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Boats and Your Budget

Boats docked at the bay at Avalon, Catalina Island.
Boats docked at the bay at Avalon, Catalina Island on Oct. 25, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Nick Ng)

I’m starting to get into fishing. I was never into it as a kid, but now that I’m an adult and on my own, I have been fishing on weekends to unwind. I love it, even if I’m not all that great (yet)!

I have a bit of disposable income, so I’ve been thinking about getting a boat to fish out of. I’m not really sure how much I should budget for a boat, though. I don’t have enough for a really fancy thing, but I’m not sure I need something like that just for fishing. I don’t know if cheaper boats are really worth the money — it seems like something I might not want to cheap out on too much. I mean, I don’t want to sink!

Experts, what can you tell me about buying boats? How should I budget for such a purchase, and what should I look for?

Boats can be a lot of fun, and they’re certainly a big help to fishermen and women who want to see what they can catch out on the open water. But before you settle on the boat that you’ll buy, you have a lot of questions to answer and things to consider.

First of all, you should note the different types of boats that you could get. When it comes to fishing, you can use everything from a yacht to a rowboat, so you should think about what else you want in a boat. Do you want luxury? Speed? Will you want to bring friends and family members out on your boat? Would you like to be able to swim or dive off of your boat?

If you decide you want a small, lean, and affordable boat, then a small craft with an outboard trolling motor will probably be sufficient. Those can be very affordable, and you can use them off of smaller docks and boat launches, which could be a good fit for you as you look for your next favorite fishing spot.

On the other hand, you may decide that you’re looking for something that allows for a bit more adventure. If that’s the case, the pros at Newport Vessels suggest looking into some more versatile boating options. Some boats are even, appropriately enough, called fishing boats. Take a look at a few and see what they have to offer, including storage space, comfortable seats for when you’re waiting for a nibble, and more.

Regardless of what boat you end up looking at, be sure to stay within your budget. You may later choose to sell your boat and make some of your money back, but you should focus on getting a boat that you can afford. You may decide to take out a loan, but be mindful of the monthly payment — and don’t forget about expenses like insurance and maintenance, which should be factored into your budget. Boats tend to depreciate, which is okay: a boat is something to be enjoyed, not some kind of financial strategy. But you should be aware that the money you spend on your boat won’t be coming back to you, and that you’ll have other expenses to worry about when it comes time to maintain it. Get a great boat that suits your budget, and you can count on superior construction to keep maintenance manageable.

Once you have a boat, be sure to educate yourself about how to best pilot it, as well as about any and all maintenance, repair, and off-season preservation needs that your boat may demand. There are so many things to learn and explore about boat ownership, so check out online resources, books, and the pros who work at your local marina. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or to introduce yourself as a new (or soon-to-be) boat owner!

Boating is a hobby unto itself, and it’s certainly one that will complement your existing fishing hobby well. We think you’ll really enjoy shopping for, buying, and owning your very own boat.


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Boats and Your Budget