How to Make Boating More Affordable

sailing boats

Millions of people like the idea of boating but are reluctant to get involved because of the costs. Buying a boat can be tens of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros upfront – and on top of that, you’ll be responsible for paying ongoing expenses like maintenance, storage, insurance and docking fees. On the surface, it might even seem like a “rich person’s hobby.”

But in reality, there are several strategies you can employ to reduce the costs of boating – and enjoy an amazing hobby without breaking the bank.

Buying a Vessel More Affordably

Undoubtedly, the biggest expense of boating is buying the actual boat. Depending on the type of vessel you’re seeking, you could pay anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars/pounds/euros.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can get a better deal on your vessel:

  • Only buy the boat you need. Passionate boating enthusiasts sometimes get an excessive appetite for the vessel they’re about to buy. It’s tempting to get the biggest, most powerful, or most beautiful boat on the lot – but this isn’t always a good idea. Bigger, more prominent boats tend to be more expensive outright. They also tend to require more ongoing expenses, since you’ll need to pay more for fuel, maintenance, and other costs.
  • Get a used vessel. Often, new boaters are interested in getting new vessels. The appeal is easy to understand; new vessels are practically guaranteed to have minimal issues, they’re shinier and prettier, and no one else has ever used them. But the reality is, new boats begin to lose value the moment they’re bought. It’s in your financial best interest to get a used vessel; you’ll spend a lot less money, and as long as you’re buying a reliable brand, you can get all the same benefits as a new vessel.
  • Be smart with financing. Unless you’re able to buy a boat all in cash, you’ll likely need to take out a loan when buying your boat. The nature of that loan can have a major impact on your long-term financing – and just how expensive your boat really is. In general, you should aim for lower interest rates and more favourable terms.
  • Attend a boat show. Before you commit to buying a boat, it’s a good idea to attend a boat show. You’ll get to see a wide variety of different vessels, including some types that you may not have considered in the past. You’ll also get to meet with manufacturers and salespeople and potentially negotiate a great deal.
  • Price compare. Even though boat shows can offer good deals, they rarely have the best deal – thanks to online listings. When you have a vessel in mind, make sure to look at the price of this boat in various conditions using online vendors. The simple act of comparison shopping can sometimes save you thousands of dollars.
  • Negotiate. If you’re talking to a seller directly or if you’re considering buying from a dealership, be prepared to negotiate. Sometimes, simply asking for a discount is all it takes to get one. In line with this, don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal that doesn’t make financial sense.

Alternative Options to Buying a Boat

Here’s another important concept: you don’t need to buy your own boat to enjoy boating.

One of your best options, if you can’t afford to buy your own vessel, is to rent a vessel from somewhere else. This is also a useful way to go boating if you’re on vacation in a new area (and you’re not able to take your boat with you). Long-term, the financial math of boat renting doesn’t work out; with enough visits, you’ll pay more in rental fees than you would simply buying the boat. But if you’re only interested in temporary or short-term excursions, this could work out in your favour.

You can also hit up your friends and go boating with them. You won’t get to be a captain of your own vessel, but you can enjoy the thrill of cruising through the water (and most of your favourite aquatic hobbies, like wakeboarding or fishing). If you’re on good terms with the boat owner, they’ll probably let you drive it as well.

Reducing Other Expenses

Still, buying a boat is just one of the many expenses associated with boat ownership. Here are some tips for how to reduce the peripheral expenses:

  • Conduct maintenance regularly. Big repairs can totally compromise your boating budget; that’s why it’s important to conduct maintenance regularly. You’ll catch little issues before they snowball beyond your control and keep your boat in better shape for much longer.
  • Learn to do your own maintenance. Paying for maintenance is a worthy investment, and it will save you money in the long run. But it’s even more in your favour to do your own maintenance. Most maintenance tasks, like changing filters, are easy even for amateurs to learn.
  • Invest in proper storage. Keep your boat stored properly when not in use – and consider storing it at your own house. Proper storage will stave off many forms of wear and tear and storing it yourself will save you a ton on storage fees.
  • Negotiate when possible. When discussing repairs, storage fees, and other expenses, you may be in a position to negotiate – take advantage of this and push for a better deal when possible.
  • Be smart when buying fuel. Fuel costs aren’t the same at every location; for example, dockside fuel stations tend to be more expensive. Be smart when fuelling up.
  • Get certifications and prove your safe operation. In some cases, you can get reduced insurance rates if you have better credentials or if you can commit to certain safety measures.

Everything starts with finding an affordable boat to kickstart your hobby – and with the right platform, it’s easier than ever. At TheYachtMarket, we’ve connected thousands of boating enthusiasts to their dream vessels, thanks to our vast selection of new and used boats for sale. Start browsing our listings today!

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