Finding the Right Boat or Yacht

Like other big purchases in your life, finding the right boat or yacht can be a daunting task. Here's some quick tips to help you in your search to find just the right one.

1. Boat Type - Consider what activities you want to do on the water. Do you want to catch dinner? Are you looking to ride the wake? Or does an afternoon anchored up in your favorite cove or at the beach sound like more your speed. Different types of boats are more geared to different activities. has a great tool for helping to determine the type of boat might best match your interests. Try it out here.

2. Research Boat Brands - Once you know the type of boat that matches your style, take some time to look at the different brands (manufacturers) that make those boats. Quality and reputation are key factors to consider.

3. Boat Dealer - Get to know the boat dealers in your area. Most offer new and used boats, but will only be able to sell specific brands of new boats. So before falling in love with one brand of boat, it's important to learn about your local dealers. Different dealerships will offer various levels of service - some may offer basic services to buy the boat and service to maintain your boat while others may go above and beyond to offer classes for learning to use your boat, events for enjoying your boat and more. Your dealer can offer support throughout your boating life that makes days on the water easier. Make sure to consider who you want to do business with and what type of relationship you want with them.

4. New, Used or Brokerage? Like cars, you may choose to buy a new or used boat. New boats offer the benefit of a warranty and if new to boating is a good place to start so you can better understand the different brands and boats. You also have the option of purchasing a boat through a broker (known as brokerage). The boat or yacht is used, but in these case a broker represents a seller (similar to real estate) to help them sell their boat.

5. Get Pre-Approved - If you will be financing your boat or yacht, it's a great idea to consider getting pre-approved once you are serious about buying a boat and know what you want. This will allow you to move faster once you find the boat of your dreams as well as allow you to know how much your loan is approved for.

6. Test Drive - Similar to purchasing a car, once you've narrowed down your the type of boat and brand you want as well as dealerships, it's time for a test ride (sometimes called a sea trial).