Buying Boats

Buying a boat is a sizeable investment of your hard earned cash so it's important you make the right choice, the first time. Everybody wants different things out of their boat, whether it is a lean, mean boating machine for speeding around the open water, the luxurious cruiser to make people far and wide green with envy, a fishing vessel for a boy's weekend away or a family get-around for fun days in the sun.

Australian Explorer has compiled a list of pointers for prospective boat buyers that should help you when deciding what is the perfect boat for you and your family.

1. What will you use the boat for?

You need to consider whether it will be predominantly used for fishing, cruising, as a place to stay overnight, fun day trips out on the harbour/river or travelling on the open sea. What you want to use the boat for will alter the ideal vessel's size, capacity, engine size, features, build etc. so you should consider this before you start looking for a boat.

2. What sized boat will be ideal?

The ideal boat size for you will depend on the number of passengers you are interested in taking onboard, the water conditions you will encounter, the luggage you wish to take and the features you wish for the vessel to have. You should also take into consideration the fuel consumption of the vessel, the larger it is the more it will use i.e. the more expensive it will be take to the boat out for the day.

3. What conditions will you be taking the boat in?

Before selecting a boat you will have to decipher what water conditions you will expose the vessel to. Will it have to withstand torrid seas or calm inland waters? Boats are made to suit specific water conditions and will not last well or long in the inappropriate environment.

4. What material should the boat be made of?

The boat you select should be made of the materials suited to: the water conditions you will face, the desired duration of your boat trips, the maintenance will you will carry out on the vessel and where it will be stored. There are a number of different options including wood, fiberglass, aluminum.

Fiberglass is the most common material you will find in modern boats, it is lightweight, generally resistant to rusting and corrosion and while it is not as strong as some materials it is well suited to the modern person's boating requirements.

Aluminum is less favoured nowadays however it is a very strong yet light material. If coated with the appropriate formulas it is long-lasting also. Wood can, with certain skill levels, be used for complicated designs however requires a much higher level of maintenance to keep the boat in good shape and without rotting.

You should seriously consider buying a boat with "inbuilt buoyancy". This inbuilt technology will allow the vessel to stay afloat even when filled with water offering passengers shelter in an emergency situation, a place to wait until help arrives and gives time to bail water out of the boat. You will have to specifically request this feature with your boat's manufacturer.

5. What vehicle will be used to tow the boat?

How you will transport the boat should be a major consideration in your purchasing endeavours, particularly when selecting the size and/or make of the boat. You will have to consider your vehicle's towing capacity - a maximum towing weight should be recorded in your vehicle manual. Also note that whilst towing you will experience a decrease in your braking and accelerating capabilities, thus you should adjust your driving accordingly. You will also see an increase in your fuel consumption so allow for more petrol on the journey.

6. What is your skill level with regards to driving a boat?

You will have to have the skill and knowledge to manoeuvre whatever size vessel you purchase. The larger the boat the more difficult this becomes especially in busy waterways with a lot of people and/or boat traffic. You should be well aware of your driving capabilities before selecting a boat.

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