What’s the Process of Buying a Boat?

Are you in the market for a boat? While you may know that you’ll need to take out a boat loan, you might be unsure of the other steps in the buying process. To make your life easier, we created this handy guide that goes deep into the ins and outs of boat buying to help you familiarize yourself with the process and ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.

Understand Boat License Requirements

To use your boat, you need to get licensed. Since license regulations vary from state to state, do your research and find out what they are where you live. You likely have to pay some fees, take an accredited course, and read up on the Marine Safety Act to know how to operate your vessel safely.

Determine Your Budget

Many factors impact the cost of your boat, including its size, type, purpose, and age. In addition to the cost of the boat itself, you should account for other expenses like maintenance, repairs, storage, and accessories. Take a close look at your budget and figure out what you can comfortably afford to spend on boat ownership.

Shop Around

Now that you know how much you want to spend on a boat, it’s time to shop around. You can explore boat dealers, marinas, boatyards, and boat shows. When you compare your options, consider features, performance, cost, condition, and storage. If possible, take a few boats out on the water so you can get a feel for what you prefer.

Lock in Storage

Once you know what type of boat you want to buy, think about where you might store it. If you have plans to hibernate it over the winter, dry storage, which protects your boat from the elements, is ideal. Wet storage at a marina makes more sense if you use your vessel year-round.

Apply For and Secure Financing

Unless you have the cash on hand to buy a boat, you probably need a boat loan, one of the types of personal loan. Once you find the right loan, you need to apply for it. Be prepared to provide information like:

  • The purchase price of the boat
  • Desired loan amount
  • Employment status
  • Monthly income

You may also need to agree to a credit check. Depending on the lender, approval and funding can take anywhere from one business day to several days or weeks.

Insure Your Boat

A boat insurance policy can give you some much-needed peace of mind. It can protect your boat against loss from collisions, fires, storms, thefts, and other common risks. Although only required in a few states, most lenders make boat insurance mandatory.

The Bottom Line

Buying a boat involves a series of important steps. You need to understand boat license requirements, determine your budget, shop around, lock in storage, apply for and secure financing, and insure your boat. As long as you follow this tried and true process, you can turn your dream of boat ownership into a reality.


Notice:Information provided in this article is for information purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views of [publisher] or its employees. Please be sure to consult your financial advisor about your financial circumstances and options. This site may receive compensation from advertisers for links to third-party websites.

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