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Tips for First-Time Boat Buyers: Get a Boat Inspector

Thanks to innovations in boatbuilding and the use of materials like aluminum and fiberglass, boats are more affordable today than ever. With over 15.7 million recreational boats in use in the U.S., almost anyone can afford to buy a boat of some kind.

And people are buying. Consider that the retail industry in the U.S. for pleasure boating is worth over $35 billion.

At WeGoLook, we always to aim to help our community make better consumer choices, and today is no different. For someone buying a boat for the first time, here are five tips to help you out:

Boat Inspection Tip #1 – Choose the Right Type of Boat

There are approximately 30 different types of recreational powerboats on the market divided among three general usages: cruising, fishing, or water sports. Decide which use, or a combination of uses, you want in a boat and shop accordingly.

Do you want to use the boat to travel the world? Catch some feisty fish? Or drag your unsuspecting son-in-law in water tube at high speeds?

And, plan up front to hire a certified boat inspector to perform a boat inspection. But more on this later. 

Boat Inspection Tip #2 – Do You Want a New Boat or a Used Boat?

Traditionally, first-time boat buyers are encouraged to buy a used boat that has undergone a boat inspection by an authorized boat inspector rather than spending money on a new boat. Not only do you minimize your economic risk by buying used, but you can also decide if owning a boat is really something you want to do.

Consider it like training wheels.

Just like the used cars, used boats can have hidden problem and turn out to be lemons. Considering a boat inspection by an experienced boat inspector before you make the purchase can help you make a sensible buy or no-buy decision.

Boat Inspection Tip #3 – Don’t Buy Too Small

There’s a saying in the boating fraternity that most boaters have “2-foot-itis.” That is, most experienced boaters are always looking for their next boat and it is usually 2' larger than the boat they already have.

When buying your first boat, it’s only natural to save money by buying the smallest boat that you think will get the job done and fit your boating needs. In reality, a larger boat is usually more comfortable, safer and more fun than smaller boats.

In many instances, first-time boat buyers will use their boat for a while and by the end of the season, realize they want a bigger boat for next year. Be sure to carefully consider your needs and the price difference when making a decision on boat size.

Boat Inspection Tip #4 – Involve Your Significant Other

Boats are no longer the realm of men only. When married couples, partners or any two-party relationships are involved in buying a boat for the first time, it’s important that all parties participate in the process from the very beginning.

More married women are taking the lead in the actual boat-buying process. And while single males have long made up the bulk of unattached boat-buyers, a large number of single women are now becoming boat owners.

Boat Inspection Tip – Get Educated

Just because you’ve driven a car for years doesn’t mean you know how to operate a boat safely. Boaters need to know to handle their vessel in wind, waves, tides, currents, foul weather and boat traffic.

Before you take on your first solo cruise as a new boat owner, you should take a boat operation and safety course from a qualified agency like the U.S. Coast Guard.

Most states now require all boat owners to have a safe-boating certificate which shows you have passed an approved boating course. Just as you shouldn’t buy a boat without a boat inspection by a certified boat inspector, you shouldn’t attempt to operate that boat without proper boating training from a certified instructor.

Here are some resources for boating safety courses.

In sum, adding a boat to your toy box can be fun and exciting. A world of marine experiences is now opened up to you, congratulations!

To ensure this is a safe and smart purchase, consider a boat inspection through WeGoLook. This will help you make the right decision for you and your family. 

For as little as $99, you can obtain a comprehensive report from a qualified representative who will travel to your boat's location and conduct a thorough inspection.

Check out one of our sample boat inspection reports, and safe tubing everyone!