10 things to know before buying your first boat

Now that winter is over and the snowmobile has been removed, it’s time to make room for our summer machines.

I am a girl who is constantly looking for new challenges and loves adrenaline. In the summer of 2021, I decided to buy myself a pleasure boat. I really like being in the water in a personal watercraft (“Sea-Doo”) or even on my paddle board. So buying a boat is on my list.

I bought a Cuddy Cabin type boat that included a bed and bathroom. It is a 21-foot boat, a Maxum 2100 Sc made in 2003. It is a very versatile and high performance boat to start in the nautical world.

I’m sure you’re also one of those people who wants to buy a boat someday. This is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. There are many things to know before jumping into this adventure. So, in this article, I will outline the important points to know before buying your first boat.

Was the first boat new or used?

First of all, the first question to ask is: “Do I want a new or used boat? »

If buying a boat is one of your dreams forever and you saved your money for it, buying a new boat is the best option. The same is true if money is not an issue for you. You should know that a new boat always comes with a warranty and it allows you to have peace of mind in case it breaks down.

We won’t hide it: used boats are cheaper than new ones. When inspected properly before purchase, used boats are a preferred option and save more money.

How will you use your boat?

Then, the second question to ask yourself is about situations where you often use your boat. This question will guide you to the perfect size and type of boat that best suits you.

In general, if you plan to use your vehicle during the day only, a boat between 17 and 22 feet is good for you. These boats have basic equipment that will allow you to be comfortable in your days of navigation.

If you plan to spend more than one night on your boat, a larger and more suitable boat is the best option. These boats have a kitchen, a cabin, a small bathroom and other amenities that allow you to be comfortable for more than a day.

To find out the perfect type of boat for you, there are also other aspects to consider. You must first know the answers to the questions below, in order to make the best choice.

5 Questions to guide you better

  1. Do you want a boat that is easier to maneuver, i.e., a motor boat or even a sailing boat?
  2. Will you use your boat for water sports, such as wakeboarding or wakesurfing?
  3. Will you use your boat for fishing?
  4. Would you like your boat to meet a group of friends who are going to spend the “weekend”?
  5. Do you prefer a boat with an inboard or outboard motor?

There are several types of boats, for example: a “wake” boat, a pleasure boat, a pontoon or a sailboat. Therefore, it is very important to know all the answers to these questions in order to better make your choices.

Which insurance to choose?

By law, it is not mandatory to have insurance for your boat, but I highly recommend that you have it. It is very important to take out liability insurance. If your boat is funded, you will need to provide proof of insurance to your creditor.

Insurance for a boat covers most of the risks associated with its use and operation. It covers all damage caused by others, boat property, damage that may affect your boat and incidents that may occur during navigation.

Buying boat insurance can be difficult, as there are so many options. I highly suggest that you consult a boat insurance broker. The latter will be able to advise you about the insurance that suits you best by showing you a few quotes.

Additional costs to be considered

In addition to the amount paid for the purchase of your first boat, you will have other costs to assume. Often, these aspects are forgotten and this creates unexpected costs.

We should consider the costs associated with storing the boat during the winter. It is also necessary to consider the fuel-related costs generated by each water discharge; we will not hide, the price of fuel continues to rise. You need to plan a value for your space on a dock.

You need to think about disbursements for cleaning at the beginning and end of the season. Consider the breakdown costs that can occur at any time. All of these costs must be calculated when you purchase your boat. You really should provide value for money for all these aspects.

This is very important, so as not to get caught by the guard. I have no doubt that this little piece of advice will be appreciated by all.

Let’s talk about the boat license

A pleasure craft license is a document that contains a license number unique to a pleasure craft. This number makes it possible to know which boat it is. In an emergency, this license number is very important and useful. It provides valuable information to search and rescue personnel. Please note that you do not have to pay a fee to get this permit.

A boat license is required for all recreational vehicles except:

  • The pleasure craft is already registered as craft
  • pleasure craft with engine less than 10 horsepower (7.5 kW)
  • pleasure craft purchased less than 90 days ago

For this last exception, you must have the supporting documents with your name, address and date of purchase of your boat. You can find more information about the pleasure craft license directly on the Transport Canada website.

boat operator card

First of all, the driver card and the boat license are two different things; it is mandatory to have both documents in your possession.

To run a boat with pleasure, you must prove that you are capable. To do this, you must carry, during your navigation, your boat driver card. To get it, you must have passed a Transport Canada -approved boating safety course. Please note that you will need to pay a certain amount of money to get this card (approximately $ 50).

First, you must complete boating safety training and related tests. You can take this training at one of Transport Canada’s recognized organizations. You can find the list of course services directly on the Transport Canada website. You have 5 modules that must be completed within 3 hours.

Thereafter, upon completion of boating safety training, you must pass the exam directly on the Transport Canada website. The pass mark is 75% to get your driver card. In case you fail, you can take the exam again indefinitely. However, you can only take the test once every 24 hours.

You can find more information directly on the Transport Canada website and on the websites of organizations recognized by this ministry.


The first thing to keep in mind in the process of buying a boat is to know your budget carefully, to see if it is better to buy a new or used boat. Then, to figure out what your ideal type of boat is, you really need to know the basic uses that you will do with your boat. In addition, it is very important to set aside money for everything boat -related (for example: cleaning, breakage, fuel, storage and docking).

Lastly, it is important that you have at all times, during your navigations, your pleasure making license and your driver’s card.

Well, hopefully this will help with your first boat buying process.

Let’s meet on the water!

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