You love the water and you really love being on a boat. So, the question is should you buy a boat outright, or simply charter one when vacation time rolls around?

Five Things to Consider When Buying a Boat

If you’re toying with the idea of buying a boat, here are several things to consider:

  1. How big your budget is and where you plan on keeping it
  2. How often you plan on using it and for what: cruising, fishing, water sports, weekend getaways
  3. Size and type of boat you want

#1 Boat Budget

Let’s start with boat budget.

How much you can afford to spend has a lot to do with the kind of boat you buy. Are you in the market for a small weekend cruiser or a 26-foot center console fishing boat? Or do you have your heart set on a 65-foot yacht? Obviously, the initial outlay and ongoing expenses between these choices differ a great deal.

For example, many small boats can be stored at home and trailered to the water. They burn less fuel, and insurance and maintenance costs are lower. Yachts come with docking fees, often require a crew to operate and have higher everything, including the price of accessories.

#2 Boat Usage

Next, how often do you see yourself using your boat? (Be realistic!)

  • Would you go fishing every weekend?
  • Take friends out for an evening cruise two or three times a month.
  • Regularly plan family outings on weekends?
  • And depending on where you live, is weather a limiting factor?

If you can afford it, owning your own boat is convenient and FUN. It enables you to create a floating retreat – a home away from home – and in many circles is seen as a status symbol. On the other hand, if you only use your boat once in a blue moon, you may not be able to justify the cost.

#3 Boat Size and Boat Type

The Case for Chartering.

When purchasing a boat, the size of your budget limits the type of watercraft you can afford.

Of course, the same holds true with chartering, but it’s a one-time charge, not a recurring expenditure. With chartering, you can choose a different boat – and experience – whenever you head for the water. In fact, there are thousands of yachts of all sizes and types available for charter today. You can pick a trimaran one time and a mega yacht another.

While boat charter rates can be intimidating, once you add up the costs of buying, storing and maintaining your own boat, the weekly price for a charter suddenly seems more reasonable. And the best part is, when you return from your carefree time at sea, you simply grab your gear and head home. If hitting the water once or twice a year would satisfy your wanderlust, then chartering may be the ideal fit for you.

Either way, be sure to rate the buy vs charter pros and cons, then pick the one that’s right for you.

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