How to own your own boat by Memorial Day
The unofficial start of summer is just weeks away and many people are finalizing plans to spend the warm weather months on America’s waters.
Whether you’re a skiing or tubing enthusiast, an angler looking to reel in a big fish, or you’re more interested in tooling around a lake with a group on a pontoon boat or hosting a cookout on a cabin cruiser, there is a boat that can fulfill your desires.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) there are more than 12 million registered/documented boats in the U.S., and that number is likely to grow. The NMMA expects boat sales, which began surging in 2016, to remain strong though 2018, with more than $8 billion being invested in recreational watercraft each year.
New boating trends
Sales of yachts and large cruising boats grew significantly in 2016 and are expected to grow as long as consumer confidence remains high among wealthy buyers.
On the other end of the spectrum, sales are booming for affordable, versatile products designed to build a new generation of boaters. Manufacturers are making smaller boats that are more affordable as they aim to attract a younger audience. They’re marketing “all-in-one” vessels that can be used for just about anything from fishing to cruising to watersports.
What you may expect to spend on a boat
Many factors come into play when it comes to purchasing a boat, according to Discover Boating. Obviously the bigger and more elaborate the watercraft, the greater the cost. However, there are many reasonably priced new boats, and you can further reduce the cost if you’re willing to consider looking at used vessels.
It is also important to recognize that purchasing a boat is just the beginning of expenditures. Much like a car, you will incur costs for fuel, ongoing maintenance, repairs, insurance, registration and mandatory onboard gear such as life vests, paddles, flashlights, fire extinguishers, etc. In addition, boating costs may include storage fees, trailers, licenses, etc., expenditures that will need to be factored into an overall budget.
A starting point
If you’re new to the boating world, experts suggest visiting a number of different dealerships to compare costs and determine exactly what you want/need in a boat. If a boat show is scheduled in your area, that’s a great place to compare products side-by-side. You can check out the latest and greatest boats and speak directly with manufacturers’ representatives who can provide detailed information on the many models available and recommendations on what boats to consider within your budget parameters.
Some shows are free to the public; others may charge a nominal admission fee, but it is well worth the investment of your time and a few dollars if you are serious about buying a boat.
Do you have good credit and an interest in securing a loan to buy the boat of your dreams? LightStream may be able to help.