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12 Important Questions to Ask When Buying a Boat for Fishing

If you're not sure which questions to ask when buying a boat, don't worry. This list will help by encouraging you to think about everything from buying a used boat versus a new fishing boat to key livewell features and rod storage.

1. Where do you plan to use the boat?

In other words, will you be fishing for redfish on the flats in just a few feet of water? Fishing nearshore reefs? Or, heading offshore to troll for kingfish? These are among the first questions to ask when buying a fishing boat.

2. What is the average number of people you expect to have on board?

Smaller flats boats or skiffs generally have capacity for up to three or four anglers, whereas larger bay or offshore boats have the capacity for five or more.

3. What is your price range?

One of the next questions to ask when buying a fishing boat pertains to budget-range. If you've been asking yourself, "Should I buy a fishing boat given my budget?" Remember, there are fishing boats available at a variety of price ranges to suit every budget.

4. Should you look at buying a new boat or a used boat?

Buying a used boat can be a good idea for boaters with experience, but new boaters might be better off with a new boat that comes with a manufacturer's warranty. If considering a used boat, it's wise to research the best used boat brands and models.

5. What kind of warranty does this boat come with?

Find out what the manufacturer's warranty covers and for what period of time.

6. Which features are important for the type of fishing you plan to do?

This is one of the most important questions to ask when buying a new boat for fishing. Check for an adequate number of rod holders, and fish boxes.

7. Are there enough rod storage compartments and places to mount additional rod holders if needed?

Many boats have rod lockers or rod storage under the deck and gunnels, but make sure there are enough flush-mount rod holders to keep your rods readily accessible when the big ones are biting.

8. What type of livewell does the boat have?

Make sure the boat has a conveniently located, aerated livewell system. Look for livewell features that include a recirculation function, a timer for automatic water/oxygen recirculation, and a pump-out system for water removal.

9. Is there a large enough casting deck?

Two anglers should be able to comfortably cast from the front deck. Ample deck space will be important if you have a family that enjoys fishing together.

10. How much horsepower do you need?

Many boating experts suggest that you consider where your boating needs might be four years from now, and that you purchase ample motor power.

11. Have you factored in storage, insurance and maintenance?

Think about where you will keep your boat, check into insurance, and consider fuel/maintenance. You'll also want to check into your state's boat registration requirements.

12. Have you taken your top two boat choices for a sea-trial at either a boat show or through a dealer?

If you were buying a new car, you'd be taking it for a test drive, a new boat shouldn't be any different.

Since you have a sample list of important questions to ask when buying a boat for fishing, it will be easier for you to start the boat shopping process. If you are a new to boating, check out our page on Boating Basics for New Boat Owners. Tight lines and happy boating!


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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.