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Buying a Boat 101

Family on Boat

The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the open water in front of you. Sound appealing? Then you might want to join the ranks of boat owners all over the country. But before you cut through that clear blue water, there are some things you may want to keep in mind. Whether you're buying a fishing boat, cabin cruiser, pontoon or speed boat, different components like cost, horsepower, weight capacity or onboard storage may prove to be more important to you than others.

Answer these questions before going boat shopping:

What are you hoping to use your boat for?

All boat styles have a different design tailored to the use. Speed boats may be better for tubing and water skiing, but wouldn't hold as many people or be as suited for fishing as a dedicated fishing boat or a pontoon. Maybe you'll want to sail, or spend time living on the open water in a houseboat. There are so many different varieties of boats, brands and manufacturer's, so make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

What's your budget?

This may help decide whether to buy a used boat. According to Discover Boating, new boats depreciate anywhere between 25%-33% immediately after leaving the dealer's lot. So if you buy a used boat, someone else has already paid that depreciation cost - more boat for fewer dollars! However, buying a new boat will offer a warranty, the newest technology, and that nice shiny look as you move across the water - the choice is up to you!

How many people are you hoping to go on your boating excursions with?

The capacity on personal fishing boats is generally smaller than a pontoon boat, which are made to hold anywhere between 8-15 adults comfortably.

What type of equipment will you want onboard?

Here's some suggestions:

  • Trolling Motor
  • Lights
  • Depth finder
  • Live well
  • GPS
  • Canopy/bimini
  • Stereo
  • Tables
  • Emergency survival kit
  • Fire extinguisher

Will your car be able to tow your boat?

A 20-foot boat trailer can range from 600 to 1,000 pounds, and most boats in this size range hover in the 4,000-5,000 pound range.* This means that you'll want an SUV or truck that is rated to tow between 4,500-6,000 pounds in total.

Where are you placing your boat in the off-season?

Having storage for your boat during the colder months is important and must be planned ahead. Some may place their boat in their garage, outside of their garage or in a separate storage space.

And a few other components to consider…

  • Horsepower
  • Engine Type
  • Hull (Deep V, Modified V, Pontoon, etc.)
  • Storage Onboard

No matter what you decide, get out there, matey, and enjoy the open seas!


Looking for boat insurance? Get a quote today by calling 888-244-8092 to speak with a licensed agent or find a Foremost insurance agent near you.


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