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Guide to Buying Your First Boat: Tips and advice

Buying my first boat was a nightmare, one you’re probably trying to avoid cause you landed here. If so, then this post is for you. You need to know some basic guidelines before you start dreaming about your maiden voyage on your boat.


It is easy to get carried away in the hype of certain types of boats only to get buyer’s remorse about the purchase.


Why would someone buy a boat? In most cases, people love to enjoy natural serenity, fishing, or going for an excursion with friends. Boating is a serious passion for boat lovers. By now you must know your reasons to be passionate about boating.


Maybe you experienced the joy of boating on a rental or on a friend’s boat. So, now you are ready to buy your own. Let’s take a deeper dive on some tips and advice on buying your first boat.


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Know More About Boat Types


Before buying a boat, you need to have a clear idea about the boat categories. There are three main categories of boats. They are- motorboats, sailboats, and man-powered boats. Man powered boats like kayaks, rafts and gondolas are some of the most common ones.


Other than this basic category, you will find nearly 20 popular boat varieties to choose from. They are-


Fishing boat

Deck boat

Catamaran boat

Centre Console boat

Trawler boat

Game boat

Personal watercraft boat

Jet boat

Banana boat

Pontoon boats

Dinghy boat

Bowrider boat

Cuddy Cabins boat


Cabin Cruiser boat

Motor Yacht boat

Runabout boat

Wakeboard/ski boat

Bridge boat



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How Can I Buy My First Boat


After researching the pros and cons of each type of boat categories, you will have narrowed down your list to a few boats you would consider for the purchase. Now you need to know how to purchase a boat. 


Online Platform


This is the easiest and hassle-free way to purchase your boat. There are a good number of online platforms that sell both brand new and used boats at a reasonable price. Online platforms like boats for sale uk have a wide range of boat collections.


Just scroll and find the most suitable one easily. Other than that, they have expert support for any sort of consultation. 


buying my first boat


Attend a Boat Show


Boat shows are great places to check out a wide range of boat displays with considerable discounts. Also, it is a platform to connect with the best boat dealers. Other than boat selling, you will find agencies that provide all sorts of services for different types of boats. 


Going to a boat show is also very fun and festive. You will get to know more about boats and the community who are interested in boating. Where to find a boat show?


Check out boat enthusiast sites for listings of boat shows, You will also find ads for the shows in newspapers or on social media. They typically happen in the off boating season (so fall and winter).


stretch your money


Boat Budget


Before you make a budget for your first boat, you should know that boat price varies according to its categories, sizes and models. Other than that, you will find both brand new and used boats for sale. Boats are never inexpensive.


Boat prices can range from 20 thousand dollars to a million dollars. If you are looking for boat parts, this website can help you no matter what boat you have. 


As you are new to buying a boat, you should seek expert advice. Or else, go for extensive online research before buying.


Make a budget for your boat. Learn about the payment plans and go for one that fits your personal financial budget. 


using a computer
Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels


License For Your Boat


Before buying a boat, you should know that boats need licenses just like other vehicles. Without a license, it will be considered illegal in the waterways. If you are from the UK, then you need both boat insurance and Boat Safety Scheme Certificate (BSSC) to make it a legal watercraft. 


On the other hand, the USA has some other policies. You have to get a boat license page from In the USA, there are 50 different states to grant you a license according to the state authority.


For other countries, please follow national rules and regulations to make your boat legal.  


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Account for Additional Costs


Boat owning is not a one time purchase cost.  There are some additional maintenance, usage, and repair costs too. Let’s find more about these. 


Insurance Charge


Boats are expensive, and so they should always come insured. So, you must pick the appropriate insurance, pay the insurance premium just like other vehicles to ensure your prized possession. 


Maintenance Cost


There is always a maintenance cost, even if you buy a brand new boat. It is not unusual to repair or replace any small parts of your boat. This can be hydraulic steering or a propeller in some cases. 


Docking Fee


Most people park their boats in a marina dock. Your boat will be docked safely with security on premises, and they also offer winter storage too Marinas generally have a monthly or an annual fee for docking and storage. 


Fuel Cost


Unless you are going for the manual boat, you will need fuel for the motorized boat. Keep this cost in mind and calculate the consumption rate and budget for it. 




Some people use boats only in summer or for a particular season. For the rest of the year, they store it somewhere with a minimal cost. 


Hire a Surveyor 


You can hire a surveyor to advise on boats. A surveyor generally inspects the quality and the condition of the boat. Other than that, he advises on purchasing procedures and makes sure that the boat is coming with an invoice VAT inclusion.


There is no particular legislation for this service. So, it is better to hire a recognized broker. 


Shared Ownership


Some boat enthusiasts may not be in a position financially to bear the costs of boat ownership by themselves. In that case, shared ownership is an excellent investment. It does cut other costs too. There are companies that offer such facilities to people.


You can also consider co-owning a boat with another friend or a family member too and share the costs.


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Easy Payment Option


Some companies offer monthly installment payment plans and loans to help buy your favorite boat. Check some policies with all terms and conditions. Choose the best flexible payment option that suits your budget and needs.


Self Inspection


The last thing that must be done is a self-inspection before buying the watercraft. First, give the boat a naked eye search to find any crack or scratches on the boat. Secondly, try to find any leaks or corrosion in the boat.


Don’t forget to look for bare wires or poorly sealed terminators.  


Check fuel tanks with gauging paste to find water in gas or oil. This is a sensitive issue. So, mark it high on your checklist. If everything is fine, then try a test ride. This is similar to a test drive of your car. 


Selecting the best boat within a reasonable budget is not the easiest process. However, if you follow the above-listed guidelines, the research and work needed to get your dream boat gets a little easier.


So, get ready for the most exciting ride of your life on your dream boat! All aboard! Just think, you can start telling people, “Hey, I’m buying my first boat guys!” 


Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

One thought on “Guide to Buying Your First Boat: Tips and advice

  1. This is such a helpful article about buying a boat. Answers all of my questions, especially when it comes to insurance and where to buy it. Very thorough and comprehensive, too. Thanks for sharing.

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