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Fishing remains one of the most popular outdoor activities, with thousands of people taking part each weekend. However, to make sure that you have the best experience, you need to make sure that you choose the best vessel.
So, what’s the best boat for fishing and watersports? The best boat will depend on what you’re looking for. The number of people, the way you intend to use it, the features you are getting, and the type of environment you want to use it in all affect the type of boat that you purchase and how much you can expect to pay. To save money, you can purchase a second-hand boat. If taking this option, make sure to inspect it carefully before you decide whether you want to purchase it.
Once you find the right boat, you need to make sure that you register it and get all the necessary documents and safety equipment. You’ll also want to make sure that you are performing regular maintenance, to keep the boat in excellent condition. By doing these simple actions, you can get a great boat that will last for a long time.
As you can imagine, finding the right boat for you will depend on many different aspects. Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas, so you know what to look for when purchasing your boat.
What Should You Look For When Purchasing A Boat?
Deciding to buy a boat is a big choice, so you want to make sure that you weigh up all your options. When you are buying a boat, there are a few key elements that you should look for, to make sure that you are getting a good deal. These are;
- The size of the boat
- The amount of horsepower
- The type of features that are available
- The price
- If purchasing second-hand, the condition of the vessel
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors, so you have a better idea of what to look when you’re purchasing a boat.
How Big Does My Boat Need To Be?
There are a few factors that can influence how big your boat should be. In some cases, you might want to think about the way that you want to use the vessel. You also need to think about the number of people that will be coming aboard. As a general rule, the further offshore you intend to go, the bigger the required vehicle.
When thinking about how big your boat will need to be, you’ll need to think about the way that you want to use it. This is often the biggest factor that will influence how big it will need to be. As an example, if you want to use it for commercial fishing, you’ll a big deck. However, if using it for watersports, speed might be more important than the size of the boat.
You might also want to think about how long the average trip will be. For example, if you’re staying on the boat overnight, you’ll need to have a place to sleep.
Also, the number of people that you want to have on-board will determine the size required. The more people who will be coming on the trip, the bigger the boat will need to be. This will ensure that there’s plenty of space for everyone to move around.
You might also want to check the local regulations. In some cases, there might be legal requirements that state how big the vessel will need to be to accommodate the group.
If you want to purchase a bigger boat, you’ll need to find a marina that’s going to be able to store it for you. Generally, you’ll need to pay a higher rental fee for the dock. For smaller vessels, you’ll be able to store it at home, using a trailer to take it to the water.
However, the biggest factor that will influence how big the boat needs to be is the type of area that you want to use it in. If you only want to use it in-shore, you might be able to get away with a smaller vessel. However, when you move off-shore, you’ll face rougher weather conditions and require a bigger boat.
To give you a better idea about the size of the boat that you should purchase, we put together this handy table.
|Area Where You’ll Be Using The Boat||Recommended Length|
|Bay/Lake||Between 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters)|
|Inshore Areas E.g. River Deltas||Between 17 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters)|
|Offshore Fishing||Above 30 feet (Over 9 meters). The further offshore you go, the bigger the boat required.|
How Much Horsepower Does My Boat Need?
Another important factor for you to consider is the amount of horsepower that your boat will need. Generally, the heavier the boat, the more horsepower you’ll need to move it. You might also want to consider how fast you want to travel. When deciding the amount of horsepower, you’ll need to follow government regulations.
Deciding on the size of the engine required should be a relatively uncomplicated process. In most cases, the vessel purchased will stipulate the amount of horsepower you need. It should be listed on the capacity plate, which is issued by the Coastguard, and should be found on the stern of the boat.
You’ll need to make sure that you’re following local regulations. If you don’t, you might be charged with overpowering the boat. In this case, you might face a fine and have to change the engine that you are using.
Overpowering your boat can also be a significant safety concern. You’ll be exposing the bow of your boat to too much force. Over time, this can end up damaging the vessel, costing you a lot of money to repair.
The amount of horsepower that you’ll need will often depend on the way that you intend to use the boat. For example, if you intend to use the boat for watersports, such as tubing or water skiing, you might want higher horsepower, to allow you to achieve higher speeds. However, if you want to use the vessel primarily for fishing, you probably won’t need as much horsepower.
Another important consideration is how much your boat weighs. The heavier the boat, the more powerful the engine will need to be. As a general rule, you’ll need to be able to get one horsepower for every 25 to 40 pounds.
What Type Of Features Can Come With A Boat?
When you buy a boat, you might also want to consider the type of features that will be included. There are dozens of different features that might come with a boat. For example, you might find one that comes with a navigational system. How important these features are will depend on the way you want to use the boat. If necessary, you will often be able to add these later.
There are many different options that you can explore when deciding which features you want to include. For example, many newer boats are equipped with some electronic equipment. For example, they’ll be some kind of GPS to guide you.
More advanced boats will generally have more sophisticated electronics. For example, you might be able to find a way to find play your music over loudspeakers. These features can be a great way to help you relax on your fishing trip, but they aren’t necessary to the overall functioning of the boat.
Most electronic equipment can often be retrofitted, this will allow you to upgrade it over time. However, when doing this, make sure to hire a qualified electrician, to make sure that it has been done properly.
Your engine might also contain several features. For example, if you have an outboard motor, you might want to get something that comes with an electric start, which allows you to start the engine quickly. How important these elements are will depend on the way that you intend to use your boat.
Finally, you might want to consider how you intend to use the boat. This might impact the type of things that you will be looking for. As an example, if you want to use the boat for fishing, you might want to get a live bait well. However, if you intend to use the boat for watersports, you might want to have a space that you will be able to relax.
What’s A Good Price For A Boat?
Often, when you’re looking for a new boat, you’ll have a limited budget. The biggest impact on how much the boat will cost is how big it is and the number of features it has. Generally, though you’ll be able to get a decent boat for around $10,000. If you want a bigger, more luxurious vessel, you can expect to pay around $450,000.
The biggest element that will affect the price you’ll need to pay is the size of the boat. As the vessels get larger, the purchase price increases. You’ll also need to factor in a bigger engine to move it around.
To get you a better idea of how much you can afford to spend, let’s take a look at the lowest price that a boat of this kind will cost. If you want to add in more features, expect the price to increase.
|Boat Size||Starting Price|
|Between 16 to 20 feet (4.8 to 6 meters)||$10,000|
|Between 21 to 25 feet (6.4 to 7.6 meters)||Between $50,000 to $100,000|
|Between 26 to 30 feet (7.9 to 9.1 meters)||Between $150,000 to $300,000|
|Between 32 to 36 feet (9.7 to 10.9 meters)||Between $200,000 to $450,000|
It’s important to remember that the costs extend beyond initially purchasing the boat. For example, as we mentioned, you’ll need to decide how you are going to store the boat. The bigger the vessel, the more you’ll need to pay to store it at the marina. You’ll also need to pay for the running costs of the vehicle, like keeping the engines fueled.
To make sure that you’re getting a good price for the vessel, make sure to investigate the different options on the market. This will give you a better idea of what you can get for your money.
What To Look For When Purchasing A Second-Hand Boat?
If you don’t have the money to purchase a new boat, you can get a used one. To make sure that you are getting a good deal, you should thoroughly investigate the boat. First, you should make sure that it’s been serviced regularly. You might also want to have a professional inspect the boat, as they’ll be able to spot issues that you might miss.
Buying a second-hand boat can be one of the best ways for you to save a lot of money. However, this process doesn’t come without some risks. The best way to make sure that you are getting a high-quality boat is by thoroughly inspecting the vessel.
The first thing to look for is the boat’s maintenance records. This will give you a better understanding of any issues that the boat has faced in the past. However, more importantly, it will tell you that the owners have been taking care of the vessel by booking it in for regular services. When looking at the log, make sure that the vessel has been taken to a trusted marine mechanic, so you know that everything has been done properly.
You should also inspect the boat for damage. You should check that all the electrical systems are working properly and that there is no rot. However, one of the biggest things that you’ll need to look for is signs of leakage. This can sometimes result in water marks on the inside of the vessel.
Because this is such a big investment, you might want to hire a qualified inspection service. They’ll be able to look at the boat for you. This will let you get a clearer idea of any potential issues that you might be facing.
You might also want to check that the boat hasn’t been reported as missing or stolen. This will help you make sure that the person you’re talking to has the legal authority to sell you the boat.
Finally, double-check what type of things will be included with the boat. In some cases, sellers can post deceptive pictures, which might not make it clear what you’ll actually receive. Taking a few minutes to clarify what’s included, before you agree to the sale, can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
What To Do After Purchasing The Boat?
After you’ve found the right boat for you, there are a few things that you should do. First, you’ll need to make sure that you register the boat. Often, this will be a legal requirement. You’ll also need to make sure that you have a boater’s license. Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the necessary safety equipment on board.
After you purchase a boat, you need to make sure that you are following your legal obligations. This means making sure that the vessel has been set-up properly. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that you need to do.
Do You Need To Register Your Vessel?
You are legally obligated to register your boat with the state authorities. The way you need to register, and how long the registration will last often depend on where you live. Because of this, you’ll need to research the local laws, to make sure that your vessel is compliant.
The registration process is an essential part of owning a boat. Coastguards are allowed to pull you over and check these documents. If you haven’t registered the boat properly, or don’t have the correct paperwork, you might face a significant fine.
As we mentioned, each state has a slightly different registration process. You’ll need to register your vessel in the state you live and intend to boat in. You can often find registration information and fill out the necessary paperwork online. If buying a second-hand boat, discuss whether the previous owner has registered the vessel.
After you’ve registered everything properly, you’ll need to make sure that you clearly display your registration number, which is like the license plate on your car. You’ll need to place this on the front and starboard side, at the front of the vessel. There are a few rules to follow when doing this, to make sure that the numbers are easy to see.
How Can You Get A Boater’s License?
There are a few ways that you can get a boater’s license. First, you might be able to complete the course online. You might also be able to attend a physical location, for a training session. Finally, you’ll need to pay for the course and get your certificate.
In some states, if you were operating a boat without the proper licenses, you might be issued with a fine. Thankfully, the required training won’t take long, with many taking just a few hours.
In most cases, you won’t have any problems finding a suitable course. There are many different providers available in each state. These will teach you the basics of maritime law, so you can control the vehicle properly. For example, you’ll learn about the speed limits and what certain flags mean.
After you’ve completed the course, you’ll be able to take control of the vessel. If you get a certificate, it’s recommended that you print it off and keep it on the boat. This can be vital for providing that you have the required qualifications.
What Safety Equipment Do You Need To Have On Board Your Boat?
When you purchase your boat, you’ll need to make sure that you have the necessary safety equipment on board. In most states, it’s required that you’ll have floatation devices, like life jackets. You’ll also need to have something to signal your position.
There are a few legal requirements that you need to fulfill when heading out on a boating holiday. If you don’t have all the necessary equipment you might face a fine. The required safety gear can be broken into three categories; flotation devices, fire extinguishers, and signaling devices.
First, you’ll have to make sure that you have life jackets. If you’re doing a watersport where you’re towing someone behind the boat, like a water skier, they’ll need to be wearing a life jacket. Children under 12 will also need to have a life jacket whenever the boat is moving.
You’ll also be required to carry a throwable flotation device, which can be used to help anyone who has fallen overboard. Legally, you only need to have one of these devices, though you might want to carry a few, just in case.
Third, you’ll need to have a fire extinguisher. The type of extinguisher you’ll need will depend on the size of the boat.
Finally, you’ll need to have a signaling device. In this area, the requirements depend on the size of the boat. Generally, you’ll need to have some way of visually signaling your position, like a flare. You’ll also need to have some audio signaling device, such as a whistle, in case you get stuck in a fog.
How Should You Take Care Of A Boat?
After you’ve spent a lot of money on purchasing your boat, you need to protect your investment. First, you’ll need to regularly check that the motor is still in good condition. You might also need to inspect the outside of the boat, checking that there are no holes or cracks. Finally, you might want to get the vessel serviced by a professional every year.
The best way to make sure that your boat is kept in good condition is by maintaining it each year. In this area, one of the most important areas to take care of is the engine. There are a few potential problems that you might want to look out for.
First, you want to make sure that all the moving parts are kept well lubricated. You should also inspect all the wiring, making sure that it’s still attached firmly. If needed, replace the spark plugs. Finally, every three months, drain the gearbox oil and replace it.
You should also take the time to inspect the outside of the vessel. In some cases, you might notice that the paint is starting to crack. If this is the case, you’ll need to fix the problem quickly, before the boat starts to develop a leak. Also, clean the exterior with a hose after each trip.
You should also make sure that you are regularly cleaning out the bilge. This part of the boat can easily trap in dirt and grime. The longer the dirt stays in the bilge, the harder it will be to remove. Also, dirty bilge water can be an indication of a bigger problem, like a leak in the fuel line.
By inspecting the boat regularly, you’ll be able to spot any issues while they are still relatively minor. If left for too long, the problems will get worse and become more difficult to fix.
Even if you take good care of your boat, you should book it in for a professional service every year. In many cases, a professional mechanic will be able to spot problems that you didn’t know that you had.
- Why are boats so expensive? There are a few reasons. First, they need to be built to withstand being in the water, which means that they need to use tough materials. Also, if getting a watersport boat, they need to cope with traveling at high speeds. In most cases, the boat construction process is very labor-intensive, requiring a lot of skilled workers.
- How long does a boat last? This depends on the way that you use it. Generally, though, boats are replaced after 10 to 20 years of use. However, if you care for it well, it will be able to last for 60 years without any major problems.
- What’s the best time to buy a boat? You’ll often be able to get the best deals in December. During this time, there are generally low sales figures. Because of this, most dealers will be able to give you a significant discount to entice you to buy.
Owning a boat can be a great investment, especially if you love fishing and watersports. To make sure that you get a good deal, there are multiple areas for you to look for. You need to make sure that you consider the size, horsepower, features, and price. If purchasing second-hand, give it a thorough inspection to make sure that there are no nasty surprises. Once you buy the boat, you need to make sure that it’s been set-up properly. Finally, you’ll need to make sure that you are taking care of your boat by performing regular maintenance.