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Should I buy a boat or not?


Boats can offer a lifestyle that you may have only dreamed about – one where weekends become incredibly relaxing and fun for your entire family. Just load your cooler up with refreshing drinks and sandwiches and speed off for a perfect day out on a deserted island or sandbar for a day of sun and fun.

Boats don’t come cheap, however. Top up the purchase price with maintenance costs and the time you’ll need to spend to keep the boat in top shape.

Is the ownership is worth the trouble? When you’re looking to buy a boat, you also need a fair bit of acumen and patience. It’s best to go through a few essential steps before you buy your boat.

1. Plan your purchase

If money is no object, you need to examine your reasons for buying a boat.  Ask yourself:

  • What do I plan to use the boat for?

It is critical for you to pick out a boat that will work best for your needs. It could be for watersports, sailing, cruising, fishing, or multiple purposes. Take the time to figure out  the kind of boating activities you care most about to you to help streamline your search.

  • What kind of boat should I buy?

There are trawlers and bass boats, yachts and cabin cruisers, fishing boats, deck boats, pontoons, ski boats, and many other options to suit your favorite water activities.

  • Who is likely to be with me on regular boat trips?

How many people will you typically expect to have onboard?

2. Shop for boats

Once you’ve armed yourself with a good understanding of what you need, find a good boat dealer. They can help match you with a boat that meets your needs and specifications — one that has all the amenities to ensure you have fun on the water.

Factor in all the expenses associated with boat ownership: upfront purchase costs, docking or storage costs, maintenance costs, fuel costs, and insurance.
Set your budget.

3. Consider everything owning a boat entails

Once you’ve determined the best possible boat to buy, consider where you can safely dock it at the end of the day. Also, think about offseason storage options if you live in an area with freezing winters.

Maintenance for your boat, trailer, and motor must be taken into account as well. These can include oil changes, winterizing, washing the boat down after each use, keeping the boat covered between uses, and more.

Fuel costs can be considerable, too, so get your boat fitted with fuel-efficient motors to minimize fuel expenses. And, at the very least, get liability insurance coverage.

4. Test drive the boat

Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you take the boat out for a test drive. Ask the dealer to take you out for a spin to get a better feel for it.

If you’re thinking of buying a boat, consider a lakeside vacation home of your own as well. For the best options, call Jane Horne. She has been at the forefront of Smith Mountain Lake real estate in the idyllic Roanoke Region of Virginia for more than 30 years. Call 540.493.1690 or 800.858.4653 or  send an email to