What Boat Is Best For Me?

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a new boat. Congratulations! With Australia’s fantastic weather and close proximity to the beach, rivers and waterways, you will no doubt have a great time.

So …. what sort of boat are you buying? That will be the first question everyone will ask you and to answer it, it’s important to look and what you want from your boat and how you’re planning on using it. The team from I Want That Boat Loan is here to help you make one of the most important decisions of your life.

What’s Your Type?

The first step you need to decide what type of boat will suit your needs, is to look at how you’re going to plan to use the boat. Will you be using it for:

  • Cruising
  • Fishing
  • Watersports
  • Combination of above

While many boats can be used for a combination for the activities listed above, certain boats are made specifically for an activity (refer below):

Boat Type Cruising Fishing Watersports
Bass boats
Bowriders
Cabin cruisers
Catamarans
Centre consoles
Cuddy cabins
Gameboats
Houseboats
Inflatables
Motoryachts
PWC’s *
Runabouts
Sail boats
Ski & Wakeboard boats
Trawlers
Walkarounds

* Personal watercraft

The two most common construction materials for boats in Australia are fiberglass and aluminium.

Aluminium: pressed aluminium is a common construction method for entry-level trailer boats. These boats are ideal for smaller boats, which will be used in calmer waters such as rivers, lakes and estuaries. Plate aluminium is also used for larger boats (over 5m in length) that will be used for bay, coastal and offshore boating.

Fibreglass: most cruisers and yachts are made from fiberglass. Fiberglass boats are generally heavier than aluminium boats and require more care while boating.

Size Matters

The next consideration is what size boat you will need. You will need to take into account whether you will be towing the boat or mooring it at a marina. The bigger the boat, the more features it will have but that will come at a cost. For boating novices, it’s important your experience is fun and as easy as possible. It is therefore recommended that your first boat is no larger than 22-24 feet, but make sure that the boat you purchase is certified to carry the number of passengers you plan to take.

New Vs. Used

Next you need to decide whether you are going to buy a new or used boat. As with cars, there are pros and cons to either option.

New Boat VS Used Boat
Pros Cons Pros Cons
✓ Problem and trouble free
✓ Unblemished
✓ Ordered direct from the factory
✓ Warranty coverage
✓ Manufacturer’s support
✗ Cost more than a similar used boat ✓ Cheaper
✓ Good option for first time boat owners to ascertain if it’s right for them
✓ Can renovate and improved if inclined
✗ May not be covered under manufacturer’s warranty
✗ Greater risk on overall quality of the boat

Jump on www.boatfacts.com.au to check out the history of any used boat you’re intending to purchase.

Choosing the Make and Model

Well done, you’ve decided on how you are going to use the boat, what size you might need and whether you are going to buy new or used. The next step is to decide what make and model you wish to purchase.

Heading to boating and lifestyle expos are great with all the boats available under the one roof. Once you have narrowed your selection, you can then head to your dealer or start looking online for your boat. Australian website, www.redbook.com.au allows you to compare new and used boats by the boat type, length, make and budget.

When looking at a boat in person, actually get in the boat and sit at the helm. How much legroom is there? Is it easy to reach the controls? What is the visibility like when sitting and standing? Open the engine hatch and look around. Ask the dealer what you will need to check regularly such as the oil, power steering fluid and coolant. How easy is it to access these items? Try out the seats and make sure your passengers will be comfortable. Check storage compartments for size and ensure they can be securely closed. If you want the boat for fishing, is there room for the fishing rods, esky and all other accessories? Is there a designated area for lifejackets? Look for high quality stainless steel fittings and hardware, strong windshields, sturdy handrails, struts to keep hatches open, quality door locks and hinges and non-skid surfaces on deck.

If possible, you then need to schedule an on-water test ride. Check the noise of the engine and any strange sounds emitting from it. Look for easy-shifting engine controls, smooth handling and easy steering. Is the engine quiet enough for you to talk to your passengers when underway?

Insurance

It’s important that you insure your boat adequately. Remember to not only insure the boat but all accessories you have onboard as well as the trailer. Shop around to ensure you get the best insurance possible.

Last steps …

While every state is different, boat licensing in Australia is mandatory for anyone 16 years and over operating a boat.

Go to www.yachtandboat.com.au to check the requirements in your state.

And importantly, keep in mind that when operating a watercraft or boat in Australia, you must be under 0.05 alcohol limit.

And the final step …

Pick a sunny day, pack your gear, grab some friends and head out in your new boat. Enjoy!