The introduction to our online boat buying and owning guide.
A boat! If you've ever gunned the engine of any watercraft, whether it's a ten-foot dingy or a thirty-foot cruiser, or raised the sail on the smallest sailboat, you know how exhilarating boating can be. Who can worry on the water?
Well, actually, you have reason to worry a lot on the water if you haven't done your homework before you become the captain of your own vessel.
Why? Buying a boat smart is probably harder than buying a car smart. First, there are literally thousands of boat manufacturers, including backyard entrepreneurs. Second, even the biggest boat builders produce relatively small numbers of crafts. Evaluating quality and reliability, therefore, is much harder to do.
Third, virtually no mandatory safety and quality guidelines are in place to protect you from buying junk or dangerous boats. Some boat sellers take advantage of this, and unfortunately, the worst boat salespersons make the worst used-car dealers look like saints.
Oh, we forgot to tell you the major reason buying a boat smart is harder than buying a car smart:. The cost of the boat itself and key accessories such as radios are only the beginning of the cash outflow:
What about "use" costs? (Gas and oil expenses alone can wreck a budget, even if you have only a small power boat. A slip at a dock can cost more than your boat payment.)
What about insurance? (Usually higher than on a comparatively-priced car)
Maintenance? (Boats generally require much more maintenance than cars and boat mechanics generally cost more than car mechanics.)
Storage? (Some neighborhoods won't let you store your boat in your backyard--and paid storage can be expensive.)
Aside from budget items, the consequences of buying the wrong boat can be pretty heavy. Breaking down on the side of the road in a car can be inconvenient, but sinking can be really inconvenient.
That's why you need tough, unbiased information, both before you buy and after you buy. And that's why you're reading the StreetWise Boat Guide! Our guide will help you answer key questions as it saves you thousands of dollars. We also provide great, trustworthy links to teach you even more. Use these tools wisely, and boating will be the great escape you've always dreamed it would be.
So, let's go boating!