8. Mega Electronics Array
The only electronics device you absolutely need is a VHF radio. If your radio is equipped with DSC (digital selective calling), you’ll need a GPS, a good combination to have in an emergency. Most folks think that a GPS chart plotter is also a “must have.” While handy as a second opinion to navigational input, never depend on it alone. Save money and buy up-to-date paper charts. A depth sounder, or a fish finder for anglers, is a worthwhile purchase, but few of us need to spend $3,500 minimum for radar. If you’re sticking to one brand, save money with a multifunction unit.
9. Stainless-Steel Props
Don’t get talked into upgrading to a stainless-steel prop unless all you care about is top-end speed or you run a big boat in heavy seas. The best you can hope for is 2 to 4 mph over an aluminum prop, and some boats will show no improvement at all. While harder to break, stainless steel is also harder and more expensive to repair. For general small-boat service below 50 mph, go aluminum and avoid the $200-plus price increase.
10. Low-Interest Loan Rate
Sounds counterintuitive, but if you don’t plan on keeping your boat long term, a lower bottom-line price might be better than accepting a super deal on low interest payments, which usually add up costing more.
Top speed is only for bragging rights. According to the ICOMIA (International Council of Marine Industry Associations), the average boater runs flat out 6 percent of the time. We spend 40 percent of the time at idle and another 40 percent at cruising speeds. You’re actually paying upfront for power you’ll rarely need, plus lugging around extra weight that’s killing economy — and maybe even your top speed.