When buying a new boat we almost always ask the wrong question. We look at the list of options and joyfully ponder what we want to add on. Fun, but is it the right approach? The smarter question just might be “What do I need to leave off?”
I know that goes against our way of life, and I understand that boats are by nature black holes wanting to suck in every toy in the 1,080-page West Marine catalog. But don’t give in to temptation.
If you’re the kind of guy who can’t help himself, stop reading right here — I’m probably not going to change your mind. There’s a good article a few pages earlier on cool gear you’ve just got to have. However, for those who want to get the most for their dollar in terms of enjoyment and a better boating experience, listen up while I tell you how to get more from less.
Simplicity is a wonderful thing. All you have to do is ask yourself: Do I really need...
Why buy a bigger boat and not get more usable room? It happens all the time when folks trade up to a cruiser. Think of the times you’ve seen a party of friends crammed into an aft cockpit. The boat may be bigger than yours, but most of the added space is down below. Unless you’re going to be doing a lot of overnighters, all that room only becomes a place to stow more junk. For most of us, we’re better off buying a big day boat with plenty of open deck space where we’ll really spend our time, and maybe a small cuddy.
On midsize cruisers or fish boats you’ll probably have a choice: gas or diesel. While the resale value of a diesel-powered boat is often greater (and it will provide greater range if you need it), so is the original cost — by a huge margin. Is it worth it? Figure it will take at least 500 hours and quite a few seasons before the diesel’s better fuel economy pays back the extra cost. Gas might be the way to go.
3. Docking Lights
Here’s a bad idea: Let’s put two big, bright lights in the bow where they are most vulnerable, aim them so they only shine where the bow is pointing and then offer them for an extra $400, dealer installed.