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Keep finances afloat and buy a boat

Date posted:  6/12/16 09:00:00 AM Boat ownership

Many families are gearing up for great weather this summer with long days at the beach and time with loved ones. If you and your family are looking to enhance the season, buying a boat is a great way to do so. However, if you are a first-time boat buyer, you want to ensure you purchase one of good quality and that you stay within your budget.

Follow these tips if you are looking to invest in a boat this summer:

Determine the type of boat you want  
From sailboats to fishing boats and pontoons, there is a watercraft for just about every recreational activity.

Consider what you and your loved ones enjoy doing the most. In addition, you should also think over what your current budget is as it will control what type of boat you can afford. Different types of boats have varying price ranges. For example, a sailboat may not be as expensive as a pontoon boat. 

If you are having difficulty selecting a boat, use one of the many online tools to help with your decision. 

Head to a boat show 
Discover Boating suggested heading to boat shows to learn more about available models and pricing. In addition, you can ask dealers as many questions as you'd like. 

Attending multiple boat shows is a good way to deepen your understanding of the market as well as allowing  you to fish around for the right dealer. When speaking with various professionals, keep in mind which individuals you liked the most. You may want to head back to them when it's time to purchase your boat. 

Every time you leave a boat show, make sure to take notes about your experience. If there was a particular model or dealer you appreciated, write these details down so you can refer to them later. 

Ask about warranties
Boats can be very expensive, so knowing whether these watercrafts are covered for damage or theft plays a substantial role in finalizing a decision. Ask what parts of the boat the warranty includes and whether it is transferable. 

Always take it for a test drive 
Before investing in a boat, take it for a spin. You want to be comfortable with the way the boat handles and feels on the water. In addition, you should bring along anyone else in the family who will also operate the craft. Ensuring everyone is comfortable with the type of boat and its handling is critical. 

Know whether you are ready for a boat 
Because a boat is such a significant purchase, ensuring you are prepared to buy a boat should be your priority, noted MoneyTalks News. Determine whether you have the time and resources to devote to maintaining and repairing it. 

Remember you will also need to pay for gas and, cleaning supplies, in addition to a place to keep the boat throughout the year. 

Consider money-saving options
If you want to save money, you may want to consider investing in a boat that has had a previous owner.  However, make sure you have the craft inspected to ensure you know as much about the boat's condition as possible. Hire a marine surveyor to look at the boat when you have it inspected before purchase.

Another way to save some money while enjoying a boat is to split the cost with another party. If you purchase a watercraft with a family friend, you can cut the expenses in half. Keep in mind this also means you will cut the time spent on the water in half as well if you are sharing the boat. 

Before investing in a boat, consider the financial implications of the investment. From there, research to ensure you buy the right watercraft for your needs.