Southwest Florida Yachts
 
 

 

Selecting the 'Perfect' Boat
by Barb Hanson
December  2008

There are no perfect boats. Accept this. Get over it. Move on.

Not even your first boat, the one that floated in the bathtub, was perfect. However, it did get you hooked on boating and it got you thinking about your next boat. It would be, of course, the perfect boat.

After all these years and one or more vessels later, you are still engaged in that quest, aren't you? (Well, if not, you're not a boat owner. But if you intend to be, pay attention. You can go to school on the mistakes made by some people you will probably meet.)

Alas, there are no perfect boats and there are no perfect people, either. Combine the flawed ingredients of both parties in this strange matchmaking brew, and the prize moves elusively away. Perfection is not attainable on the water planet. But, the impossible dream persists.

Actually, I don't blame the boats as much as I blame boat owners. The problem, like the song says, is that we fall in love too easily; we fall in love too fast.

As I write this, we are smack in the middle of “Boat Show Season.”  The fall shows have just concluded and winter and spring shows are on the horizon.  Boat shows bring out not only lots of beautiful boats, but also lots of beautiful people.  Now when the beautiful people see the beautiful boats, well something magical happens.  There is excitement, flirting and, one suspects, much more -- love at first sight, short engagements, and quickly-arranged ceremonies.

How long will these marriages last before papers are filed?

Many do not know this but, at Southwest Florida Yachts, the captains and I have become marriage counselors, of a sort, for our charter clients. Many of our customers own boats but they like to charter, too. They come to us and they confide in us, saying unkind things about their boats back home.

At our yacht brokerage division, we also counsel prospective buyers.  We talk to our clients about their budget, their boating skills, their maintenance expertise, and their long-range cruising plans.  Sometimes we find that their “dream boat” doesn’t necessarily match the reality of their bank account, their skills, the yacht’s required maintenance or suitability for their future float plan.

The problems seem to fall into several categories.

We married in haste.
Too many boat owners purchased their boat before they knew what kind of boating they really want to do. Maybe they bought a day cruiser but they realized later they really wanted to do more overnight cruising. A variation of this are the owners who bought a big, complex boat before their skills (or their checkbooks) were up to the task. Boaters could avoid a lot of expense and trouble if they analyzed themselves before they analyze the boat. What do they say, marry in haste; repent in leisure?

We can't buy a new boat because we can't sell the old boat.
Marriage partners aren't supposed to plan their divorce before they get married, but we believe this is a good strategy for boat owners. Boats stay the same, but people always change. Once upon a time you liked to run with a fast crowd, now all you want to do is take a slow boat to nowhere. So, before you buy the fast boat, investigate the possibility that you'll want to sell it some day. When you do, will you quickly find a willing buyer for it? A couple of tips: Buy a well-known brand. Pay attention to local boating wisdom. Plan an exit strategy.

We are just too different.
This is the sad situation that occurs when the physical needs of your new vessel exceed your desire to attend to them. The boat cries out for constant attention: Clean me. Oil my teak. Please pay attention to me. You don't want to work; you want to cruise. Advice to the lovelorn: Don't count on friends to help. Hire somebody to pay attention to the boat. Or, sell it and charter instead.

We should have bought a ranch house.
They bought a double-decker or a triple-decker boat but the owners didn't realize how their legs would take a beating from climbing up and down those steps. Their vessel has many good years left, and so do the owners, but they need a boat with fewer ups and downs. Sell the two-story. Get a floating ranch house instead. A variation of this is the problem of the tall owner who refuses to duck when he goes through passageways designed for short people.

I just wanted to get a good night's sleep. She wanted to party.
This is where so many nautical marriages go bad. Right from the start, the parties are incompatible. You thought this vessel wanted to cruise slowly and comfortably. Instead, all she could do was get up on plane and go fast. Two suggestions: Take a long test ride before you buy. Talk to people who know you and know the boat.

If all else fails, don't give up on your love for boating. There's another boat out there, the perfect boat for you and yours.

Well, almost perfect.

 

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W


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