Owning your own boat can be life changing. There’s nothing quite like having the freedom to fish, water ski or simply enjoy Canada’s amazing scenery with a few friends on your own vessel.

The buying process can be intimidating – don’t let it be. Do your homework, gather the right information then enjoy the process. Here are some tips to get you educated and prepared.

Which boat is right for you?

Some questions to ask yourself:

1. What are you using it for? Water sports, spending time with the family, cruising, fishing?

2. Are you boating on a lake or in the ocean?

3. Will you overnight?

4. How many passengers will you have?

5. Where will you store it? On a trailer or in the water?

6. What’s your budget?

A great tool to help you figure out which boat is right for you can be found on the Discover Boating resources. And if you are new to boating they also have a Beginners Guide to boating.

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, go window-shopping.  Even if you’re buying used, check out the boat show in your province for information and price points. Boat shows might look a bit different in early 2021, and you won’t necessarily get a better price at a show than your local dealership, so make an appointment at a dealer and check out our options.

Rent before you buy

Another great option is to rent a few different boats for a day and take them for a spin. This will give you an good idea for your comfort level for size and speed. If you don’t have boating experience, and provincial rules allow, hire a boat and captain for a day. Fishing, cruising and waterspout boats are usually available for hire.

Should I buy a new or used boat?

If you have the budget, buying new offers many advantages. Just like a car, that new boat smell is pretty hard to resist. New also means a warranty, and no repair projects, at least for a while. You also get to customize your new baby to your own tastes, and you can often negotiate better interest rates for financing. Remember that deprecation will be at its greatest in that first season, and you may have to wait for your boat to be shipped or even built.

A used boat may be the better option. You’ll get more boat for your buck, and there’s a huge market across Canada with a large range to suit every kind of boater. Your boat will be ready to go, and depreciation will be lower than new. The biggest risks, of course, are potential defects. You don’t know the history of the boat, and there may be hidden problems and future headaches with no warranty or service support. This is where a boat survey is a necessity.

The importance of a marine survey

Just like a home inspection before you buy, getting a professional marine survey on a used boat is paramount:

  1. It could save your life. The open water can be treacherous, even more so with a defective boat.
  2. It’ll help determine a fair price.
  3. It will highlight up and coming repairs and maintenance projects.
  4. A survey can be beneficial when obtaining financing.
  5. An appraisal may be required in order to obtain a marine insurance policy.

Your surveyor will inspect the boat thoroughly. They’ll use a hammer and moisture meter to look for potential rot. They’ll check the electrical systems, plumbing and fittings, deck hardware, propane and fuel systems, steering and controls, and safety equipment, as well as many other details you may miss when you do a walk around.

Make sure you hire someone qualified and professional. We’ve provided a list of reputable marine surveyors from you to choose from or find a list of Accredited Marine Surveyors to research.

The big decision to buy a boat

You’ve evaluated your needs, shopped around, determined your boat, and decided on new or used. Once you’ve negotiated a price and done your due diligence, you’re ready to purchase.

Do I need specific boat insurance

Your boat is a big investment and should be protected with the right policy and we can help. Pacific Marine Underwriting Managers Ltd. is one of Canada’s fastest growing boat insurers, with broker partners over 700 strong from British Columbia to Quebec. We have the expertise and great service with boating policies that are straightforward, flexible and affordable. We’ll help you figure out the right policy for the right premium so you can enjoy the water with peace of mind. Find a PMU Broker Partner today.

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