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Should You Buy a Boat? There Are a Lot of Boats for Sale

Updated on August 14, 2013

Some People Can't Resist the Lure of the Water


Now May be the Best Time to Time to Buy a Boat—or the Worst

I used to live on a creek that led out to Long Island Sound. Every May, like clockwork, my neighbor across the creek would put his 30 foot boat in the water at the dock behind his house. There it would stay until October when he would take it out for the winter. Between May and October, the boat never left the dock. This went on for five years until one May the boat did not appear at the dock.

My neighbor was a classic example of the difference between a boater and someone who just owns a boat. It reminded me of my first day of high school football tryouts. Our coach said something that always stuck with me: "I want guys who want to play football, not guys who want to be football players." There's a big difference, and the same goes for boating. Please see the quiz at the end to see if you're a boater or a landlubber. Better to be a happy landlubber than an unhappy boater

Boating is a wonderful outdoor activity, one that you can enjoy it with friends and family. You can fish, swim, explore or just anchor out and take in the scenery. Boating can also enhance your social life. Boaters love to talk about their boats. Owning one opens up new friendships at the marina. But owning a boat comes with problems that you need to think about. Before you respond to that boats for sale sign or ad, consider the following.

The Problems With Boat Ownership

These are the things you should contemplate before you respond to that sign: "Boats for Sale."

· It is expensive. Here are some of the costs of your new toy

- Insurance

- Fuel

- Maintenance. Just like a car a boat requires upkeep, even more so.

- Winterizing and winter storage if you live in the north.

· Weather concerns. If you keep a boat at a dock or anchorage, the word hurricane will fill you with dread. Leaving the boat in the water is a bad choice. If the boat is small enough to fit on a trailer, you can haul it yourself and get it to safety. This should keep the boat out of trouble, but not always. I had a friend who took his boat out of the water and trailered it to his driveway in advance of Hurricane Gloria on Long Island. He looked at his boat and breathed a sigh of relief. A couple of hours later Gloria came storming in, blew down a large tree and chopped his boat in half. If your boat is too large to trailer, you still have to get it out of the water. Most marine insurance policies have a clause that basically says that the insurance company will split the cost of hauling and storing the boat in the event of a hurricane warning. But it will still cost you a few hundred dollars. What if you're away on vacation or business when a hurricane hits? Your only practical choice is to ask a friend to take the boat to a boatyard and get it hauled.

· The unforseen. A view of the water is beautiful. It's what's under the water that can be ugly. My wife and I were once taking our 40 foot trawler from Long Island to Newport, Rhode Island. Just east of Fisher's Island in Long Island Sound we hit a submerged uncharted rock. The rock was just outside the channel. Although I was an experienced navigator I had to swerve to avoid a lobster buoy. In retrospect, I should have taken my chances with the buoy. Fortunately it didn't pierce the hull but it did cause over $30,000 in damage . Of course I had insurance, but the 10 percent deductible meant that I had to lay out over $3,000. Nice vacation. Boat for sale!

The Benefits of Boat Ownership

Boating may come with a new list of things to worry about, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have its good points.

· Fun. Setting out on the water can be a joy. Whether you like fishing or just cruising around, it's an enjoyable experience.

· Learn new things. I list this as a benefit because I think that we all can improve our lives by constantly learning something new. Boating requires that you learn the basics of navigation and seamanship as well as the mechanics of your vessel. If you buy a sailboat, you have to learn how to sail; it's not intuitive. Free or very inexpensive courses abound. The Coast Guard Auxiliary offers excellent classes for beginning boaters.

· New friends. Boaters tend to be social animals. Chatting with fellow boaters and swapping sea stories is an experience to be cherished.

· It's a hobby in itself. You never run out of new things to read about (and yes, buy).

Are You Cut Out to be a Boat Owner? Try This 5 Question Quiz.

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So boating is a pastime that has both problems and benefits. But that makes it just like any other pastime, doesn't it? Golf, for example, is an activity enjoyed by many, but any golfer will tell you that the sport has some problems.

Before you buy a boat, you should determine if you want to go boating or just own a boat. In other words, are you cut out for it?

Is Now the Time to Buy a Boat?

There is an old saying that when the economy gets a cold the boating industry gets pneumonia. If a person loses a job or a business owner is hurting for sales, the first thing he thinks about is how to cut costs. Boating, let's face it, is a luxury. People experiencing difficult financial problems look to cut luxury items first. The bottom line of all this is that it is a wonderful time to buy a boat because there are so man clogging the market. Some are almost new. It's a buyer's market if there ever was one. But that still doesn't mean you should buy one unless you absolutely love boating. Then, if you can afford it, set sail!


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    • profile image

      kelsey 2 years ago

      My brother is planning on buying a boat for the summer. He was telling me about getting insurance for it too. I wonder if insurance is required for all boats or if it is just an option.

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 5 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Yes, I imagine there are plenty of bargains...although capitalizing on tragedy is hard to rationalize.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for your comments Tom. Yes there are deals to be had. Here on Long Island Hurricane Sandy has added to the inventory of bargains.

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 5 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Agreed, recreational activities can be expensive and time consuming to manage. However, life is short and, in my opinion, it’s healthy to enjoy a certain percentage of disposal income playing and having fun. That said, boating is a wonderful way to experience nature alone or with family and friends. Although renting is an option, it pales in comparison to owning your own vessel and being able to use the watercraft whenever you want. And considering the state of the economy, right now is a great time to buy a boat because deals are everywhere you look.

    • michiganman567 profile image

      michiganman567 5 years ago from Michigan

      I think that I am more of a boat renter. I can't get out on the water much. Plus, renting means that I don't have to store a boat or dock a boat. A boat would be nice if I had access to water within 10 minutes of my house, but that isn't the case.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Now that's an idea. I think I will add this to my Hub.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Sometimes, Marlene, it's more fun to go out on an APB (another person's boat)

    • shawgardner profile image

      shawgardner 5 years ago from San Jose, CA

      Owning boats, jet skis, ATV's and other recreational vehicles are expensive, making monthly payments, buying gas, paying for storage and maintenance, sometimes these toys seem like money pits. This is why we created

      Fun2Rent enables owners to rent out their vessels the days they are not using, everyone and the boat is insured. So its an insured environment for owners to lower the expense of boat ownership. Hey some owners are even recouping expenses for the entire year through renting.


    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      You are so right about being a boat owner. My husband and I had some friends who had a boat built - nice boat with lots of upgrades (they had the money). We went out with them a few times, but they were always complaining about this and that. It seems, boat maintenance was eating them alive. We use to think we wanted a boat for ourselves and were kind of jealous until we went out with our friends and saw how much boat ownership consumes a person. They lived on the boat, so they had to keep it afloat whether they wanted to or not. After about a year they had a "Boat for Sale" sign on their boat and it took another year to sell it... below market value.