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Buying a New Boat

When buying a new boat, it's easy to go to a boat show and get swept up by all the different makes and models. At my first show I searched for boats in my price range and before I knew it I was looking at platforms more expensive than my house! Fail to plan, plan to fail, and nowadays I go in with a more focused approach. Some tips to find a boat that will treat you right.
 

  1. Majority Rules. Pick a boat that will best serve the water you fish during the majority of your season. I love the sleek look of a flats skiff, but there are maybe a dozen days per year where the water is flat enough to make one a viable purchase. Calm waters are great for flat bottomed boats, moderate chop calls for a modified vee hull, and big, rolling seas require a deep vee. No one boat will do it all, so pick one that best serves your home waters.
  2. Special Regulations. Account for specific rules that apply to your home water. It doesn't make sense to research gas outboards if your local water only allows for electric motors. Research the top areas you'll fish regularly and find a boat that follows the regulations.
  3. Size matters. Your friends will come out of the woodwork when you get a new boat, so give serious thought as to how many folks will accompany you on your trips. Then you'll get a clear idea of the length, beam and horsepower required for that fishing party.
  4. Got mechanical skills? If so, you might explore a used boat. If not, a new boat might be a better option.
  5. Money talks. Don't spend all of your money on a hull, outboard, and trailer. You'll want a radio, electronics like a GPS Chartplotter/Depth Finder, life preservers, fishing tackle, fenders, anchors and lines, and the like. Factor those add-on items into your budget so when you launch at the ramp you're not stressed out by bills!

Check our Boat Comparison Tool. Depending on your boating goals and dreams, you can find out which type of boat will be best suited to your particular lifestyle. Buying a new boat is exciting and fun, and with a solid plan you'll look forward to every day on the water.


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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.