house at the cottage? Do you need to transport your boat to and from your home for fishing trips? Are you planning to keep it at a marina? All of these things will help determine the right boat for your needs.
BudgetBudget is always a concern. However, boats go beyond the purchase price alone. Many of the questions asked above also apply to your budget. For example, if your boat will be transported to the cottage once and stored in your own boat house, then your budget isn’t really impacted by anything other than maintenance and fuel. However, if you need to rent space at a marina or invest in a hauler for the boat, then the prices start to rise.
ResearchWhen you have a good idea of your budget and boat type, do some research online. This will help you get acquainted with the terms, and show you what is available for your price point. If time allows, consider attending some local boat shows. This is an excellent place for new boat buyers, as you can speak to the representatives and learn more about boating. You can also step onboard the boats and see them up close.
Shop AroundYour research should have helped you narrow down your list. Now, you can start shopping around. Just like buying a car, you want to see the boat firsthand, get onboard, consider the space and features, and if possible even go out on the water to see how it handles. From there, you can make your decision and purchase. Keep in mind that some dealers might have changed how they operate due to COVID-19. Call ahead even post-pandemic just to see if you require an appointment.
Consider Renting for a TrialBefore you commit, see if there are options to rent the type of boat you want for a few days. This way, you can get a real feel for it, learn how to operate it, and consider if it really does meet your needs.
New vs. UsedSometimes, budget concerns might make it difficult to get your ideal boat. However, you could consider buying a used boat. While this does open you up to possible issues since there won’t be any warranties, it could be a good way to find out with less investment if boat ownership is for you. You certainly won’t be short on options with the huge used boat market in Canada. However, buyers beware. Make sure you arrange for a boat survey to ensure the boat is seaworthy and in good condition. A marine survey also helps set a fair price, so you don’t overpay. It provides a record of what repairs and maintenance are most likely to come up, and can even make it easier to find financing. You’ll also find that many insurance companies require an appraisal before they offer you a boat insurance policy.
Get Your Pleasure Craft Operator CardDon’t even start looking until you’ve obtained your Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC). You’ll need it to operate a boat in Ontario. It will also keep you and others safe when you are out on the water.
Register Your BoatKeep in mind that you’ll have to register boats powered by an engine of 10 horsepower, so you’ll have your Pleasure Craft License (PCL) issued by Transport Canada. You will only have 90 days after purchasing the boat to register, but it just takes a few minutes online. There is actually no fee, and it lasts for 10 years.
Get Boat InsuranceLast but not least, you’ll need boat insurance. It will cover a variety of things including:
- Physical damage to your boat: To pay for repairs or replacement after insured damage, such as collision in the water, vandalism, sinking, thef
- Bodily injury liability: This covers medical bills and legal expenses should someone become injured while using your boat.
- Property damage liability: This covers damage you may cause to someone else’s boat, dock, or other property.