Boat Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy a Boat
Editor’s Note: Thinking about buying a boat? The process for buying a boat during the COVID-19 pandemic raises a lot of questions for prospective boat buyers. Learn more in our Special Edition Boat Shopping Guide that will address those questions involving safety concerns, tips on working with a boat dealer while social distancing, and how to schedule appointments, sea trials and drop-offs.
The first step in the boat-buying process is also the most important—determining exactly what type of craft will best fit the needs and wants of both yourself and those you plan to bring along for the ride. Those needs and wants are typically determined by what type of activities you want to pursue on the water.
Think about the reasons you want to be on the water…and then narrow your choices accordingly. Our Boat Finder Tool can help with this. You may also be interested in learning more upfront about the overall costs of boat ownership.
Before we dive into the details, let’s breakdown the process of how to buy a boat step-by-step…
- Choose the right boat type for your needs.
- Decide if you’d like to buy a new or used boat.
- Ensure the boat you’re buying is a certified boat.
- Determine how much boat you can afford—our boat loan calculator can help.
- Research information about boat financing and how to get a boat loan.
- Shop for your boat—figure out where and when to buy.
- Learn more about boat values and pricing, including how to negotiate your purchase.
- Conduct a sea trial and a marine survey.
- Close the deal—find out more about boat registration, insurance and taxes.