Are you planning on purchasing a new boat? Whether you are a first time boat owner, or have been navigating the waters for decades, there are a few steps you should take. As exciting as it is; buying a new boat is not something that you should just jump into.

You need to decide which boat is right for you and your needs. Take into consideration what you will be using the boat for, who will be going with you, and where you will be taking your boat. You can find this information buy reading articles about different types of boats, researching boating websites, and looking through boat review magazines. Boat shows are an excellent way to learn about boat styles, sizes, engines and equipment. Reading opinions and experiences that other people have with boats may sway your decision or give you ideas.

What size should I get?
Deciding what size boat you need is important. You do not want to get a boat that is too small for the intended use, or one that is too big for just taking you fishing. Bigger boats will usually have more amenities such as cabins, toilets, and galleys. However, this means that there are more systems that need to be understood and maintained. Some boats are too big to be trailered, which leads to transportation issues. They will also take more gas to operate.

New or Used?
Decide whether you want a boat that has never hit the water or one that has had a little experience. Buying both new and used boats has its pros and cons, like anything else. Whether you are buying new or used; shop around before making your big purchase.

If you buy a new boat, you know that it does not already have problems or repairs that need to be made. If anything goes wrong with the boat once you own it, it is under warranty. Buying new also allows you to custom order according to your specific needs and wants. There are financing options when buying a new boat, which allows for better interest rates and deals. If you buy new, make sure that you address any problems that come up while the warranty is still in effect.

If it is a seasoned boat that you are looking for; than buying used is your best option. Used boats are good for boaters who are not sure what they want to do on the boat. If you are on a budget, buying used in less expensive than new. You may not find exactly what you want in a used boat, which leads to added expenses to customize later. Before buying your used boat, get a marine survey and have the boat inspected. This will check for structural damage or mechanical problems that the owner failed to mention, or may not have known about. They will also be able to detect whether the boat will need repair in the near future. With this information you can make an educated decision on whether buying used will really save you more money.

Make sure that the dealer you are buying your boat from is reputable. Checking around and asking advice will only help you in the long run. It is very important to check the dealer/seller for proof of ownership. You do not want to buy a boat that is stolen. If you feel as though you need help researching and purchasing your boat, you may want to hire a yacht broker. They will help you determine which boat is best for you, negotiate deals and arrange financing.

Test Drive:
Like a car, a boat should also be taken for a test drive. Once you think you have found the boat that you would like to purchase, it is a good idea to see how it handles on the water. Here you can see if you enjoy the way that it rides, and if it is right for you. There are certain tests that you should do while out on the water. Check to the engine to see if they are warm before turning on the ignition. If it is, the owner may have started it up prior to your arrival. This would be done to hide the fact that the boat may have trouble starting. The bilge should be checked at the beginning and end of the test drive for any oil leaks. While in the dock, maneuver the boat around in forward and reverse to check for response time. Check for bow steering while at slow speeds, and record how long it takes the boat to plane at high speeds. Take several turns; wide and tight at various speeds. If the bow of the boat bounces on straight runs, adjusting the trim should be able to fix the problem. Check to see how smoothly the boat handles waves and wakes. You do not want side to side rolling. You should also be observing how well the gauges and instruments are working, as well as the oil pressure. The engine should be run long enough to check for overheating.

Purchasing the boat:
Make sure to check around for prices and follow blue book pricing guides. This will help you negotiate the best price for your boat. Once you have the price you are satisfied with, have the owner put it in writing. This will eliminate any problems with price changes before the sale is complete. This agreement should also list terms, as well as the accessories that are included in the price. If you are buying a new boat, contact several lenders to get the best deal on financing.

A few more things after the purchase:
It is a good idea to take a boating safety course. Even if you are familiar with the water, and have been on numerous boats in the past; you should take the course. There are safely tips to follow to make sure that you have a fun and safe summer on your boat.

You are now the proud owner of a boat that is new to you. When insuring your boat, it is very important to include the survey and inspection if you have one.
Register your boat and apply for a new registration sticker. Title your boat in your own name; if it was previously owned it will need to be re-titled. Pay your sales taxes. Get your boat inspected by the local Coast Guard and display the sticker on the port side window.

Preparing yourself by setting a budget is important. Owning a boat can get expensive. Plan out what added expenses you feel are necessary for your boat, and don’t forget the cost of fuel. Following money saving tips will help you stick to your budget.

If you are not an experienced boater, your first trip on the water should be with one. They can show you helpful things like turns, docking and trailering. They will help you to feel more comfortable and confident enough to be on your own.
Make sure you are equipped with the necessities. Keep a tool kit, first aid kit, documentation, light bulbs, fuses and manuals on board.

Get out on the water and enjoy your new boat!