Is It Worth Buying a Boat or Should You Stick to Renting?

Is It Better to Rent or Buy a Boat?

If you’re on vacation or if you’re just looking for a temporary pastime, you can rent a boat instead of buying one. It’s an easy, straightforward, and cost-efficient way to get the vessel you need to enjoy the open water. But if you’re interested in fishing, wakeboarding, sunbathing, and just cruising on the water on a more frequent basis, you might consider buying a boat.

So at what point should you consider committing to a purchase?

What It Takes to Buy a Boat

First, you should understand what it takes to buy a boat. Purchasing a boat outright isn’t always as simple as it first appears.

For example:

  • Loan information. How are you going to pay for the boat? Unless you have a lot of cash sitting around, you’ll likely need to take out a loan. That said, getting a loan isn’t always simple. You’ll need to have a good credit score if you want speedy approval from a variety of lenders. You’ll also need to pay close attention to the terms, interest rate, and other conditions of the loan. Not all loans are created equal, and your choices can have a major impact on your monthly payments.
  • The down payment. Most of the time, you’ll need a substantial down payment before you qualify for a loan. Depending on the lender, that could mean 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price. You’ll need a plan for saving this if you don’t have it on hand.
  • Secondary costs. You’ll also need to consider the potential secondary costs of owning a boat, including things like insurance, fuel, and even optional upgrades you’ll make in the future. After running some loan calculations, you may find an option with an affordable monthly payment – but these peripheral expenses could put you over budget. Don’t let yourself get caught off guard.
  • Legal compliance. In some areas, you’ll need a captain’s license before you can operate a boat on the water. In other areas, you may need a license for certain activities like fishing. And no matter what, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with operating laws in your given area. It’s wise to do this before committing to a boat purchase.
  • Experience. Once you become the owner of a boat, you’ll be responsible for its maintenance, storage, and other considerations. That means you’ll have more extensive duties – and if you don’t have much experience, it can be overwhelming. It pays to do your research before you make a full commitment. If you operate the boat or maintain it irresponsibly, it could ruin the boat – and cause you to lose your entire investment.

Perks of Ownership Over Renting

There are many advantages to owning a boat, rather than renting, especially if you’re owning in the long term.

  • Equity and resale value. When making boat payments, you’ll be paying down the loan on the boat. As the owner, this means you can take advantage of a growing stake of equity. If you decide to sell the boat in the future, you can pay off the remainder of your loan and pocket the rest. While boats typically depreciate in value over time, thanks to ongoing wear and tear, you can often make back much of what you paid for the boat. Compare that to renting a boat, where your payments are totally lost.
  • Total control over customization. When renting a boat, you’ll usually have to abide by the rules and regulations of the company renting it to you. That means you won’t have any options for customizing the boat how you like. If you own a boat for yourself, you can upgrade, modify, paint, and tweak it however you want.
  • Unlimited range and use. Similarly, some rental places limit how and where you can use their boats. If you have a boat of your own, you can go anywhere you want and use the boat however you want (within the limits of the law).

When Is Renting the Better Option?

The advantages of buying and owning your own boat are great, but there are some conditions that make renting worth it.

  • No access to water. For starters, if there are no bodies of water near your home, and boating is more of a vacation activity, there’s not much sense buying a boat and constantly moving it or storing it at a distance.
  • Limited engagements. If you don’t spend much time on the water, boat ownership may not be for you.
  • Ridiculously low rental costs. Occasionally, you can find boat rental deals that are ridiculously inexpensive. In some circumstances, they’re more appealing than buying and owning a boat yourself.
  • Lack of experience and/or confidence. If you don’t have much boating experience and you don’t feel confident handling your own boat care and maintenance, you may be reluctant to commit to boat ownership. Renting may be a better short-term option until you feel more confident.

What About Leasing?

We should also take a moment to discuss the possibility of leasing a boat. When leasing a boat, like leasing a car, you’ll be responsible for a fixed monthly payment. In exchange, you’ll have full control (or near full control) over the boat as an exclusive user. You won’t be the owner, and you may not be responsible for maintenance, but you’ll have more direct access than if you’re renting. It’s a simple, cost-effective financial move if you want regular access to a boat without being the full owner – but ownership is typically more favourable in the long term.

For the most part, buying a boat is better than renting one. But if you’re not on the water much or if you’re just not ready for the full experience of boat ownership, renting is a perfect substitute.

Are you ready to start shopping for a boat of your own? The best way to start is with TheYachtMarket. We have new and used boats for sale from all over the world, including power boats, fishing boats, and everything in between. Browse our selection of boats for sale today!

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