14 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat

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Boat sales reached a 13-year high in 2020, with many prospective buyers settling on waitlists. Did the boat bug bite you, too?

If you’re a first-time boat buyer, how do you know if now is a good time to buy a boat? Start with asking yourself these questions to ensure a boat is a good investment for you and your family.

What to Know Before Buying a Boat: Ask Yourself These Questions

1. Why do I want a boat?

Start with your intended use — and what type of boat you’re thinking of buying. Are you mostly interested in fishing? Wakeboarding with the kids? Entertaining friends? Boats aren’t as all-purpose as you might think; be sure to narrow down how you hope to enjoy the water before you start seriously searching.

2. Should I buy a new or used boat?

Are you OK with browsing the more limited pre-owned market to get more boat for your buck? Or would you rather buy the exact boat you’re looking for, complete with a manufacturer’s warranty?

3. Can I afford the annual maintenance and fees?

The initial purchase price is just the beginning. Experts estimate regular maintenance is about 10% of your boat’s cost annually — and this number might be higher if your boat is older or fancier. Also consider taxes, registration, boat insurance, updates, safety accessories and storage fees.

4. Where will I winterize and store it?

Mooring options are endless, but they come at a cost. For wet storage, consider reserving a slip, which is essentially a parking spot at the lake. But beware: Your marina may have a waitlist. Do you have space to keep your boat in your garage or on a trailer outside? And will your HOA allow it? If not, you’ll need to research self-storage or dry stacked storage facilities.

5. Is this a practical purchase?

Escaping to the lake on a whim seems like a dreamy idea today, but is it realistic for your family, your lifestyle and your budget? Seriously consider just how often you’d use it, and if owning a boat is worth it. If you’re unsure if boat ownership is really for you, renting might be a good option to get your feet wet.

9 Questions to Ask the Boat Broker or Seller

Have you ever bought a used car sight unseen? We didn’t think so! Use the same sensible judgment when purchasing a boat. We’ve outlined the questions every prospective boat owner should ask the broker or seller.

1. Why is the boat being sold?

2. How many owners has it had?

3. How, and how often, has the boat been used?

4. Is it still under warranty — and is it transferrable to a new owner?

5. How has the boat been stored and maintained?

6. Has the boat had any major repairs?

7. Has the boat had any modifications made to it?

8. Can I have a marine surveyor inspect the boat?

9. Can I put it in the water for a (or lake) trial?

Ready for the Water?

If you’ve decided on a new boat, congrats! Whatever kind of boat you have settled on, from an inboard ski boat to a wind powered sailboat, we can help protect your new boat and the countless memories you’re sure to make. Just call your Farm Bureau agent today to determine what coverage is best.