Somewhere between wind in your hair, salty ocean breezes, fresh sashimi, sandals and cigars, misty mornings, orange cream sunsets, chardonnay and deep sea dinners with friends and family lies one of life’s great luxuries—owning a boat.
For those of us lucky enough to have a boat, attempting to describe to others the feeling of being isolated with only Mother Nature by your side is not easy.
From powerboats to yachts, from sailboats to man-powered vessels, most boaters will collectively coincide: boating is not just a leisurely activity, but also a spiritual experience that harmonizes you and the world .
However, if there is another thing most boaters can also probably agree on, it’s that boating is not an inexpensive hobby. But for those itching to sail the seven seas on a tight budget, it is feasible to achieve. A consumer-savvy mentality is a mandatory requirement if choosing to own a boat is in your imminent future while staying within a certain financial plan. Weigh your options carefully. Methodically strategize. Consult with other boat owners. Comprehensively ensure yourself that this investment will not negatively impact you or your family’s lifestyle.
Before becoming a part of the other 12 million registered boaters in the United States—carefully consider these frugal suggestions:
With or without mileage?
According to the NMMA (National Marine Manufactures Association), in 2013, boat owners in the United States bought approximately 1 million pre-owned (power, personal watercraft and sail) boats.
Sure, owning a boat (in itself) is already making a financial statement among your peers; however, when opting to buy a used over a new boat, you will be saving yourself thousands upon thousands of dollars. Regarding leveraging a consumer-savvy approach, it’s important to not get too discouraged by boat depreciation, as it’s a relative and overly examined term that unjustly determines used-boat pricing. In fact, buying a used- boat may ultimately be your only viable option when on a tight budget.
While researching used-boating sites, one ethically inclined idea is to participate in a reputable boating auction, which helps support youth and children charity programs around the country.
How do you intend on using your boat?
In many ways, this should be one of the first questions you ask yourself. By determining how you intend on using your boat, you will have a better idea of what type of boat best suits that lifestyle. For example, if you love relaxing and gliding through the water, while simply soaking in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air or spending a romantic afternoon with a significant other, buying a powerboat (over a sailboat) is a potentially catastrophically-costly mistake.
Are you too busy to even enjoy owning a boat?
Some make the mistake of impulsively purchasing a boat only to have it stagnating on the dock for 95 percent of the year. Daydreaming and boating go hand-in-hand; hence, spontaneous investments often come soon after. If you’re a busy professional who works late, travels often, has a growing family, or has little free time in general—boating may not be a smart investment. Remember, it’s never too late to buy a boat, so, when you do have the right amount of time and money to spare, that’s is when you should consider buying a boat.
Who will be joining you?
For family men and women, many times your loved ones and close friends revel at the idea of joining you in the water. With this mind, it’s important that you take this notion into consideration when opting to invest in a boat. Visualize (on average) how many passengers you intend will want to join you.
For boating friends interested in tagging along as well, a frugal option is to have them help with paying for fuel. As gas prices continue to escalate, paying for fuel alone can quickly turn your fishing trip into a sad day casting a fishing line at the dock. Friends and family can also assist on helping you with cleaning and maintenance after your day at sea has finished. Between heightening gas prices, storage expenses, slip fees, routine repairs, weekly upkeep, environmental elements and other overhead costs—the more people that are involved in your boating expeditions, the better—at least in terms of saving you cash.