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What to Consider When Buying a Boat

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Owning a boat can be a blast. It’s a great way to spend more time outdoors and enjoy your days off. However, the purchase process can feel overwhelming.

With so many types of boats to consider, narrowing down your options can be a challenge. Plus, you’ll have to answer some important questions. Should you get a new or used boat? How big of a boat should you get? How much can you afford to spend?

Read on for a few tips about choosing the right boat for your family and your budget.

Start shopping around

The more you know about boats, the easier the decision will be. Gaining more experience with boats shouldn’t be an issue since boating is the top outdoor recreation sector. Friends who own boats can be a great resource, but you can also go online and compare prices.

Boat shows are another great way to learn more, and Florida is one of the best places for these events. The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October and the Miami International Boat Show in February are two of the largest boat shows in the country. You will be able to see a variety of boats in person all in one location. This will allow you to see and touch which size and model boat best fits your specific needs. You can even bring your entire family to make sure they easily fit on the size of the boat you are considering.

Dealers can also answer your questions. Plus, they’ll help you learn more about customization options, from performance engines to extras like fish finders.

Consider your unique needs

With nearly 12 million recreational boats registered, there's something for everyone. The right boat should be a vessel you’ll genuinely enjoy piloting or sailing.

Consider how much experience you have with boats. A sailboat or speedboat might be too intimidating if you have been on only a couple of charter trips.

Ask yourself how much time you’ll spend on the water. An entry-level all-purpose fishing boat can be a great fit for Sunday afternoon excursions, while a cuddy cabin boat or cabin cruiser would be ideal for overnight cruising. If you want to venture out for a few days at a time, you should look into getting a power cruiser or even a yacht.

Your favorite boating activities

It’s also important to consider what you’ll do on the water. If you’re after a vessel for fishing, rugged aluminum boats, bass boats and center console boats are versatile options. Plus, these boats are usually small enough for a trailer. However, a larger model like a cabin cruiser will open up more possibilities for offshore fishing.

If you’re looking for speed, you’re not alone. Powerboat sales are up, and a performance or speedboat will make for a fun experience. A waterskiing boat can also provide you with a lot of excitement on a budget.

There are other options to consider, such as a day boat that comes with more features than entry-level boats while being small enough for a trailer. You can also look into yachts and day yachts for a luxurious trip, or even consider a sailboat if you’re experienced and adventurous.

Talk to your lender

Figuring out which types of boats you can afford will help you narrow down your options. Discuss your choices with a lender to better understand your budget and what you need to do to get preapproved for a boat loan. You should also ask yourself how much you can afford to spend on monthly payments if you decide to finance your boat purchase. Remember, the total cost of owning a boat goes beyond the purchase price—you also need to factor in maintenance and repairs, storage fees, fuel costs, insurance, and trailer price (if needed).

With almost 35,000 members, Power Financial Credit Union is one of the most trusted credit unions in Florida. We can help you navigate unfamiliar waters and figure out what the best financing option is for you. Our Boat Loan Experts have helped countless members make their dream of boat ownership a reality. They are ready to do the same for you.

If you are looking to purchase a new boat, a used boat or want to refinance an existing non-PFCU boat loan, we are here to make the process as simple and fast as possible. For any questions regarding boat loans or refinancing, please contact us at 800-548-5465 or visit one of our branches.