Are you looking to buy a new boat for your fishing adventures and/or to enjoy with family and friends? Whether this is the realization of a longtime dream or an upgrade from your current boat, it’s sure to be a big financial investment, albeit one that will return years of enjoyment and fond memories. As boat enthusiasts ourselves, we know that researching a new boat can be as fun as stepping aboard for the first time. In this guide, we’ll cover how to buy a boat from start to finish and the most important things to know before you buy your boat.
What type of boat are you looking for?
If you’re like many boat buyers, the research part of the process can be just as fun as taking your new boat out for the first time. Knowing what type of boat you’re looking for will dictate what to look for when buying a new boat. Let’s explore the three primary categories: fishing boats, family recreation boats, and hybrids.
A range of boat styles can be classified as “fishing boats.” What they all have in common is a design and accessories geared toward the needs of the serious fisherman. They may also be intended for specific types of fishing, such as freshwater, offshore, bass, etc. Popular fishing boat styles include:
- Bay Boats: Usually designed for inshore fishing, but may also accommodate some offshore adventures.
- Center Console: The most popular type of saltwater fishing boat and comes in a range of sizes and comfort levels.
- Convertibles: Generally comfortable, with large cockpits and tall flying bridges. Good for offshore anglers
- Express: Also popular among offshore anglers. Helm is closer to the action but express-style fishing boats usually come with less cabin space than a convertible.
- Trawlers: Slow and steady, these cruisers are usually single-engine fishing boats.
Family Recreation Boats
If you’re looking for a boat primarily to enjoy with your family and friends, there are a variety of options to choose from, including:
- Bowriders: These popular boats have a versatile design that can accommodate a variety of water activities such as a pleasure trip or water skiing. However, they are usually unprotected, limiting use to good weather. And their versatility means they aren’t the best boat for any one specific activity.
- Pontoon Boats: This boat style is popular for leisure excursions, such as giving boat rides to tourists and enjoying outings with a group of family or friends. Seating arrangements and boat accessories can be customized to fit your needs. However, pontoon boats aren’t a good pick for bodies of water with large waves; they also don’t go as fast as other boat models.
- Sailboats: Sailing requires experience and skill, but it can be a very rewarding and family-friendly hobby. Choose between daysailers, cruisers, and performance/racers.
- Watersports: These boats come with a towing point for water sports such as wakeboarding, water skiing, and wake surfing.
More and more, boaters and boat manufacturers are realizing the benefits of well-designed boats that meet the needs of serious fishing enthusiasts as well as families. Hybrids can also be described as center console bay boats for inshore and offshore fishing. Sizes range from 24-28 feet, including these three models from Crevalle:
What is your budget?
Once you’ve narrowed your focus to one or two boat models, it’s time to research costs and make some buying decisions. One of the first choices you’ll face is whether to buy new or used.
What to know about buying used
The idea of buying used to save money can be appealing, but there are important caveats with buying a used boat.
- You may not be able to find all your desired features in a used model.
- Instead of picking out colors and other personal preferences, you’re at the mercy of whatever used boats happen to be available now.
- Do your research before selecting a used boat dealer or broker to buy from.
- Internet and other direct, private party sales may advertise lower prices, but there are also plenty of scams out there. With a big purchase like a boat, you may not want to risk it. If you do, make sure there’s a sales contract in place before you hand over any money.
What to know about buying a new boat
Buying new comes with fewer risks and potentially more rewards, such as customization and that new boat feeling. As you begin your search for a new boat, keep in mind that pricing can vary greatly depending on the custom features you choose. Request a quote from a few choice manufacturers or dealers to help you make your decision.
The benefits of buying new include:
- A fresh start: No potentially unpleasant surprises lurking in the boat’s history.
- Get exactly what you want: Choose the features you need and want.
- The latest technology: Boat manufacturers look to add the newest innovations to their models. Buying a new boat means you’ll enjoy the best and brightest in boat technologies.
- Peace of mind: Know that if something goes wrong, you’re not on your own. You have the protection of a manufacturer’s warranty and the dealer you bought from to service it.
- Rig it the way you want: Choose the latest gear that best matches your purpose for the boat.
Read more about deciding between buying a new vs. used boat.
If you can’t afford to purchase the boat of your dreams in all cash, it’s not the end of the world. Using a boat loan to finance your new or used boat purchase can help you stay within your budget. Some dealers offer financing as well as banks and credit unions and online lenders. Shop around to find the best rate and terms.
First, look up your state’s requirements regarding liability coverage for your boat. Even if it’s not a state requirement, your lender may require insurance on the full value of the boat. The same thing goes for marinas if you plan on storing your boat in one. Ultimately, you may want a certain amount of boat insurance coverage to protect yourself from financial loss, especially in the event of a collision with another boat.
What features do you need and want?
Whether you plan to buy used or new, make sure the boat you purchase has at a minimum the features you need for your intended purpose(s). There may be additional features you don’t have to have, but would like to get for a more enjoyable boating experience. Here’s a breakdown of popular features according to use:
● Release Wells
● Bait Wells
● Anchor Locker
● Rod holders and storage
● Trolling motor
● Tackle storage
● In-console Porta Potti
● Removable ski pylon
● Removable Coolers
● Forward seating
Crevalle Boats are spacious enough and well-equipped to please both the serious fisherman and the whole family. Enjoy hybrid models for both inshore and offshore excursions. For example, on our 24-bay model you’ll find:
● Center console design is lighter and easy to maintain
● Flexible fishing set-ups
● Reversible seating
● Optional cockpit table tray with cup holders for picnics on the sandbar
● Storage for safety gear
● Optional Porta Potti
● Choice of upholstery colors
● Digital gauges and stereo system
● …and more!
As you move through the process of researching, selecting, and ultimately buying a boat, you may find yourself wondering where or how to cut corners. But while saving some money may be tempting, don’t buy the cheapest of the boats you’re looking at just to stay in the bottom of your budget. You’ve heard the old saying “You get what you pay for”. A boat purchase is a big financial investment, but it’s also an investment in your future enjoyment and the happy memories you’ll make fishing and enjoying time on the water with family and friends. Crevalle’s Resin Infusion Manufacturing Process (CRIMP) takes our boats to the next level with a quieter, smoother, more solid ride.
Finally, try to see the boat in person before buying
Whether new or used, a boat is a big purchase so try to see it in person or through a video walkthrough to ensure the specific model meets your requirements for quality and included features. We also recommend buying a new boat through a reputable dealer. You can let them know what brands and models you’re looking for and they may be able to get it for you even if they don’t usually carry it. If you decide to buy through a private individual, we recommend taking the boat to a reputable service center and allow a mechanic to give the boat a once over.
Read more about inspecting the boat in The Importance of Taking A Boat Factory Tour.
Learn more about Crevalle boats!
Ready to find the boat of your dreams? Learn more about Crevalle’s three hybrid models and our 33 CSF Offshore Fishing model. You can request more information or a quote from your nearest dealer. Locate a boat dealer on our website to find where to buy a boat. At Crevalle, high quality, unique design, and excellent customer service are our core values. We build high-quality, reliable boats for families and fishing enthusiasts like you who enjoy the boating lifestyle. Come meet us at a boat show or contact us today!