Choosing the Right Boat

What to Consider When Buying a Boat


Owning a boat opens up a whole new world of on-water adventure for you and your family. Buying a boat is a major decision but one you won’t regret if you choose the right one.

Whether you are looking to buy for the first time or upgrade your current model, there are a number of considerations that you can use to help you find the perfect boat.

5 Key Things to Consider When Buying a Boat

  1. What type of boat meets my needs?

There are so many different types of boats to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. Thinking about what you want to do in your boat and who you’re going to be doing it with is a great starting point.

What activities do I want to do? Are you looking for a boat to take deep-sea fishing? Do you want to cruise the coastline for a multi-day sightseeing trip or is your aim to have fun in the lake pulling wakeboarders and skiers? Each activity requires a different type of vessel, engine and equipment.

What size is right? A bigger boat is likely to have more features and facilities, but it will cost more to buy, run and store. If you are a first-time buyer, test drive a few different sized boats to see which you are most comfortable operating. 

Which engine type and horsepower option is right? There are a number of different engine types available including:

  • Outboard Motors
  • Gas Sterndrives
  • Diesel inboards
  • Water jet propulsion

The type you choose will influence how the vessel drives, steering and stability, noise and pollution, storage, wear and tear and more. Consider an engine with a horsepower capacity close to the maximum for the boat to ensure it is able to perform in all conditions.

Where will I use and store the boat? Are you planning to be out in the deep ocean where you are at the mercy of incoming weather systems? Then consider a cab where you can get some protection. If you want to store your boat at home, you will need to choose a style and size that can be trailered.

  1. Should I buy a new or used boat?

The decision to buy new or used will depend on your budget, taste and whether you are willing to make cosmetic and mechanical upgrades if necessary. 

Benefits of a new boat include:

  • Getting exactly what you want
  • Benefiting from the latest technologies
  • A warranty to cover any issues

Benefits of a used boat include:

  • Getting more boat for your money compared to new
  • The ability to research the make, model and get real reviews before deciding
  • With a marine survey you can find out the condition and history of the vessel

This used boat buying checklist is a helpful starting point if you choose to buy second-hand.

  1. Where should I buy my boat from?

When looking for a new boat, you have a number of options of where to shop.

  • Boat Shows – If you are able to attend a boat show, you have the benefit of being able to see the models in person and there are usually special deals if you buy at the event. The downside is that you usually have to make a quick decision to get the bargain.
  • Dealers – Benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a dealer who can advise which models and features will best suit your needs. Dealers are able to assist with warranty coverage and services too.
  • Private sales – This is an option for more experienced boaters with the confidence to inspect and identify any issues with a vessel as private sales cannot be returned and have no warranty.

Always go out on a test drive if you can. Use the opportunity to check the boat’s facilities, equipment and handling.

  1. What is my budget?

Your budget for your boat purchase will undoubtedly have an impact on which vessel you end up buying. Additional and ongoing costs which you should be aware of before buying include:

  • Insurance – theft, damage and loss insurance 
  • Registration fees – if required for your vessel
  • Storage – purchase of a trailer or annual moorage / dry-storage fees. View Van Isle Marina’s storage fees here for an idea of the monthly or annual cost
  • Equipment and accessories – Personal safety gear, upgraded GPS, sports fishing gear – the required and desired extras can add up
  • Maintenance and repair – likely to be higher if you have a second hand boat with no warranty
  • Fuel / operating costs – fuel is likely to be your biggest ongoing cost depending on how far and how often you go out and how fuel efficient your engine is.

View Van Isle Marina’s 10 costs you must know before buying a boat guide for more information.

  1. What are the requirements of boat ownership and operation?

If you are buying a boat for the first time, make sure you educate yourself regarding the documents the federal government of Canada requires for boat ownership and operation. These include:

  • Pleasure Craft Licence – serves as ID for the vessel
  • Pleasure Craft Operators Card – an accredited online course and test is available 

Make sure you read and understand the Safe Boating Guide for information on operating vessels in Canadian waters, boating safety requirements and trip planning.

Buy Your Next Boat with the Support of Van Isle Marina’s Dealership Experts

Van Isle Marina’s highly experienced yacht sales team are keen to match buyers to the boat that is right for them.

As exclusive dealers for Pursuit Boats, buyers can discuss the many models with our sales team. We also act as broker for private sales, providing more options for our buyers.

Contact us today to set up a meeting with our sales team and start the search for your perfect boat.

Once you’ve found the yacht of your dreams, check out our moorage and storage options and all the other amazing facilities our state of the art marina offers.