Define your budget
Before you even start looking for a boat model for river navigation or for sea trips, you need to establish the budget you have available. It is not just about setting a purchase price for a new or used boat. Other costs must be considered. These costs will depend on the type of boat, its use, your skills in terms of maintenance. Insurance, mooring , equipment, fuel, wintering, technical inspection of the boat but also extras and unforeseen events must be included in your budget for the purchase of a new boat or a used boat.
It is obvious that a new boat will be more expensive to purchase but will require less maintenance costs. However, the cost of mooring, wintering and fuel will be the same as a used motorboat.
This budget preparation is essential whether it is to buy a motor boat or a sailing boat, to buy a yacht from a professional or a used boat from a private individual.
Once you have assessed your budget and price, you will be able to target the boat model that is right for you.
Know your selection criteria
The size of the boat
The semi-rigid boat is both practical and fast. Measuring up to six meters in length, it can be sailed without a license and towed easily. It is a versatile boat that can be equipped with many options. It is suitable for fishing, water sports, coastal navigation…
An Open Bow Boat has a large cockpit protected by a windshield, an awning, and seats convertible into sunbathing. A day on board is particularly pleasant, but it is impossible to spend the night there. It is perfect for those who love speed, sun and comfort.
If you want more versatility and comfort, a center console is convenient. The boat remains easy to steer and generally has a cabin with toilet, berths, and storage space.
To make your choice, there is also the criterion of speed or comfort. Small sports boats with a bow cabin differ from family boats where accommodation is essential. For the purchase of a first boat, a boat of less than 30 feet allows to benefit from the maneuverability, of a power and a pleasant comfort.
A sport fishing boat , of the walkaround or fishing-ride type, allows the practice of water sports and navigation over several days.
It should be remembered that the larger the boat, the more difficult it will be to maneuver.
If you have a crush on sailing, a “small” model makes coasting easier. Between five and eight meters, it allows you to discover creeks, coasts, lakes… If coastal navigation for long periods attracts you, opt instead for a sailboat of six to ten meters. From eleven meters long, all comfort and navigation options are permitted.
Also think about the reception capacity, the safety aspect, and the duration of the trips. A boat that is too large will consume more, will be more expensive to moor and maintain.
The different characteristics of a boat
The choice of material for the hull should not be neglected. Most boats have a steel or polyester (plastic) hull. If the weight and strength are virtually the same, it is easier to customize and repair a steel shell. Steel fears rust, but plastic is prone to microcracks and osmosis. If you want to sail at sea, plastic is still more suitable. If you want an “ecological” boat, know that steel is recyclable while polyester is not.
Another essential question if you choose a sailboat: should you choose a keelboat or a dinghy? The keel allows the boat to “surf” on the water. If it is not ballasted, it is a drift. The latter allows greater versatility because it can be raised out of the water to have a flat hull and land on the sand. The performance of an integral dinghy is generally worse than that of a fixed or lifting keelboat. Choosing a weighted dinghy can be a good compromise between a keelboat and an integral dinghy.
You can choose between a catamaran , a trimaran or a monohulled. The monohulled allows you to sail far and better upwind. It is a boat that goes everywhere and takes up less space when mooring.
The catamaran is ideal if you are looking for ample living space, especially if the boat is over 12 meters. The comfort in navigation is more important and the boat is more stable than a monohulled, but it does not allow upwind as easily. The cost of maintenance and the lack of places in marinas for this type of boat must be taken into account.
The trimaran is ideal for speed, but its living space remains limited. Safety is optimal but you need room to moor it.
Start your boat purchase search
Things to check before buying a boat.
Has a boat particularly caught your attention? This is to do the last essential checks. After a telephone contact, it is essential to go and see the boat. It is strongly recommended that you consult the boat service or maintenance booklet. This makes it possible to verify that the boat has been properly maintained and to see what repairs have been made. This log must contain all the identification elements of the boat, specify the dates of the interventions, the name of the companies having carried out the work, the references of the elements replaced…
If you plan to buy a motorboat, this element is essential. The motorboat will condition a large part of your pleasure on board. It must have been maintained very regularly and must not show any malfunction. If you are not sufficiently sure of your knowledge, you are strongly advised to have the engine checked by a qualified technician. As with a car engine, you will have to check the presence of leaks, check the cold levels, the condition of the hoses, the belts…
The electrical equipment must be free of whitish deposits, the lights must all work normally…
The plumbing circuits must be checked whether it concerns the freshwater, sea and drainage circuits. The water groups or pumps must be started.
If you can, the hull should be inspected with a dry boat. You can ask to be put out of bed, but it can be expensive. It is always possible to take this into account when negotiating the sale price. The entire surface of the hull must be checked as well as the hull equipment, the propellers, or the water intakes. All traces of rust or cracks must be reported.
The interior and electronic equipment are essential for comfort and safety. Cabin and cockpit must be inspected. All equipment should work.
A test of the boat at sea is important. It is recommended to carry out a test with the engine cold (check for noise, smoke, vibrations, etc.) then to carry out the same checks when the engine is hot. Check for any leaks after your return.
Do not forget either everything concerning the water tightness of the portholes, the fixings of the hinges, the signs of corrosion…
Also check the presence of the obligatory safety equipment according to the size of the boat and the navigation space.
It is important to remain objective and to proceed methodically. Write down anything you think needs to be revised or improved to adjust your budget or negotiate the price.
Documents to be provided before and after the purchase.
In all cases, the seller must provide you with:
- A registration document
- A certificate of airworthiness
- A certificate of conformity
- A navigation authorization
- A certificate of aptitude for the installation of radio equipment
- Invoices for equipment, modifications, etc.
- A copy of his identity card
- The trailer’s license if necessary
It is recommended to make a complete list of the condition of the boat and equipment and attach it to the contract.
The original of the sales contract must be stamped and you must present a copy to the harbor master’s office which will manage the change of ownership.
You must not forget to insure your boat.
All you have to do is get on board…
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