What To Look For When Buying A Boat

Many Australians dream of owning a boat one day. Cruising the open waters and spending quality time with family and friends can be a great way to relax and explore. And when it comes to fishing, owning a boat unlocks a whole new world of possibilities. But before you set sail, there are a few things to consider when buying a new or used boat.

Let's look at some of the factors you need to take into account before taking ownership of your dream boat.

1. Decide what kind of boat you want.

From tinnies to yachts, there’s a range of different boats available. To help narrow down your options, consider what you’ll be using your boat for. Will you use it to explore coastal waters or venture further out? Do you plan to take it fishing or use it for fun days out on the water?

When you know what kind of boat you want, start researching what’s available.

Read online reviews and compare prices. Make sure you factor in the costs associated with servicing, registration, and taking out insurance with a leading insurance company.

2. Think about the size and power that best suits your needs

Smaller boats are generally cheaper and easier to store, while larger boats have more space, power, and stability. The number of people you plan to have on board should be considered too. You will also have to decide how much power you need. Calculating the maximum outboard engine power required to safely and comfortably handle the conditions and number of people you plan on having onboard is an important step

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    3. Determine your budget and what you can afford

    Setting a budget before buying a boat is crucial to ensure that you are buying something that fits within the limits of what you can afford. Estimating the total cost of buying, maintaining, and using the boat over time is important in order to determine your budget. You should examine details such as running costs, servicing costs, fuel costs, and insurance in order to make sure that buying a boat still allows you to live comfortably while enjoying its recreational pleasures.

    4. Decide on the features you want, such as a cabin, deck, or kitchen

    Recreational-powered vessels come in many shapes and sizes, with a range of features available. If you plan on staying out overnight or for longer periods, consider purchasing a boat with a cabin or living space. If you’re an avid fisher, look for features such as a fishing deck and rod holders. A kitchen or BBQ area could also be handy for long days out on the water.

    5. Consider safety and maintenance

    Safety should be a top priority when selecting your boat. Look for features such as electronic navigation systems, sturdy seating, life jackets, life rafts, and flares. Having a professional marine surveyor assess the vessel for any potential maintenance issues before you purchase is highly recommended. Don't hesitate to request to take your new boat out on a sea trial. This way, you can test how it handles various conditions and get a better understanding of the boat’s features. Also, think about the maintenance requirements of different boats, as some will require more time and effort than others.

    Knowing the vessel's hull identification number (HIN) is important not only for legal registration and proof of ownership but also for getting parts and information specific to your particular vessel, which can be very helpful when making repairs or maintenance decisions down the road.

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    6. Get a professional inspection before making any final decisions

    Boats can be a major investment, so it's important to ensure that you're making the right decision. Getting a professional inspection by a qualified marine surveyor will provide valuable insight and advice on whether the boat is in good condition and can provide advice on any maintenance requirements. They will inspect the boat’s hull, engine, and other elements of the boat’s systems to determine their condition and alert you to any potential problems.

    Pros and cons of buying a boat

    Boat ownership can be a chance to have some family fun exploring the wonderful waterways of Australia. However, there are a few pros and cons to consider before taking the plunge.


    • You will have access to your boat whenever you want, allowing for fun days of exploring or fishing
    • A boat can help create special memories with family and friends
    • Boats can be a great investment, potentially increasing in value over time


    • Boats require routine maintenance and repairs which can be costly
    • Insurance and registration fees will add to the cost of ownership
    • Boats can be difficult and dangerous to operate without proper training and experience.

    Final thoughts

    Buying a boat can be an exciting and rewarding experience if done right. Doing your research beforehand, setting a budget, and getting a professional inspection are all important steps in the boat buying process. Ultimately, if you consider all these factors, it should be relatively easy to find a boat that fits your needs and improves your lifestyle for many years to come. Just like shopping around for the right boat, it's important to shop around for the right boat finance option.

    That's where Driva comes in (and you thought we were only a car finance company!).

    All you have to do is provide us with some details on the boat you're looking at and a few details about your personal profile, and we'll use our state-of-the-art technology to scour thousands of lender policies to see which ones fit you best. You never have to worry about any hits on your credit score either! Now with your boat license in hand and Driva by your side, you can get your loan approved, pick up your boat and make waves in no time! 

    With Driva, you can find exactly what you need from private sales and dealerships, or let us match you with an experienced boat dealer who has the perfect perfect boat for you.

    Happy sailing!


    How to buy a boat in Australia?

    The process of boat buying in Australia will largely depend on the type of boat you are interested in, as well as its size and features. Generally, however, you should research different models and makes, find an available vessel that matches your needs, get it inspected by a qualified marine surveyor for any potential maintenance issues, obtain insurance and registration, and get a boat finance option.

    Is it worth spending money on a boat?

    A boat can be a great investment and an excellent way to create lasting memories with family and friends, as well as having access to fun days out on the water. However, it’s important to consider all costs associated with owning a boat in order to make sure that it is worth spending money on.

    Is GST payable on second-hand boats?

    GST is not usually payable on second-hand boats that you buy from a private seller. On the other hand, GST is generally payable when you buy a boat from a dealer.

    Do boats need to be registered?

    Yes. All new recreational powered vessels must be registered with an Australian state or territory marine authority. While personal watercraft such as jet skis must also be registered, kayaks and  canoes do not need to be registered

    Declan Flaherty

    As the Digital Marketing Manager at Driva you can find Declan during the day transfixed by a flurry of spreadsheets, mar-tech, Slack emojis and graphs all pointing in the right direction and keeping up to date with the latest car finance trends.

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