Many Lake Erie enthusiasts are counting down the days until the end of this snow-covered season and concentrating on the warmer days, and summer boating months, ahead. The glimmer of fish scales against a sunlit body of water will be here soon!
As lakes and rivers thaw, now is the perfect time to assess your finances and recreational water vehicle of choice to determine if an upgrade is needed. For those preparing to purchase a new or first boat, we offer a few considerations to select, finance, maintain and store for many seasons to come.
Select the Boat that Meets Your Needs
Before any steps can be taken to finance, maintain and store, you will need to decide which boat type is right for you:
- Aluminum Fishing Boat
- Fish and Ski Boat
- Deck Boat
- High Performance Boat
- Ski and Wakeboard Boat
- Pontoon Boat
- Walkaround Boat
To determine which of the above (far from an all-inclusive list!) is best to meet your needs, consider the following:
- Why do you want a boat?
- What do you hope to gain from use of the boat? Will you use it to fish? To water ski? Simply to explore various waterways?
- How much maintenance are you willing to take on as a boat owner?
- How large a boat do you want? How many people will join you on the average voyage?
With answers to these questions in mind, begin your search and look through local newspaper ads, visit the nearest boat dealer, or attend a local boating event, such as Cleveland’s Mid-America Boat Show. Once on-site and the boats are in front of you, speak up, ask questions and seek out as much knowledge about the various vessels as you can. Get to know sellers and your options prior to purchase to be as confident as possible when you say, “I’ll take it!”
Review Financing Options
It is no secret that boats are considered a luxury item, as many come equipped with a hefty price tag. But don’t let that deter you from purchasing. For those that enjoy exploring the waters or fishing, but can’t pay in full at point of sale, alternate financing options are available. Discover Boating outlines a few:
- Work with a boat dealer to discover multiple finance options, including any unique dealer finance discounts or programs.
- Speak with an official National Marine Bankers Association lender that specializes in knowledge on loans for these types of vessels.
Maintain Purchase Condition
Once you’ve purchased a boat, give it a thorough inspection and note the condition it was in upon receipt. This will give you a reference for peak condition, allowing you to note any variances as the year progresses.
Take care to keep all pieces and parts clean and running with regular inspections. Discover Boating has a few checklists to guide you through pre-departure, semi-annual and spring start-up checks. Follow these to ensure all required items are on deck; the vessel meets marine use requirements; and that scratches, rust, corrosion, and engine and other system failures are prevented.
With the proper checks, rest assured that all systems are a go to set sail, and that you will not be left stranded at sea.
Consider Self-Storage for Long-term Maintenance
Winter weather can bring harsh road conditions—ice and salt galore. In a previous post, we explained how rock salt causes unforeseen damage to cars and boats.
Avoid unnecessary rust damage, additional maintenance work and security concerns for your vehicles. Keep your boat stored away in a secure environment while Cleveland winter weather is at its worst and ensure it will be ready for your return to the waters when the weather warms.
Are you anxious to get back in the water? Share your favorite place to go boating and why in the comment section below.
Image Source: Ralf Kayser under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic