How to buy a boat for you

When you want to be on the water, you have choices.

There are plenty of types, styles and sizes of boats that fit all sorts of interests and lifestyles on that water.

Make yourself a checklist of questions to help you determine the boat that best fits your lifestyle within your price range.


Question checklist

  • What will you use it for? Functionality is important. Determine if you plan to use your boat for fishing, watersports, sailing or just simply cruising up and down the water. In addition, knowing if you plan to use it in saltwater versus fresh water can help focus your choice.
  • How many are coming aboard? If you plan to have a cozy experience with only a few passengers, smaller crafts will work best. Looking to play lake tour guide to more than a dozen, you may need a pontoon or motor yacht to accommodate your larger group. Make sure to ask about safety features and consider when a boat may be too big for you to manage or handle.
  • What engine are you interested in? There are inboard, outboard, jet propulsion and more styles of engine – as well as the simple sail if you are looking for a quieter ride. If your engine style matters to you, make note of it before browsing.
  • Where will it dock? Whether you plan to dock at a marina or trailer it around, your answer can help determine if you need to consider any limitations a certain boat may have. For instance, if you are towing the boat, how are you able to get it to the water? If you plan on keeping the boat at a marina, find out if you have enough space to keep it there and safely maneuver in and out of it. Consider year-round factors, such as where you may turn for boat maintenance and if you are looking to the store your boat for an extended time, such as over the winter months.

Make sure your choice is seaworthy

Now that you have pinpointed what type of boat you want, consider a few more points to help you in making your choice…

  • Price. This can help you determine whether to buy new or used and if you should go up or down in size. If buying used, consider answering a few more questions to make sure the boat is fit for the water – and your needs.
  • Perform a sea trial. Ask to take the boat for a sea trial to determine how it rides. Come with a checklist of items to see how it performs on the water, just like you would when buying a car.
  • Survey the scene. You should consider hiring a surveyor to conduct a marine survey to inspect the boat properly. Ask a surveyor about having it hauled out to see any hidden issues below the water line. Some insurance companies require a survey to insure used boats.

Before purchasing, make sure you have the right insurance protection for your ideal boat. Understand what your insurance options will cover such as uninsured/underinsured liability, towing and assistance, hurricane haul out coverage, pet injury protection, personal effects or fishing equipment coverage and more.

Ask an independent agent about boat insurance – and the coverage options that can help keep your boating plans afloat.



Discover Boating

This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation.  By providing this information to you, The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

LC 2021-214