For those of you who are considering, or have questions about owning your own boat, this section is intended to help you learn about the different ways of purchasing and owning your own boat. Boat sales and boat chartering, for example, are two very popular options. Following are the more important decisions you will make when deciding to own your own boat:
Often we see that people have some specific price in their mind which they believe is what they can, or are willing to spend on a boat. Surprisingly, we regularly find this number is often established without any knowledge of what kind of boat is best suited for their goals and needs. Often the budget may not fit the type of boat desired or the client just has no understanding of what kinds of different boats they can afford. Choosing the right yacht broker is also very important.
Obviously, your budget is quite important and it is the easiest to resolve. The rule here is simple. If you are not going to pay cash, find out which marine lending institution offers the best rates and get pre-qualified. The bank will approve you for a certain loan amount which helps you begin a realistic budget plan for your boat.
Besides the down payment, which really determines the overall cost of your future boat, there is also the monthly payment to consider. How much, on a monthly basis, can you allocate to support it? Which boat sales establishment will you choose? Be sure to include moorage, insurance and maintenance, not just the mortgage, when figuring your monthly cashflow requirements.
Working with your banker and yacht broker, if you are using one, you will be able to coordinate and synchronize the amount of your down payment and your monthly cashflow.
New or Used:
Once you have a realistic budget which you feel comfortable with, it is time to consider what kind of boat you are looking for. Boat sales encompass both new and used boats. While many people automatically say “used”, before you do, consider the following:
A used boat may not have all the features you are looking for. Many highly desirable features such as walk through transoms have only appeared recently. Also, many people believe that depreciation of a new boat driven out of the marina for the first time is like the depreciation a new car experiences when driven off the lot. A new boat is not a new car. We are seeing owners of boats purchased new within the last ten years, selling them for at or very near what they paid originally. Boat sales such as this are becoming more common. Among factors we feel contribute to this are the growth of the Pacific Northwest region and its economy. Perhaps more important, is the decreasing supply of well maintained and equipped used boats nationwide. As a matter of fact, some marine lenders are no longer financing boats over 10-15 years old. Remember that not many new boats were built in the early to mid 90’s due to the now repealed luxury tax and the economic and international conditions at the time. However there is an increasing demand for late model boats while the supply has not. This is why we see a trend of rising prices for many well maintained, late model boats. We believe this trend will continue into the future, making a new boat purchase an even better option for many. As more people continue to relocate to the San Juan Islands, it’s an even safer option.
In many cases purchasing an older boat offers good value on a cost per foot basis, but it may not necessarily provide you with the overall best long term value. Many times you end up spending alot of money bringing that “bargain” back up to standards, and more valuable is the time you lost cruising doing it!
It all depends upon many different factors which vary from person to person. Factors like your budget, the intended use, length of probable ownership, personal tastes and needs and what is available on the used market should determine whether new or used is right for you. A good boat broker can help you determine which makes the most sense, by exploring these factors with you personally and within your budget.
If you are interested in selling your boat, please check out our Boat Selling Guide.