Buying a Boat? Answer These 5 Questions First

Financial Advice Loans


3 min. read

By: FCU Team

Boats and Floridians go together like peanut butter and jelly. As of 2018, there were more than 950,000 registered boats in the state of Florida! That number has likely risen since then, meaning there’s probably a boat in Florida for every twenty or so people! If you’re yearning to stretch your sea legs and join that group of boat owners, make sure you answer these five questions before you set sail.

1. What Type of Boat Do You Want?

Looking for an all-purpose fishing boat? A deck boat to take the in-laws out on a Sunday morning cruise? Choosing the right boat is the key to living the lifestyle you want, and that means knowing what you can and can’t do with the boat you purchase. Would you take a sports car off-roading? Of course not! That’s why researching options should be your first step.

2. New or Used?

As with cars, a used boat will obviously have a lower price tag than a new boat. Depending on the materials used in construction, how long it’s been in use and how well it’s been maintained, a used boat might not be that different from a new one. Doing your due diligence is imperative if you intend to buy a used boat. This includes inspecting the boat yourself of course, but also looking for professionals to survey the boat as well. With a new boat, you can avoid these steps but might pay more. Plus, most new boats come with a warranty, and having that extra peace of mind might just be worth it for you.

3. Can You Afford it?

Regardless of which boat you’d like, it’s more important to know if you’ll be able to afford it. If you are unable to pay full price, you’ll need to secure financing and this means you’ll not only need to consider the down payment, but also the monthly payments that will follow. If you don’t have established credit history, keep in mind that you’ll need to prove your trustworthiness as a borrower. What’s your borrowing history like? What’s your credit score? Do you have stable employment?

These are all questions a loan officer will ask when reviewing your application for financing to determine whether you’re approved or not. If you do receive financing, consider what the terms of approval will look like and the impact it could have on your budget. Do you want a boat if it will keep you from accomplishing some of your other financial goals?

As with most vehicle purchases, the initial price is only the beginning of the money you may have to invest. A boat purchase might also mean having to spring for insurance to prepare for any damage that might befall your boat. Your boat will also incur other costs, like fuel, maintenance, and potential storage costs, as we will see in the next section.

Take a look at what a monthly payment might look like with our FCU Vehicle Payment calculator!

4. Where Will You Keep It?

Storing a boat is a big expense depending on the size of your vessel and your location. The reality is a boat is an investment, and you need to protect your investment! If you don’t already have a place for storage, you’ll need to consider options. If you live near a body of water, building a dock is a good, but potentially costly, solution. You can also rent storage, but will have to plan for a constant rent cost.

5. Do You Have Time for a Boat?

There’s an old proverb that goes as follows: “The two happiest days in a boat owner's life: the day you buy the boat, and the day you sell the boat.” Whether you have the money and storage to keep your boat is irrelevant if you won’t have the time or passion to use it! Taking a look at your life, work and relationships and seeing if you’ll have the time to commit to using it is paramount for any would-be boat owner. How many days a year will you realistically use your boat, and are the various costs associated with its purchase and upkeep worth those fun days?

If you’ve got the money and time to commit to your hobby and a thirst for aquatic adventure, every day you own your boat could be the happiest day of your life.

Boat Loans With FCU

If you wish to finance a boat to get out on the water as fast as possible, FCU is the place to go. New or used, FCU financing can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the boat of your dreams. Learn more about our loan offerings, and options to refinance existing loans from other institutions.