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Choosing Your Boat
14th Jun 2011

Choosing a Boat. You’ve got your boat licence. What’s next? Choosing the right boat!

Here’s few things to consider but you should always seek reliable, professional advice from your State industry or Government body.

Type of Boat

First consider your lifestyle, finances and what you’ll be using the boat for.  Do you want a boat for water skiing, sailing, fishing or cruising around in?  Boats are designed with a specific activity in mind so you get the comfort, performance, safety and enjoyment you are looking for.  There is a huge variety of new power boats & yachts and used power boats & yachts available through the Yacht and Boat Classifieds Directory including Fishing Boats, Inflatables, Aluminium Boats, Catamarans, Sail Boats & Motor Yachts.

Where to Boat

Next, consider where are you going to go on your boat.  If you want to go deep sea fishing, a little runabout isn’t going to be the right boat for the job but if you want to catch fresh water fish in your local river or estuary it will be perfect.  So consider whether your boat will be heading for the  lake, river, estuary, harbour and/or ocean.  Make sure you refer to  the Charts, Maps and Tides section for information specific to your State or Territory.

What Size Boat

How many people do you want to take with you on your boat?  Just yourself, the family, or a larger group of friends?  The carrying capacity of your boat will be a major factor on your checklist.  Once you have decided on the number of people you want to carry you will need to consider the amenities on board such as cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.  Yacht and Boat currently have a range of different sizes boats available through the Boats for Sale section.   Here you can research different sizes and enquire about testing the ones in your price range.

Children on Boats

Boating is a great way to spend time with your children. It is important to carefully consider their needs before making your purchase.  Consider a boat that has a cuddy cabin. Runabouts, bow riders and deck boats, even some center console fishing boats are sometimes equipped with a small cuddy cabin to offer refuge for the kids if they need a nap or are getting too much sun.  Another vital element for children is correctly fitting lifejackets or PFD's (personal floatation devices). When your children are young (1-5 yrs) you will find that a new PFD will need to be purchased every 1-2 years to ensure a correct fit as the child grows.  For children under 3-4 yrs, a Type 1 PFD is recommended as it will support their head above water if they fall in.  Older children may be able to use a Type 2 PFD or Type 3 life vest which do not have a head support and allows them more freedom of movement.

Engine Capacity

Engine power.  Your boat will have a minimum and a maximum capacity for you to work within.   Whether you want to get where you going fast or at a more leisurely pace will depend on the size motor you will need.  Motors come in inboard, outboard or jet and can be diesel or petrol.  

Mooring, Storing & Marina Berths

Where do you plan on keeping your boat?  For example, are you going moor it locally?  Do want it kept at a marina where you can walk on and walk off?  Do you want to keep it at home and tow it to the launch ramp of choice?  If you do intent to tow your boat make sure your car is going to be capable of towing the load.  Our Boating Best Practices and The Environment page has some information on how to launch your boat at a boat ramp.

Make of Boat

This leads on to what your boat is made of.  The type of hull will be usually be determined by where you are going store and maintain your boat and what activities you are going to dong in it.  Wood, aluminium, fiberglass and plastic (inflatable) are some types to consider.  Most boats are single hull but cataramans and tri-marans come under a multi hull category.

Seeking Professional Advice

Armed with your checklist you are ready to start searching for your new boat.  A boat broker / boat dealer will be able to show you boats that may meet your requirements.  They will also be able to make important buying, safety and insurance recommendations and help you buy your boat with confidence.  Some states of Australia have "Accredited" brokers.  The requirements for accreditation in each State currently vary.   Consult the industry body in your State for a list of Accredited brokers.

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