As a passionate and lifelong boater, I recently saw a statistic that stunned me: More than half of first-timer boat buyers sell their boats and get out of the sport.
More than half!
As someone who suffers withdrawal when I go more than a few days without getting out on the water, I was eager to know: What gives?
In truth, it’s not boating the vast majority of beginners are leaving behind, it is everything involved in owning a boat.
According to a recent study by Discover Boating, it is the hidden costs (slip fees, maintenance, repairs, insurance, etc.) and time demands (cleaning, repairs, maintenance, and travel time) that are the main reasons boat ownership has lost its appeal for many people.
But don’t let that discourage you. There are various options to experiencing the joys of boating without the necessity of buying a boat.
Before you decide to buy a boat I always think it’s a good idea to dip your toe in the water first. Some ideas: rent different models to see what suits you best; attend a boat show; visit a few dealerships; get advice from current boat owners; talk to the dock staff at a marina.
Two other great options are: 1). Buy a boat with partners who will share expenses and upkeep. 2). Join a boat club.
Of course, as owner of Freedom Boat Club Jacksonville, I am constantly reminded of the many benefits of belonging to a well-run, high-quality boat club.
We like to emphasize the affordable, hassle-free benefits, and access to a wide variety of clean, late model boats. But there are many more benefits.
We support boaters in every possible way, from providing training opportunities to organizing regular social events. Why would anyone want to buy a boat before learning how to safely and confidently operate one?
I can’t think of a more fun, relaxing, healthy, family friendly activity than boating. But you do not have to own one to participate.
Consider all your options. Walking away from boating shouldn’t be one of them.