Buying a Boat
What You Need to Know
There’s no doubt about it: life on the lake is good, and one of the best vantages from which to enjoy it is on the water itself. This is where having the right boat comes in handy. After all, not everyone’s idea of aquatic bliss is identical, so there is no one boat that will be perfectly suited to everyone.
We know our boats and we know our lake lovers, so we definitely know how to match the right boat to the right person.
Read on to find out what boat, boating accessories, licence information and storage tips you’ll need to make your boat-owning dreams a reality.
Step 1: Find Your Dream Boat
When it comes to buying a boat, one of the very first things you’ll want to consider is what you plan to use that boat for and, by extension, the kind of water you will be frequenting. There are dozens of ways you could classify boats, but for the purposes of our tips, we are going to classify them into 4 different categories.
Fishing: Arguably, any boat could be used for fishing, but when we talk about fishing boats, we are talking about boats designed specifically for fishing. These boats will have swivel seating, bait tanks, rod storage, and often live wells. Larger fishing boats will also have galleys and sleeping quarters, but for most recreational lake fishing, the boats will have 2 to 4 seats and usually no protective covering.
Motorized Leisure: We’re talking pontoon boats, speed boats, jet boats, and even ski-doos. These are the boats that you would use for cruising around the lake. The exact type of leisure craft you’d want will depend on how many people you need to accommodate as well as how far off-shore you plan to go. Pontoons, for example, have room for more people (think a leisurely outing with friends/family), whereas a jet-ski will only fit 1 or 2 people.
Utility: This kind of boat is one of the most popular boats we rent at the lake and they can be used for many purposes. While not designed for fishing, their tough and durable build and relatively flat bottoms make them perfect for trolling shallow waters and smaller lakes. They are also ideal for marshy areas. Alternatively, you can think about buying a boat like this if you want an affordable craft for puttering along the shoreline for a little cruise.
Motorless Leisure: Sailboats, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, paddleboats – motorless boats are by far the most popular kinds of boats. Not only are they the most affordable, but they are easy to transport and, like the utility boat, can be used for multiple purposes (e.g. fishing, exercise, leisurely cruising, basic transportation).
Once you’ve decided what kind of boat you wish to buy, next you need to consider what accessories you’ll need.
Step 2: Get Decked Out
When you’re buying a boat, you need to buy all the necessary accessories – and maybe even some fun accessories you don’t need.
- Docking rope
- Safety Kit
- Roof Racks/Boat Trailer (depending on the kind of boat you purchase)
You may want:
- An extra battery
- An anchor
- Boat fenders
- Fish finder
Again, the accessories you want will depend on how you intend to use your boat. You won’t need a fish finder, for instance, if you don’t plan on fishing and your paddle boat probably won’t need boat fenders and definitely won’t need a battery.
Step 3: The Paper Work
Finally, let’s talk details. You can’t just buy a boat and then set sail; you require a licence to boat in Canada. This licence comes in the form of a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, and you need one to boat on Canadian waters regardless of your experience, age, the size of the boat or the size of the engine. You can get this licence online, so it’s convenient and quick.
Also, if you are planning to fish, you will need to make sure you have your fishing licence and are properly equipped for your fishing trip with knowledge about what fish are in season and which are not.
Step 4: Storing Your Boat
Properly storing your boat is essential if you want to protect your investment and add years to the life of your craft. Prolonged exposure to the elements – especially harsh winters – can cause cracks, leaks and other structural and mechanical damage. If you have a small craft, like a paddle boat or canoe, you can may be able to store your boat in your garage (depending on how that autumn-cleaning went), but if you have a bigger boat, you are probably going to be looking into storage. Before you store, you will want to have the engine winterized and/or your boat shrink wrapped. If you are storing your boat inside, you can forgo the shrink wrap, but the winterization is a must to protect the engine’s integrity. If you are storing your boat outside, you will want to both winterize the engine and shrink wrap the boat to prevent mechanical and structural damage. (We offer both storage options at Loughborough Marina, so contact us if your ‘water wheels’ need a place to crash for the winter.)
Buying a boat – your dream boat – should definitely be one of the highlights of your year – just make sure you have your bases covered so you don’t end up in over your head or compromising your purchase. Use these tips to help guarantee smooth sailing for years to come.