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Hi All,

I'm looking to buy my first sailboat.

I need some advice on the process.

What if you find the boat you want to buy but haven't secured a marina where you can dock the boat?

I imagine it is quite a different process than buying a car or a motorcycle - getting a surveyor involved if necessary, etc.

I don't want to get ahead of myself in the boat buying process - any advice or experiences you can share would be welcome.

Thanks,

Mike
 

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Multi-task!? ;)

Start by figuring out wheryou want to have the boat.. Call marinas in that area to get costs and availability..all while perusing ads for boats.
Call the best three back and get info on depth of slips, actual cost per foot and tidal data, thengo "visit". a few of the chosen boats. Find a boat that's closest/best buy/meets criteria and call marina about same. an. get. actual quote on fees for. THAT boat..
Make decision and set date ttransfer title (?) and. call marina to set arrival n ndate to suit purchase date..
Make purchase. Call tthe bmarine and informtthem you'rre on tthe way.

Easy-peasy :)
 

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The process is as described above, with some exceptions. It really depends on where you live and want the boat. In some areas slips are plentiful. They may be reasonable or expensive but still plentiful. In other areas, you may have a waiting list of 3 months to five years dependent on how particular you are about where you want the boat.

Call around in your area and see what availablity looks like. If it is difficult, then spend a few dollars to get on the waiting list to get a slip. If they call before you buy the boat, make a decision based on where you are in the process. If they don't call, find an alternative for the season which may be transient and expensive.

Like everything, it is location, location, location.
 

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If you are lucky enough to have a lot of choices in marinas, don't feel like you're stuck with any one if you find it isn't a good fit (weird dock neighbors, management, ease of getting in and out of slip, amenities, etc.). Maybe keep the boat there for a month or season and shop around at your leisure. When we stay at different marinas for the weekend we usually inquire about rates and look at it with an eye towards moving. In our case it always confirms that we made the right choice.
 
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Working out a realistic budget would be a good start. How much do you want to spend initially on a boat, and how much in annual cost for the slip, insurance, and maintenance.
 

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Hey,

Before you do anything, you must find out where you will keep the boat. There is no point in finding the perfect boat at the perfect price and then finding you can't find a place to keep it.

Around here (north shore of Long Island) there are NO slips available. At least none for a reasonable price. There are moorings available: most harbors have mooring fields that the town manages and / or private companies. You can put a boat on a mooring today for a reasonable price and then get on a waiting list for a slip but it may take 5-10 years to get the slip.

So, I suggest finding a place to keep a boat, then start looking for a boat. Of course first you need to come up your boat buying budget, boat maintenance budget, and marina costs. Don't forget to include the cost of winter storage if the boat must be hauled out.

Barry
 

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If you have a partner/spouse what they feel comfortable with is a starting point. This is easier if you've been renting or chartering a bit.
Make a cold hard estimate of how you will be using the boat. Often we buy boats based on infrequent use e.g. an annual multi-week cruise as opposed to weekend or evening sailings. It would be less costly to charter for those infrequent uses, and allow more cruising variety as well. Smaller boats appear to get more use than bigger ones.
If your analysis gets you to a trailable boat this is a big cost savings. Marina fees add up. The ability to do maintenance in your yard is far more convenient and less costly that on the water. You can take an outboard to a shop whereas you bring the mechanic to the inboard $$$.
Most boats have a depreciation curve steep that's like cars steep at first then flattening out. You can see this in the blue books. Age however doesn't affect sailboats all that much. Often owners pour a lot of money into upgrading thier boats that they never get back making an older boat better than its new cousin. Electronics are usually outdated in about seven years however. diesel engines need to be checked by an expert. You can do early damage to diesels by not running them properly.
Buying a popular class boat has advantages in info on how to deal with class problems, easier to sell and contacts and info on available boats.
Finally, if getting an older boat, make a good estimate of what the upgrades will cost you. Usually hunting down a well loved boat that has that stuff done is a better strategy.
 

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I thought "what" was on 2nd, and "who" was on first, this thread has me SOOOOOOOOO confused......crimeny!

Marty
 

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Day sailing? Boat camping? Vacationing? Long term coastal cruising? Voyaging?

Pond? Lake? Bay? Estuary? ICW? Gunk holing? Ocean?

Just you? Spouse? Kids? Pets? Guests?

New with complex systems (cash to spend) or old and simple (skills to use) or somewhere in between?

The possibilities are endless...from car top sailing kayaks to trailerable ocean-going small yachts to seven figure high performance palaces.

The possibilities for "keeping" a boat are as well...from your garage or your barn or your yard to a marina or a condo slip.
 

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Buy the boat first, that is usually the hardest choice and thing to do.

Now if it is too big to trailer per say, moorage is the next hardest to do.
You may be able to stay where the boat is, permanently per say, or month to month until you get a spot at a marina closer to you etc. My sister a yr ago did something equal. She bought a catalina 30, was able to keep it at the marina in Seattle she bought it at, then labor day, she moved the boat to Edmonds where she wanted to keep it. I was able to connect her with the local YC I am a member of. We rent from the port 4 slips year around for out reciprocal program. From labor day to memorial day, we will rent out the slips to members first, non 2nd choice as the recips are not used as much. She used one of these slips for 3-4 months or so, until a permanent slip became available in December, then moved to that one.
I on the other hand, was able to find a slip at a marina north of here for a year, whil on the waiting list in edmonds. In the back were some slips on not great docks, if you could find a slip you could fit in, they made it yours per say. There is about 50 of the 1000 or so slips this marina has that were/are like this.

Insurance, loans etc are probably the easiest to deal with vs the buying and moorage part.

Hopefully the two stories I told will give you some hints on what is available to you to succeed in this endeavor.

IIRC, "i don't know" is on third.....which is where I played base ball, so follow the maestro's comments about me, you will be in good shape!

Marty
 
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