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