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[Part 2] The 4 Key Questions Before You Buy a Boat

In part 2 of this 4-part blog series, ‘How to buy a boat’, we’ll look at question 2 of the 4 key questions you need to ask before you buy a boat.


Before we dig right into that question, let’s first do a quick recap on question 1, which was, ‘What do you want to use your boat for?’ It’s important to spend some time thinking about all the ways you want to use a boat, but then focusing by putting those uses and ideas into an order of priority.


This is important for two reasons . . . Firstly, it’s natural and normal to want to use your boat for a wide range of things, fishing, family, sailing, business and even living aboard or your dream of one day sailing to far-off places, even around the world!


Secondly, buying the right boat for the right purpose at the right time is about gaining boating confidence. But not just gaining confidence, but maintaining your confidence to operate your boat successfully. The number of boats that never leave the docks is quite large.


Gaining confidence and then making sure you don’t lose that confidence and become too scared to use your boat or leave the dock, is an example of a costly buying mistake. We don’t want that to happen to you.


As we mentioned in the first blog, these questions are not rocket science and are really quite common sense, but we see people fail to take the time to answer them correctly.


Did you know the steel-hulled yacht is the most long-lasting yacht and can live up to 100 years?


Yes, it is true.


As you may know, there are different types of hull materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber, and aluminum. But the most long-lasting is the steel-hulled yacht which can live up to 100 years if well-cared.


In some cases, wooden boats also have a lifespan of 100 years. While fiberglass can survive up to 50 years and aluminum yachts have the shortest lifespan of 15 to 20 years.


So the longevity of a boat depends on what material you choose.


And, choosing the right material for a boat depends on where you plan to use it. So when you're ready to buy, ask yourself this question.


Where will you use your boat?


If you are looking to buy a boat, it is important to know what is your main use. For instance, if you plan on using your boat in freshwater lakes and rivers, it does not make sense to invest in one with a motor for ocean use or one that can handle the rapids.


Where you are most likely to use your boat may have a large bearing on what you should buy. The reason this is important is that the distance and types of waters that you wish to travel determine the range of your boat. The range is how far the boat can travel with the fuel onboard, or without refueling.


Also, how far and where you go are important factors in assessing the seaworthiness of the boat and being safe at sea. If your boat use will be inland, on lakes and rivers that’s quite a different type of boat than sailing at sea for months at a time. Safety is the number one priority and where you’ll travel in your boat potentially has a large bearing on risks and safety at sea.


Let’s use Singapore as an example. As Singapore is such a small country, it can be a bit limited for boating destinations as you don’t have to go very far before you must clear immigration. There are pros and cons to having lots of countries around you! But, with these types of limitations, you might have further shores in mind.


Consider the following places one by one using Singapore as an example, and answer yes or no to the following question, where will you use your boat?

  1. In Singapore waters; St Johns and Lazarus Islands, Changi sailing club, Raffles Marina, and surrounding waters (Yes/No)

  2. Nongsa Point Batam, Tioman or greater Indonesia (Yes/No)

  3. Sebana Cove or Sibu Malaysia (Yes/No)

  4. Greater Malaysia, Langkawi, Port Dickson (Yes/No)

  5. Thailand, Phuket, Krabi (Yes/No)

  6. North Asia and beyond (Yes/No)

  7. Around the world (Yes/No)

  8. Other areas (Yes/No)

Using the same approach to question 1 in the first blog, putting the ‘yes’ answers into the order of priority is the next step. Make a mental note of the first, second, and third highest priority locations where you wish to use your boat.


Where you wish to use your boat might change over the next 2-3 years. If you are new to boating, once you gain more experience and nautical miles under your belt, you may be ready to take on greater journeys with your experience.


A question worth considering is whether the boat you purchase today will be the boat that will take you where you wish to go in 4-5 years’ time? A potential mistake could be buying the boat for the 5-year plan, today. If you don’t have a lot of boating experience, then it might make more sense for your boating confidence, to buy for your current level of boating expertise. Getting clear on this dilemma will help avoid costly boat buying mistakes.


Now’s the time to think about how you want to use your boat in the next 2-3 years and what kinds of destinations you want to reach over the next 5 years. Don’t be alarmed if this is potentially two boats, not one. It’s better to get a heads-up on this possibility now.


Look, boats symbolize freedom for their owners, who enjoy the flexibility of finding an activity or a location that meets their current mood.


Some owners make a living out of their boats, Some turn boats into floating homes; while others still use their boats recreationally. When it comes to using a boat, everyone has different purposes and different preferences... This is why it's so important for you to know exactly where you're going to use your boat before you buy one.


So that’s the task for today – identify where you’ll use your boat.


Remember this; “You will love the ocean. It makes you feel small, but not in a bad way. Small because you realize you're part of something bigger."


Now, let’s get onto Question # 3 – How much time do you have to use your boat?

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