Buying Your First Boat? 5 Things to Look Out For (Tips from a Boat Detailer)

It is something you might’ve dreamed about for years: finally purchasing your first boat. Now, you can make those dreams of sailing the open seas (or your local lake) come true. 

Still, you’ll need to know a few things before diving right in. Just like any other major purchase, identifying the best boat for your needs is a process that requires careful consideration. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to figure it out on your own. So, to get you started, here are some things to look out for as you consider your options. 

1. What Are Your Needs? 

Though all cars function the same, you’d say there’s a big difference between the conventional commuter vehicle and a luxury sports vehicle, right? 

Boats are no exception, as you’ll find a variety of types crafted to fulfill unique needs. Some considerations to help you narrow down the list include: 

  • Budget: Thanks to a rise in boat financing options, you can receive a loan to help you pay for your aquatic vehicle from various lenders. With most agreements lasting between 10 and 15 years, you’ll usually only need to provide up to 20% of the initial price as a deposit. Still, be sure that you’ll have the income necessary to cover monthly payments! 
  • Size: Once you have your boat, you’ll need somewhere to keep it safe. The way you accomplish this depends on your boat’s size, so don’t forget to keep that in mind while browsing.  
  • Condition: Since most boats are made to last a long while, you’ll have no trouble finding discounted pre-owned listings across the internet and in-person if you don’t want to buy new. 

2. Shop Around at Different Dealers 

Most dealerships have unparalleled knowledge and experience of the boating industry, making them a prime place to find your next ride. However, don’t be afraid to branch out to different sellers to see what advantages (and discounts) a competitor could offer.  

3. Inspection 

Don’t ever hand over your hard-earned cash before performing an inspection! Follow these steps to confirm everything is as it should be: 

  1. Examine the hull, outboard cowling, upholstery, and I/O for issues.
  2. Test the dipstick, wiring, and fuel and oil. 
  3. Look for leaks and open the hatches. 
  4. Double-check that nothing is missing (i.e., empty bolt holes, expired wiring, etc.) 

4. Closing the Deal 

Now it’s time for the paperwork. 

Once you’ve found the boat for you, you’ll need to cover your legal obligations, like registering it with the DMV, acquiring an insurance plan, and paying any additional fees that come with the purchase. It might seem boring, but it’s a crucial part of becoming a boat owner! 

5. Be Ready to Invest in Maintenance 

Congratulations, you now have the boat of your dreams! 

As you enjoy your new purchase, don’t forget that maintenance will be a common and consistent part of your boat’s lifespan. So, stay up to date on best practices for equipment upkeep, washing, detailing, and more to protect your investment. 

Check out our favorite eco-friendly boat cleaning products! 


Buying a boat is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting, yet with these tips at your side, you can come out the other end ready to take on the open water. 

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