5 Key Considerations When Buying a Boat
Whatever your reasons may be for purchasing a boat, it is important that you choose the right boat for you, your family and your lifestyle. There are many factors that will influence your decision; from looks and performance, to usage, cost, size, maintenance, equipment and options – and let’s not forget safety.
Boating is an emotional investment – one that gives you memories and experiences of a lifetime, but also requires a lot of time, energy, and financial resources. With 135 years of experience in the industry, BENETEAU has been following our passionate clients closely and has had the opportunity to observe the many types of boat buyers. We have developed a keen understanding of buyer behavior and have identified five key considerations that the majority of new boat owners rationalize during the buying process.
1. What are your dreams made of?
Where do you want to boat (fresh or salt water - Lakes, rivers, oceans) and what activities do you envision for yourself, you and your spouse or your whole family? How often do you see yourself out on the water?
Whether your plans include coastal cruising, racing, fishing, island hoping, scuba diving or possibly living aboard, there is a boat perfectly suited for your intended use and time on the water.
Determine where you will keep your boat and what restrictions might exist in terms of hull length, water draft and even air draft. Be mindful of bridge clearance requirements around where you intend to cruise. Will you keep your new boat in the water or will you need to secure storage elsewhere?
One of your first decisions will be to choose between power and sail. If sailing is your dream, you will need to decide on the hull type - monohull or multihull. If a powerboat is what you’re seeking, you’ll need to decide on the type of propulsion – outboard, inboard/pod, or stern drive. Then you’ll determine the amenities you want or need, such as number of cabins, layout preferences, equipment and an important one - the options offered.
2. Who are you going to trust?
Beyond friends’ recommendations and the overwhelming amount of information available online, in the end your purchase decision will come down to two categories of industry professionals. Both are critically important to the boat buying process: the manufacturer of your future boat, and the new boat dealer who will sell and service your boat throughout your ownership. These two groups have very distinct roles but both warrant your careful study.
Choosing a Manufacturer:
There is a multitude of boat manufacturers, so choosing one may seem a daunting task. Consider reliability, longevity and reputation of the boat builder. Trust the manufacturer who knows boats, boaters’ expectations, and will be around long after you purchase your new yacht to deliver on its warranty. BENETEAU has been manufacturing quality sailboats and powerboats for over 135 years – including 34 years in Marion, South Carolina – and is the market leader in recreational boating today. The brand is trusted by thousands of boaters worldwide. BENETEAU boats have shown to retain their value over time better than any other brand of boats on the water.
Together with its dealer network, BENETEAU has been rewarded for many years with the CSI award for its excellence in boat production and customer service. Click here to understand how BENETEAU exceeds expectations in everything from innovation to performance, seaworthiness, quality and safety.
Choosing a Dealer:
Once you’ve identified the type of boat you are interested in, choose your dealership according to its location, facilities, and reputation in sales and service.
Look for friendly people you connect well with. The dealer-customer relationship is a long-term one that should live on well after you purchase your boat – so you want to work with someone that sincerely cares about you and your boating experience.
Rest assured you can trust BENETEAU’s network of authorized dealers to provide the best in service – from boat maintenance and repairs, to concierge services and assistance with other matters like financing, insurance, registration, and dockage.
When you partner with a BENETEAU dealer, you choose much more than a salesperson or broker. You will gain access to a wealth of information and be able to tap into a wide network of connections in the marine industry near you.
Finally, remember why you are buying a boat in the first place. Some people buy a boat to “get away from it all” – others want to draw the family closer together. Chances are, owning a boat will help you grow your social circles, make new friends, and form deeper bonds with your family. A dealer network like that of BENETEAU offers much more that a transaction-based relationship. The proof is in the growing number of community events hosted by our passionate dealers and supported by BENETEAU – such as the many BENETEAU rendezvous and regattas held at dealerships around the world. Take a look at one of our favorite annual events, the BENETEAU Rendezvous hosted by San Diego Dealer, South Coast Yachts.
3. Why not just buy a used boat? WELL, It’s not for everyone.
Purchasing a used boat may seem attractive due to the reduced upfront expense; however, the cost and time required to haul out, survey, repair, refit, and equip your new-to-you boat may not be worth the initial low sticker price. In some cases, owners want a “project”, in which buying and fixing up a used sailboat or powerboat serves as a hobby in their spare time. However, if your primary goal is to get the most out of your experience and enjoy your boat out on the water to its fullest, consider the advantages of buying a new boat and avoid the hassle – especially when there are so many potential unknowns with a used boat.
New boat warranty:
One major benefit of buying new is that the boat usually comes with a warranty. A new boat like a BENETEAU sailboat or powerboat comes with a manufacturer warranty that ensures your boat and its equipment are protected against any rare defects for the initial ownership period. BENETEAU takes warranty another step, ensuring virtually bow to stern coverage for 3 years, provided you follow the mandated service schedule. This warranty program and the associated service work are covered by BENETEAU and your dealer. Once again, you can appreciate the value of working with a professional dealer far beyond the purchase and commissioning of your new BENETEAU.
Be sure to investigate the warranties for every new boat you are considering. Warranties are valuable and an important factor that should influence your decision. Some warranties are transferable, which may become a key selling point, should you decide to sell your boat later on. Find out what the warranty includes (engine, hull, components, accessories, service, etc.) and what kinds of services you can receive if something fails. Warranties vary in length of time, so don’t hesitate to dive into the specifics.
You should also pay special attention to the type of warranty being offered. Some manufacturers offer a third-party warranty, which is essentially a term insurance policy. Their vested interest is to mitigate their exposure. A manufacturer-backed warranty like that of BENETEAU is an agreement between the boat owner and the boat builder.
Latest in comfort & equipment:
In addition to the warranty coverage of your new boat, purchasing a new yacht over a used one means you will enjoy the latest in design, technology, and equipment. The latest hull designs strive to offer better fuel efficiency while optimizing livability on board – for that very reason, think about the increase in beam sizes in just the last decade!
The newest generation of navigation instruments comes with all the bells and whistles that make boating safer and more fun. This is evident at most helm stations, where the chart plotters now boast generous screen sizes upwards of 14 to 16 inches. The user experience is further improved thanks to touchscreen displays and better ergonomics. Many of these attributes are readily available on a new boat but are not easily retrofitted on a used vessel.
When it comes to onboard comfort, many owners simply prefer a vessel with unblemished flooring and upholstery, new heads, and new appliances and mattresses to used ones.
4. Consider how you will afford your dream
Purchasing a boat requires evaluating your budget and discussing financing options. When you choose to buy a new BENETEAU, you gain access to marine lending experts who are boaters themselves and have an extensive background in the industry. Our financial partners can provide unique competitive offers along with flexibility and responsiveness to meet your financing needs, so that you can make your dream happen. In addition, with current interest rates lower than in the recent past, now is a great time to buy, as those lower rates translate to lower monthly payments or the opportunity to buy bigger.
Trust your BENETEAU dealer to also provide guidance with regard to boat financing, Don’t hesitate to use them as a reliable resource to help you estimate the total cost of ownership and to provide assistance with insurance, dockage and maintenance scheduling.
5. Mastering your new boat
Boating is a lot of fun but no doubt, there is a learning curve when it comes to being new to operate. It certainly requires some initial skill and experience. We encourage you and your family to take boater safety and operations courses to learn the rules of navigation, and build your skills and confidence as a boat owner and operator. The more you know, the safer you’ll be, and the more fun you’ll have.
Becoming familiar with your new boat and understanding how it operates is part of the commissioning process with all of our authorized BENETEAU dealers in the Americas. In addition, many of them provide on-the-water training as well.
Do not hesitate to rely on your BENETEAU dealer to recommend boating safety classes or further on-water instruction suited to your needs. Taking the helm of a sailboat or powerboat without prior experience is not safe or advisable.
Finally, knowing how to handle varying sea conditions, weather changes and boat traffic is essential to ensure a safe day out on the water.
Owning and caring for your first new boat will be a rewarding and pleasant experience, especially with BENETEAU and our trained and passionate network of BENETEAU dealers by your side the whole way.
Boating is a relaxing diversion from the hectic and demanding world in which we live. It is a sport in which the whole family will not only participate, but most certainly will love.
We hope you join the BENETEAU family soon!