With Summer on the horizon, it is time to start thinking about how to upgrade your Summer free time! In my opinion, there is nothing better than being out on the water on a boat. Boating can really be summed up in one word, FREEDOM! There is something about being on a boat with the wind blowing through your hair, that has a “free” feeling to it. Maybe it is the fact that there can be wide open spaces ahead for miles? Maybe it can be the fact that you can unplug from the crazy stresses of life and relax? Maybe because you can connect with nature? No matter the reason you want to hit the water, and there are many, there is one thing you will need…A BOAT!
In today’s world that can be done in many ways. You can wait to tag along with someone that already owns a boat, but with the hectic schedule most of us have, that seldom works out and certainly doesn’t give you the freedom you are looking for! You can also rent a boat for the day and if you are planning to go boating 1-5 times a year, this isn’t a bad option! This gives you the chance to hit the water for the day but not break the bank, the caveat being that you have minimal choices. You could also join a boat club, see our past blog on owning vs boat club here: https://clemonsboats.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/boat-ownership-vs-boat-club-membership/
For this blog we will discuss the ultimate in freedom, boat ownership! What are the questions to ask yourself and how do you come up with the answers? If you use the 80/20 rule, you can really help narrow down these questions so keep that in mind. As I always recommend, find an expert and let them help you along this journey! Lets start with question number 1:
WHAT TYPE OF BOATING DO YOU WANT TO DO?
This would be the first question to ask yourself! If you plan to fish 90% of the time, than it would be a great idea to spend your time looking at fishing boats! If you want to do serious water-sports than you would need to be looking at a tournament type ski boat or a bow-rider that has a tower and some water-sports equipment. How about if you want to be able to sleep on the boat? Won’t that effect the type of boat purchase you need to make? Of course most of this sounds obvious, but it is the first step in the process. For many families looking to upgrade their summer, this isn’t a one size fits all proposition. What if the Dad wants to fish, Mom wants to read at the sandbar, Tommy wants to wake-board, and Susie wants to sunbathe while listening to her Ipod? As I tend to say, this is one of those times to contact a professional to help you through this process and maybe open up your eyes to possibilities you didn’t look into before. The word here would be COMPROMISE. Unfortunately, nobody makes the perfect end all boat that can do everything….yet!
WHERE WILL I BE BOATING?
As one could imagine, this can change what boat you want dramatically. There are differences in every body of water that will require you to look at different boats such as: Horsepower limits, saltwater vs freshwater, water depth, wave height and trough, ramp access, tow vehicle, etc. I like to use the 80/20 rule and base most of the decision on when/where/how I will use the boat 80% of the time. This will narrow your search down dramatically. This will greatly effect boat size no matter how many people you want to take along! If the water isn’t deep enough for a 30fter, or it is too rough for a 13 fter than you will need to compromise.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE GOING WITH US MOST OF THE TIME?
Once you have figured out your basic uses, it is now time to see what size of a craft you will need to hold everyone you plan to take! You maybe be a younger couple who wants to boat in an inland waterway with a couple friends 80% of the time. In this case, you could get away with a much smaller boat than a family of 10! Do not just look at this as a person capacity issue either. That is important but so is space on the boat itself…if you are jammed to the gills…you won’t be feeling very “free”! Safety is also a big factor here and you want to be sure that the boat you buy can not only handle the people you plan to take, but has some buffer and can still perform correctly.
This can tie to the above, but how much horsepower do you need to do what you want on the water? If you want to take 2 people out fishing all day on a 3 acre inland lake than your answer will of course be far different than a person skiing all day with a boat full of teenagers! You also need to look at economy vs power and decide if the trade offs are worth it for you. Maybe that extra 50hp is costing you more than it is gaining you? One thing on this subject I will say is this: There is no replacement for displacement! If you are planning to run a boat with plenty of people on board, do not fall for too small of an engine! I have ran new boats back to back under different loads and some you would swear aren’t even the same boat. They run great with 2 people and fall on their face with 8 even though the HP rating is the same. Test this out for yourself at an on water event, you will be surprised. On another note, remember that although economy is certainly important, if you can’t enjoy the experience fully than economy won’t matter! Owning a boat is about having fun and an under-powered boat sure can take the fun out of it!
DOCKING, RACK STORAGE, TRAILERING, DRY STORAGE?
How you will get to the water will also play a big role in what type and size of boat you will want. Do you own a vehicle big enough to tow the boat you need? Maybe trailering isn’t your best bet after-all? Marinas in our area generally offer plenty of options here from a simple dock, to rack storage, to dry storage. This can be a big factor in how much you enjoy the experience so take some time deciding how you will do this. If trailering the boat stresses you out, then maybe that isn’t your best option! Look at all of your options and again use the 80/20 rule to decide on the best method for YOU!
This is of course on everyone’s mind! Upgrading your summer fun will come at a cost and you need to decide how much that budget will be. Keep in mind that you have equipment, fuel, storage, etc., so keep all of this in mind as you are making a decision to ensure that your time spent on the water is fully enjoyed! You have pre-owned as an option and buying from a reputable dealer is always a good idea. You also have many brands to choose from that range from low to high on the price scale. What you value will drive this decision and point you in the right direction to get the most bang for YOUR buck!
I am biased here, but this process will be made much simpler by meeting with a boating professional. Talking to someone who has been on the water their entire life and knows the ins and outs of boating will be a great help to your boat shopping. You will know when you meet a professional when they start asking you the above questions and steer you in the direction that best suits your needs. All of this process can be done painless and hassle free so you can spend more time planning your Summer fun!!!! This blog is just the tip of the iceberg, but a great place to start. You have about 2 months Before Lake Eries boating season really gets started, what are you waiting for?!?!?!?
See you on the water,
Clemons Boats - Life is better on a boat!