Which is the right boat for me?
Hints & Tips
It has been proven that quality of life can be vastly improved by enjoying outdoor activities. Boating is a great recreational activity and can be enjoyed individually or within a group. With so many different boat types around, it is worthwhile taking time to consider what you want to do in your leisure time with your boat:
- Socialise with family and friends
- Sail in coastal waters
- Go Fishing – fresh or saltwater
- Entertain guests and family
- Race and compete
- Sleeping on-board – For a few nights or permanently
- Water sports
- Cruise – Either UK waters or further a field
- Enjoy inland waterways and lakes
Deciding what you want from your boating time before you make a purchase will make life easier and save you a lot of money in the long term. Buying a boat is a large financial investment you therefore need to make sure that you are going to get the most out of it.
There are numerous different boat types available and your choice of boat will affect the activity type that can be enjoyed.
Sailboards – Sailboards are relatively cheap in terms of initial outlay costs. They can be enjoyed on coastal and inland waters, but will generally be used on inland lakes. Sailboards are a solo form of water sport, yet competing can take place and numerous people can sail at the same time on the same stretch of water. Sailboards are easy to transport by car (using a roof rack) and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and ability.
Canoes and Kayaks – Can be used solo or with a friend, great for people of all ages and ability. Canoes and kayaks are mostly used on inland waterways and lakes; they can also be used on more treacherous waters for white water rafting. This boat type is widely used for competitions as well as for leisure purposes. Many leisure centres offer Canoe & Kayak training making it easy to initially get involved in the sport.
Rowing Boats – Different types of rowing boat are available, some with and some without an outboard motor. Fishing is a great pastime that can be enjoyed by owning a rowing boat, be this for coastal or inland fishing. Rowing boats can be used solo or with friends and/or family.
Canal and Narrowboats – Not only are Narrowboats great for short trips through the relaxing and scenic UK's waterways, they can also be used as a permanent living residence. Capital required to purchase this form of boat is high as the vast majority of canal and narrow boats are made to order, however they can be purchased second hand.
Sailing Dinghy – Dinghies come in many forms and allow you to enjoy both coastal and inland waters. Dinghies can be purchased across a vast price range and are therefore accessible financially for most boaters. Owning a dinghy can bring enjoyment on a solo basis, or the boat can accommodate a group of people. Fishing, sailing and racing are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed through owning a dinghy.
Motorboats and Speedboats – Motor boats and Speedboats can vary greatly in price; however they have a great deal to offer. They can be enjoyed by family and friends and may be used for an overnight stay. Best used on large lakes and coastal waters this type of boat can be used for water sports and leisure purposes.
Once you are sure what boat type to go for, it is worthwhile looking online for boats and visiting local and recommended boat dealerships. This way you can get more of a feel for the boats on offer and it may be at this stage that you can start to get a feel for the models within your price range and that offer you the facilities that you require. Always make sure that you shop around and look both at private and dealership offerings. Don't rush, especially if you are looking at a large financial investment or you will be using the boat as permanent living space. If it is a rowing boat, canoe, kayak or sailboard that you are purchasing, you may find online stores cheaper for the products and related accessories. Remember that you may have to wait some time before you are able to pick up your boat, especially if it is being made to order. Delivery times may also be longer on a boat purchase as not all boats will be easily transported to your chosen destination on a trailer. Arrangements may need to be made to lift a second hand boat out of the water and transport it to the new mooring, find out from the offset who is going to pay for this.
Whilst going through the process of purchasing your boat, make sure that you start to learn the rules of boating and find out what is expected of you once you take to the water. You need to know how your boat functions and what to do in the event of an emergency. There are a number of training courses available through the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).