Data shows that there are over 900,000 registered boats around Australia. If you add all the small sail and paddle craft that do not require registration, the estimate increases to close to 1.8 million craft that Aussies of all walks of life enjoy.
'Old salts' will tell you that owning the right boat increases your enjoyment on the water immensely. By nature, we tend to take an aspirational approach and look beyond our needs, however that is not always the best path for those looking to get into boating for the first time.
Buying your first boat is exciting for all the family. As the skipper, knowing that you have the right boat goes a long way to ensure you enjoy the experience and that your time on the water is not hindered by having a vessel that does not suit your needs.
Buying a boat is a very personal choice, so take your time and do your research. There are a lot of choices. Allow enough time to explore different types of boats and different brands within each category. This is often a big investment that will change your life.
Begin by narrowing down your choices. Ask yourself the following questions: What do I want to do with the boat? Where do I want to go boating? Who is going with me? How many people should the boat carry? Will we be going offshore? If you are trailering, do you have a car that is capable of doing so? Overnighting? Entertaining? Fishing? Water skiing? How much am I willing to spend on boating? The answers to these questions will help guide your decisions.
Narrow your choices to a short list of boat types or categories and make lists of features you require, features you would like, and features you want to avoid.
Once you have narrowed down your category choices, the real fun begins. It's time to go shopping. Remember, you are interviewing your dealer as well as searching for your perfect boat. You want to find the right boat-brand-dealer combination. Look for a Boating Industry Association (BIA) member [R&M Marine Services]. Ask similar questions to each dealer to compare 'apples with apples'. You may not know the exact boat you want yet but you know what kind of experience and service you want to have, so don't be afraid to ask the hard questions.
The BIA has a handy web site DiscoverBoating.com.au where you can start your journey. You will find topics such as Boat Types, Boat Buying Tips, New vs Used, Boat Finance, Cost of Boat Ownership and a simple Boat Buyers check list.
Boating and the joys and benefits associated with it are being celebrated Australia-wide during National Boating Week.
Fittingly, the week will occur alongside with National Safe Boating Week organised and delivered by the Australia New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG). Today the focus is on educating the boating public that safe boating is about knowing and following the rules, like always keeping to the right side of a channel or fairway and this simple practice can go a long way in reducing accidents on the water. Find out more at https://www.amsa.gov.au/national-safe-boating-week