By John Dukesherer
As two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water, your new boat will let you visit a lot more of the planet, much more than you can visit by car. Certainly, Hawaii offers so many opportunities for boaters. Unlike cars, however, recreational boats are not about simple transportation. Some people buy boats because they’ve made the decision to get away with family and friends and go to places where landlubbers can’t go. Harbors, islands, and even oceans are suddenly available for your exploration when you own a boat.
Other people buy for the camaraderie-- they want to join cruising clubs, yacht clubs, or fishing tournaments. Still others like to try their hands at offshore cruising. Have you ever yearned to be in the middle of the ocean for three weeks. Well, maybe not! Whatever your reason for buying a boat, you are making a lifestyle choice, and it is important you pick the right "vehicle" so you get the most out of the experience while avoiding some pitfalls in the process.
What’s Your Type?
Your first step is to determine the type of boat that will suit your needs, and that is based on how you plan to use the boat. There are three main boating activities: cruising, fishing, and watersports. Talk to an expert, look, feel, and touch. You'll know when you find the right boat, it is truly a relationship.
The size of the boat is an important consideration especially in Hawaiian waters. I tell my clients that purchasing a boat is like having a baby, even when you think you are ready, you are really not. Big choice here may be to purchase a smaller boat and if you like boating sell it and move up, or, take a bite out of Faith and purchase a larger boat and grow into it.
New vs. Used!
The next step is to decide if you want to buy a new or a used boat. Each has its pros and cons. New boats are unblemished and should provide you with trouble-free operation right from the start.
Used boats, on the other hand, may or may not be a better choice. You take a greater risk on the overall quality of a used boat than you do on a new boat since you don’t know the history of the boat, its maintenance, or whether it’s been involved in any type of accident or suffered damage.
For this reason you will need to hire a marine surveyor to go over the boat carefully prior to purchase. The survey will reveal any anomalies with the boat, and let you know whether you’re getting a good boat at a good price or simply buying somebody else’s headache. You will find good surveyors here in Hawaii at the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) websites.
Your own personality also comes into play. Remember, I said it was a "relationship." If you are the kind of person who must have everything perfect, then you MUST buy new, or a very little used late-model boat. If you are good mechanically, have extra time on your hands, and enjoy projects, or you simply can't afford a new boat, you'll love having a used boat.
Buy It Right, Insure It Right!
When it comes to making the actual purchase, you can either write a check for the whole thing or finance it. Depending on the type of boat and its accommodations, your boat may qualify as a “second home” so you can take a tax deduction. Check with your tax advisor. If you’re buying a used boat, be sure the asking price is in line with market prices. Discuss this with your broker.
The last couple of years have been challenging financialy for everyone. People are still changing their lives. Some are selling and heading for the mountains, however, many more are looking towards a boat purchase. New and used boat financing IS available. Another idea is to ask the boat owner for some short term financing if you need help. Worth a try.
You will also need to insure your new boat, especially if you are financing it. All harbors in Hawaii now require some sort of insurance. Ask your broker for information regarding availability and providers.
Be aware of the true cost and time commitments of being a boater. The old joke about a boat being a hole in the water you pour money into may not be far off at times, and yet a boat can provide great recreational and learning experiences for you, your family and friends. Just do some serious soul searching at original cost, insurance, interest, fuel and oil, repairs, and maintenance, etc.
I could write an entire article about "where to keep you new boat." It is a challenge in Hawaii to find suitable moorage, however, there are nice places to keep your boat here. Some private marinas allow you to assume the current slip, while State Harbors do not. Most marinas have a waiting list so get on the list. If you want to be in a certain marina and that is your goal, eventually, you will get there. Live-aboard? Now the plot thickens. Got kids and pets? You better call me. It is not impossible to purchase a boat and live-aboard, however, if you want it to be "stress-free," planning and research is very important.
Ala Wai Yacht Brokerage