You have received lots of great advice and support in this thread. My intent is to offer more of the same...
I'm [now we...] am on my 5th [and last?] boat, so I have been through this a few times in now my 4th decade boating
We retired a couple of years ago, so I am also sensitive to your fixed income and initial purchase budget
The boat selection and purchase
is the largest impact item - and the most important decision- impacting your new lifestyle and your future. Like a new job, most of your leverage is in the up front negotiations. There is none after-the-fact...
So, if you could stretch your purchasing budget
by another 1/3rd, would you?
Since you mention the PNW, and if I were trying to stretch my budget [as we always are...] I would really concentrate on spending my US dollars in Canada
right now if I could find a boat I wanted. [24% exchange rate today, and I have observed as much as 31% in the past few weeks...]
Even if I purchased a boat in WA [and we did in 2014... ] I would head
to the more northerly portion of the PNW [Alaska, via beautiful WA and BC] and explore the area. [Document the vessel with an Alaskan home port too... no sales/income taxes
here... compared to an average ~10% in WA...] Stay a year [or whatever current
rules are...] and become eligible to receive the Permanent Fund Dividend... [Ours was just over US$2k each last year...]
The total budget savings could be ~34% if you purchased a boat today... [24% US-CAN exchange; ~10% ave WA sales tax...]
Disclaimer: I have nothing against paying taxes
... I just believe it is prudent to be aware of what those liabilities might be to help me make better decisions... [e.g., What would my donation to WA do for us in Alaska
? Note CA is much worse...]
While exploring Alaska
, check out some of the small town marinas.
e.g., We keep a 50ft slip for ~$1500/year + electricity in a bomb-proof, newer marina on Wrangell Island [there are 3 marinas totaling 1500 slips...] Our boat is in its slip off-an-on maybe 5 months of the year right now [we are still busy with property elsewhere] but we choose to pay for a full time slip because it costs about the same as 6 months worth of transient docking
rates [If you live aboard full time add another $90/month to the cost- in Wrangell; $30 in Ketchikan, but with higher slip fees
This is just some first-hand food
for thought. It may not be parallel to what you have in mind, but is is a quick [and very legal] way to boost your purchasing
budget by about 1/3 and start your new adventures with some real world class cruising.
Best wishes with your impending choices. I look forward to following your adventures.
PS: No matter where you buy your boat, do pay attention to the local tax ramifications. They can be a nasty gotcha... e.g., Since we bought our current
boat in WA in 2014, we had an impending 9.6% sales tax bill if we hadn't left WA waters within 45 days after the purchase... [And there are other ways for cruisers to extend their stay beyond 45 days- all with caveats to be carefully weighed...] And it is worth noting that 45 day countdown timer starts every time our boat re-enters WA waters... [as of 2014 anyway...]
Side Note: In case you didn't already know, boat listings you may see that include the line 'Not for sale
in US waters' [in PNW listings anyway...] are non-US registered boats [usually Canadian] currently in US waters; You have to take them out of US waters to complete the sale- a fairly common practice in the PNW... This is often accomplished by going for a day sail with the seller and/or broker and signing paperwork while in international or Canadian waters... [Do seek qualified advice and current information if this is going to apply to you... My goal in mentioning this is just to make you aware...]