Spring in Australia is approaching, and now is the time to start looking for a new family boat. Not only does it give you time to hunt around so you can get the best boat for your buck, but it also means there is time for the boat to be delivered to you before the summer heat really starts to bite. Before you head off to the boat dealer to look at the different choices available to you, it is prudent to make a list of the specific attributes you want your boat to have. Use these pointers to get your list started.
One of the most important attributes for a new boat is the size, and this must be determined by the number of people you plan to take out onto the water. Before you buy a boat, check with your state boat registration website to determine what the requirements are regarding capacity. In Queensland, for example, the website states "All registrable recreational boats. . . must have either a compliant Australian Builders Plate (ABP) or the required capacity labels attached."
The ABP should be clearly visible to the driver of the boat. It lets you know not only the maximum number of persons that can be carried on the boat but also the maximum load the boat can carry once it has both people and supplies on board.
Regulations vary between the states as to whether a new boat can be sold without an ABP or capacity label, but in Queensland you cannot register your boat without one. You, as the boat skipper, will be fined if your boat is not registered, and also if you operate a boat above the capacity limits specified.
Another point you need to consider before you look at boats is the type of water you will be taking the boat out into. If you live on the Gold Coast, for example, the type of boat you would use if you just plan to stick to the canals is different to the one you would use if you plan to take it out to sea to go deep sea fishing.
A little runabout would get you moving around the canals with ease, but does not provide any cabin protection if the weather turns rough. A gameboat, by comparison, is purposely built to accommodate the family if you head offshore for a day of fishing. It usually has a cabin with sleeping quarters so the kids can camp down if the day gets too long, and these cabins also provide a cool respite from the overhead sun.
If you are buying a boat that is a different size or design to one that you are used to, or if it is your first time owning a boat, it pays to arrange with the dealer to take the boat you like for a test drive.
Keep these points in mind before you organize to take your prospective boat out for a sea trial:
- Organize a day and time the whole family can accompany you so you can get a true idea of how comfortable every person will be when out on the water.
- Don't choose a nice, calm day to do your sea trials if you can avoid it. While it's not recommended that you head out in the boat in dangerous conditions, taking the boat out in slightly choppy waters allows you to determine the comfort of the boat when things get rough. It will also give you an indication of the stability and power of the boat when things get rocky.
Heading to a boat dealership like Stones Corner Marine with a checklist prepared of the features you need in your new boat helps to shorten the shopping time. The faster you find your new boat, the quicker you can get out onto the water and enjoy the summer days ahead.