Have you ever had one of those slow motion experiences where you narrowly averted disaster? We wish we could make that happen for people considering buying a boat . Though neither of us has ever owned a boat, we’ve enjoyed outings with boat owner friends and there's no doubt it's great fun. But we also know the costs can sink you if you jump in unprepared. If you’re thinking about setting sail, here are three tips to keep you afloat:
1. Crunch the numbers. Like with a car, but maybe even more so, the cost of boat ownership doesn’t end with the sticker price. You’ve got an array of extra expenses including taxes, licensing, boat insurance, registration, winter storage, fuel and oil, maintenance, dock fees and so on. Oh, and don’t forget you may need to buy and register a trailer, too!
2. Test the waters: Will your family want to go boating every weekend? Figure out — and be honest with yourself — how many times you reasonably expect to use the boat and calculate a per-use cost. Does buying make sense or would it be smarter to rent or charter a boat occasionally or lease one for the summer?
3. Look closely before you leap. Do your research and inspect the boat carefully before you buy, especially if this is your first foray into boats. Every skipper needs a first mate. Find someone you trust who’s knowledgeable about boats to help you navigate these uncharted waters.
A boat may help you make fantastic memories with your friends and family for years to come, but make sure buying one won’t rock your finances.
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