If you are in the market for a boat, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to consider. Luckily for you this article is here to reveal a few details that you definitely don’t want to miss.

  1. Type of Boat

Although you probably already have something in mind, you should spend some time looking through the huge variety of types of boats there are. From Bass boats and Bowriders to Trawlers and Walkarounds, each type generally has a specialised purpose which might just fit with your idea of a day on the water. Not only that, but it will give you a better idea of any primary and secondary costs which might be involved.

  1. Physical Condition

Once you have a boat in mind its important you give it your own inspection.  It only has to be quick, but there are a few things in and outside the boat to go over. Look at the engine; make sure there aren’t any visible signs of damage. Give the exterior a quick check up – make sure there are no signs of wear or cracks and if it’s an older boat make sure any wood it has doesn’t show signs of rotting or waterlogging.

On the inside look for similar things and check that doors, hatches and windows all work. The floor of the boat is the most important thing, so walk over it, feeling and looking for wood softness or rust which might indicate impending problem. If there are any problems with the floor, the best thing to do is leave it; it is often the single most expensive thing to fix.

  1. Power Type

How much power the boat has is an important fact, and quite often informs which boat a person will buy. But before you buy a boat because it has the engine which suits your ambitions, consider a few things. Firstly, if you bring a boat out for a trial remember that it may not be an accurate representation of how it will perform for you. Trial boats are generally lightly loaded and have a sparse crew, so keep in mind what you’ll be doing with it. If you are going to have it fully topped up with fuel, loaded up with people, and carrying full-to-the-brim eskis, there is a good chance the your boat will handle substantially worse.

If the boat isn’t performing as you’d like during a trial, or even if it only slightly acceptable, you may want to go with something with a bit more power.

  1. Test for smaller make-or-break details

When you’ve decided what you will be doing with a boat, and found one that interests you, giving it a quick test can save a lot of future pain. Try to bring it out for a sea-trial, and put yourself in the shoes of a passenger. Details like whether is it easy and safe to move around the boat, whether the view from the helm and passenger seats are sufficient and whether the seats comfortable and free from sprays of mist and whiffs of exhaust, are easily forgotten but play a large part I’m the boating experience.

  1. Marine Electronics

This might not be the most important thing, depending on the boat you are after and what you plan to do with it, but thinking about what electronic systems you want on board is wise. There are a huge variety of electronics which will make your life easier and safer.

If you are thinking of buying a boat for long-haul cruising at the very least you’ll want to look into getting a VHF radio, a Personal Locator Beacon, a chart-plotter and a depth sounder so you don’t run aground. If you are just using the boat for family or fishing day-trips, a lot of the above electronics aren’t necessary, but you might want to consider owning a fish-finder or onboard battery charger.

  1. Cost

Whilst it goes without saying that knowing how much you are spending on a boat is important, there are plenty of secondary costs which could potentially catch you out. One such extra is storage. Although the cheapest option you have is just storing it on a trailer at your house, it sometimes isn’t practical. You may have to look at storing it at a marina berth or at a dry rack, which will typically cost hundreds of dollars per month.

Then you have boat maintenance, which can cost as little or as much as you want it. Although you might be content with washing it off with some fresh water after you use it, keep in mind that there are professionals who will look after it – and it will pay off. At the very least you will be looking at having it serviced every 12 months or 100 hours.

  1. Consider getting it surveyed

Although this isn’t strictly related to the specifics of a boat, hiring a marine surveyor is a very prudent decision. Marine surveyor’s carefully examine every part of the ship and look out for potential problems, and whilst this is a definite for second hand boats it also has benefits for new boats. The survey is absolute; it involves an inspection of the hull, steering gear, deck fittings and riggings, engine, tanks, electrical wiring, lifesaving appliances and navigation equipment.  In doing the survey, they may just pick up on a problem or malfunctions before the boat is even delivered

In Australia, the Australasian Institute of Marine Surveyors will be able to hook you up with a local professional.