Boat Buying Tips

Helping You Enjoy the Boating Lifestyle

Boat Buying Tips for First Time Boat Buyers

Thinking of buying your first boat?  Congratulations!  At Bridge Marina, we are passionate about helping you enjoy boating.  So please take a moment to review our “Top Ten Boat Buying Tips,” which we hope will help you navigate your way towards enjoying the boating lifestyle:

Get on the water and go boating before you buy. 

Tag along with friends or family members who are boat owners to get a feel for what’s involved in boating.  Rent a boat for a day or join a boating club to make sure that boating really fits your interests and lifestyle.

Decide what your needs are. 

How do you imagine your boating lifestyle?  Are you interested in tubing, water sports, fishing, entertaining friends and family, relaxing, swimming, cruising, or something else?  Also consider more practical requirements like how many people your boat will need to accommodate.  Take notes of what you really need in a boat and compare the boats you’re looking at to your list.

Understand the true costs and commitments of owning a boat. 

The old adage that “the two happiest days of a boater owner’s life are the day they buy it and the day they sell it” may ring true if you don't know what you are getting into.  But, owning a boat can create some of the best experiences and memories for you, your family and your friends.  Millions of people thoroughly enjoy owning a boat every year! 

Make sure that you understand all of the investments involved in boating including monthly loan payments, interest, registration and titling fees, insurance, dock slip rental, maintenance, repairs of occasional mishaps, fuel, storage, trailer, trailer maintenance, life jackets, water sports gear, fishing gear, and more.  Also consider the amount of time that you’ll need to commit to owning boat, from packing and unpacking for trips, to uncovering, prepping, fueling, and cleaning and then covering the boat each time you use it. 

Bridge Marina has created an insightful cost calculator that will help determine some of these costs.

The best deals aren't always found at boat shows.

Boat shows are a great, fun way to see what’s out there and to get a feel for all of the different makes and models available, but the pressure to buy can be too intense and “boat show fever” can prevail.  Any “boat show deal” should be available to you after the show.

Buy a dealer instead of a boat. 

Selecting an honest, reputable dealer with a proven track record of customer satisfaction is important, especially when you are just starting out.  Ask questions, ask existing customers at the marina, look for reviews, and trust your gut.  How does the dealer and all of their staff treat you?  Does the dealer offer other services to help you enjoy your boating experience?  Finding a good dealer can make all the difference in the boat buying experience.

Be cautious of “must buy now” deals. 

High pressure tactics can be a sign that your best interests aren’t at heart.  Give yourself the time you need to make a good decision and don’t rush into anything.  A reputable dealer shouldn’t pressure you with a deal that will go away if you don’t buy today. 

Do your homework on the industry. 

You can find a wealth of information on the web and also in boating magazines.  Bridge Marina recommends you check out Discover Boating and the Boat Owner's Association of The United States, which both provide all kinds of tips and tools related to the boating lifestyle.

Start small. 

We recommend first time boat buyers really consider size when purchasing their first boat; smaller, easier to handle boats allow them to learn as they go.  Bigger boats can be more difficult to handle and can cause unneeded frustration for the novice boater and his or her family. 

Be a safe boater. 

Make sure you know the rules and regulations of the water.  In order to operate a motorized vessel in the State of New Jersey, you must have a Boating Safety Certificate and “Boat” endorsement on your New Jersey driver’s license.  The US Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA) offers the “About Boating Safely” course, which gives you all the knowledge you need to obtain your Certificate.  The USCGA also offers additional courses and information regarding safe boating, as well as free vessel safety checks. 

 

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Nationwide Marina of the Year

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