Based on some good and some bad experiences in owning many boats over many decades, let me offer a bit of advice
1) Only buy a boat
you love. Don't buy it if you talk yourself into it, and NEVER buy if its most attractive feature is the purchase price
. You only buy and sell it once. You own it every day.
2) Simpler is far, far better. Never get fooled into thinking "Well, it sure has a lot of systems! Three generators! Wow that's cool!" No, you want as close to an empty shell as you can find. Everything on an old boat
, other than solid fiberglass
and the diesel engine
, should be considered a liability, not an asset.
3) Be sure you can keep the boat where you live, either at your own dock
out back, or on a trailer
in your driveway. You will need to work
on the boat. You will need to check all the systems before you take it out. You need to load it with food/water/clothes/gear every time before you go out. You need to clean it up after you use it. ALL of these things are a HUGE hassle if the boat is not at your house. You just won't use a boat anywhere near as much if its not close by all the time. And if you don't GO BOATING
, owning a boat is simply torture for everyone (you, your family
, your neighbors, your employer, your customers, your banker, ...).
4) To have an inexpensive boat, start as close to an empty shell as you can get, and then very, very slowly add the stuff you NEED. Always choose stuff to add that is cheap
, simple to install, painless to throw away when it breaks and you decide you really didn't need it after all. Also, this ensures that YOU install it, and YOU can fix it, and YOU know fully how to operate it (where "it" applies to anything on the boat).
5) Always buy quality over quantity. A high quality 20 footer is a joy to own, a low quality boat of any size is truly a life altering disaster. Well respected designers and builders are respected for a reason, take advantage of decades of other people's experience.