Lake season: Nine things you need to know before buying a boat
The sun is out, which means it’s time for one of our favorite summertime activities: lake days! If you are hoping to while away many of your days on your favorite local lake, you might even be thinking about buying a boat. Before you take the plunge—pun intended—below are nine things you need to know before buying a boat.
1. See if a boat is in the budget
The first thing you need to do is determine whether you can afford a boat at all, and if you can, how much boat you are willing and able to buy. This will narrow down a lot of the choices you have to make during the rest of the purchasing process. If you have questions about budgeting for big expenses like a boat or questions about financing your dream boat Georgia’s Own is available to help you in your decision-making process.
2. Talk to current boat owners
Doing some online or in-person research is never a bad idea, but you can’t beat personal experience when it comes to deciding which boat is right for you. Ask those friends and neighbors who are always on the lake to help you get started on your boat-buying journey. They can offer a lot of insight on what you need, what you want, and what isn’t worth your money.
3. Always start with safety
Going on a boat means spending time on the water, which means you need to ensure everyone who will be on the boat is able to do so safely. If your boat will be primarily used for your family, it’s time to invest in swimming lessons for those who are able to take them. For those who aren’t—and for everyone who will set foot on your boat—you will need to make sure you are following local laws for life jackets and other safety requirements.
4. Choose your boat carefully
If you didn’t even realize there were multiple types of boats to choose from, it’s okay—but you do have some decisions to make. What do you want to use your boat for? Are you spending lazy days on the lake? Will you be fishing a lot? Are you hoping to go viral on the Internet with a well-timed backflip on some water skis? Answering these questions will help you decide which kind of boat is the best fit for you.
5. Know the costs
You should be aware that the cost of a boat goes beyond just the purchase of the boat itself. Boats require maintenance, supplies, a place to dock or a trailer to take it to the lake—and all these things will cost you. Go ahead and factor those costs into your boat budget before making any final decisions. Fears about boat maintenance should not hold you back from getting a new boat, but they are important to consider. Georgia’s Own is available to help you in your decision making process to determine the best boat for your financial future!
6. Consider your options
A new boat obviously has some appeal. It’s shiny and brand new—and more expensive. A previously owned boat may be a better deal, so be sure to consider all of your purchasing options. With a used boat, you run the risk that the previous owner did not maintain it well, so you will have to weigh all of the choices to decide where and how you want to spend your money.
7. Treat it like a house
We’re not suggesting you say goodbye to your family and move into your boat forever, but we are suggesting that you treat your boat purchase as seriously as you would the purchase of a home. Inspect your boat closely before buying it. That means opening compartments, sitting in the driver’s seat, and conducting a thorough search to ensure that this boat is both safe and has will check all of the boxes on your perfect boat list.
8. Get insurance
Did you know boats need to be insured? It’s true, and you will not want to skip this part of the purchasing process. You can ask your current car or homeowners insurance provider if they provide boat insurance or if they can point you to a trusted source that can. You should also consider asking your fellow boat owners about the insurance they have and any tips they can pass along.
9. Take it seriously
Boats are fun. Being on the lake is fun. In general, it’s all a lot of fun. But this is a serious investment you are preparing to make, so don’t just focus on the fun – focus on making sure that you are getting the best value for your money and that the boat you buy will suit your purposes well. Once that is squared away, it’s time to go back to the fun.
If you are hoping to set sail this summer, we wish you the best! Take some time to research which boat is right for you and how much boat you can afford, and then enjoy your time on the lake as you float by on your new investment. And remember, Georgia’s Own is here for all of your boat-lending needs—click here to learn more about our boat loan offerings.