If you live near the water, you’ll know just how relaxing it can be to take a vessel out to sea and spend the day navigating. Having a boat is the ultimate freedom and it’s essentially like having a home away from home. You’ll make lifelong memories with both friends and family whilst on your boat, plus you’ll learn a whole set of new skills. 

For those thinking about purchasing a boat in Florida, you’ve certainly picked a great destination. This state is one of the boating capitals of the world, with more registered boats in Florida than any other place in the United States – not to mention, the 100,000 out-of-state boats that drift through the Sunshine State’s water.  

Before we delve into the nitty gritty details about owning a boat, let’s take a look at why purchasing one in Florida is such a worthwhile idea. There’re thousands of boat owners in this state because: 

  • There’re tons of fantastic boat spots 
  • Florida has sunny weather all year round 
  • It’s a great way to meet new friends 
  • There’s a large market for it 
  • You’ll get great use out of your boat 
  • Maintaining your vessel won’t be an issue 
  • You can make money by renting it 

However, boats here can come attached to a hefty price tag and a long list of responsibilities. Since this is an expensive investment, it’s imperative that you feel like you are making the right decision.

So, if you’ve recently been eyeing up a boat at your local dealership and you need some guidance as to whether you’re making the right choice, look no further than this article. In this blog, we’ll be covering eight of the most essential things you should consider when purchasing a boat in the Sunshine State of Florida. 

1. Set a Budget 

Before you get your sights set on a boat that you simply can’t afford, it’s important that you set yourself a budget. When coming up with a figure, make sure that you encompass a wide range of costs, not just the price of the boat itself. You also need to consider expenses such as insurance premiums, fuel consumption, storage fees, and closing costs. If the boat you are looking at is slightly out of your budget, don’t be afraid to negotiate a better deal. You never know how much you can save by simply putting in a lower offer.  

2. Consider the Size 

Driving a boat in open waters is relatively easy, as you don’t have any protruding obstacles in your path. Since Florida is extremely busy, especially in the peak seasons, it’s important to consider the size of your boat. You’ll need to be able to park your vessel in the marina and drive it confidently through small spaces. We recommend you look for something in the middle – not too big and not too small. 

3. New or Used 

Another thing you should think about is whether you want to purchase a brand-new boat or if you’re comfortable buying one from the second-hand market. Brand new models will come with a warranty whereas a used boat will provide a similar experience at a significantly reduced-price tag. Additionally, if you opt to purchase a pre-owned boat, you may get a better deal on a larger vessel. For instance, depending on your budget, you could look into used yachts for sale. One of the main advantages of buying a used boat versus a new one is that you can often get a lot more boat for your money, as the depreciation on a used boat has already occurred, making it more budget-friendly while still providing a similar experience on the water.

4. Expand Your Horizons  

If you are looking to purchase a boat locally, then it is imperative that you expand your horizons. After all, Florida is the boating capital of the world, so you are bound to find some great deals if you look hard enough. Check the newspaper listings in popular cities such as Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville. However, if you’re looking for a larger vessel, we recommend that you speak to a specialized broker.

5. Insurance 

Next, you’ll need to determine what kind of insurance you want and how much you can afford to set aside for your monthly premiums. If you’ve recently passed your boat driving license, you may benefit from a comprehensive plan that includes coverage for a boat accident lawyer as these can be expensive. 

6. Boater Safety Course 

If you’re a first-time buyer, you may need to get some qualifications out of the way before you can hit the water. Those who don’t have a boating license and are born on or after January 1, 1988, are required to complete the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or an equivalent course. 

7. Storage 

One of the most crucial factors to consider is where you will be storing your boat. Generally speaking, you can store your boat at a marina, at an external storage unit, or in your home. Depending on how often you plan to use your boat, you may benefit from one type of storage more than another. 

8. Inspection 

Last but not least, make sure to give the boat a thorough inspection if you plan on buying it from a seller in the second-hand market. If you’re not well-versed in the boating world, you can always hire a marine surveyor to help you spot any potential issues. This way you will avoid making any mistakes when it comes to purchasing your boat.

At the end of the day, you’ll need to trust your gut when it comes to boat shopping. If you don’t see yourself getting the most out of the vessel you are considering, keep on looking. Consider your budget, qualifications, and requirements. You’ll be sure to find a boat that’s just right for you.