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Buying a bigger boat: four key features to look for

Are you suffering from a case of the ‘two-foot-itus’? That irresistible desire for a bigger boat two feet longer than your current one is something that every boat owner experiences at least once in a lifetime.

Prices in the boating market are still competitive but you do have to make up your mind as to whether you want to go larger with a new vessel or pre-owned boat.

We have already addressed the questions related to buying a boat for the first time and now it’s time we reflected on what you should consider when buying a larger boat.

Why do I need to get a bigger boat?1. What do you need a boat for?

So you own a boat that already fulfils your needs. The next thing you need to work out is exactly what you want the new boat for? Is it for long weekends with your partner? Do you want to invite your friends over for an extended cruise? Will you go boating with the grandchildren? Be aware that upsizing will definitely change your time on the water. Decide first what role the new boat will play in your life. This will help you to identify the specs, amenities and cost of the boat that suits your purpose.

An increased living space when a bigger boat is purchased2. Living space

Upscaling doesn’t just increase living space, but will also markedly increase your storage capacity. When going from a 25ft to a 35ft sailboat, the interior volume almost doubles. This allows greater living space and storage for the essentials and those all-important creature comforts. The increased availability of space on board also permits for more time between needing to refuel and take on provisions, ultimately giving you more time on the water.

Fuel levels need to be considered when buying a bigger boat3. Speed and fuel consumption

The speed of boats with a displacement hull, such as trawlers, canal boats, and most sailboats is limited by the length of the boat’s waterline. Put simply, the length of the boat renders into additional speed. The relation between these two is defined as hull speed = 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length. Planing vessels are designed to rise up and ride on top of the water as the motor propels the vessel. These boats require considerably more horsepower to get up on top of the water, but they can attain much higher speeds because of the reduced resistance of moving on top of the water rather than through it.

Planing powerboats may reach speeds of 25-40 miles per hour and they are comfortable somewhere between 25 and 35 knots. If it’s speed you’re looking for, there is plenty to consider.

Keeping a bigger boat maintained4. Maintenance and cost

You probably have already guessed that a bigger boat costs more than a smaller one, and the same applies to other costs associated with boat size. Berths, dry storage, slips and haul-outs are charged by the foot, and other maintenance costs are also related to the surface area, volume, or displacement. Think about bottom paint, canvas, anchors, ropes, chains, and fenders, for example.

How much will it cost you to go up in size? The amount varies, depending on how old the boat is, the type of equipment onboard and how often the boat is used. Maintenance on larger, fully equipped boats is not something you could carry out yourself and most of the cost increases will go on paying for a professional maintenance service, including dry-dock costs.

Industry expert’s advice is to assume that, for a new boat, you will need to put in about 10% of the total purchase price of the boat each year in maintenance to keep up with devaluation. The same 10% also goes for pre-owned vessels and the additional cost of any new system you might want to install as an upgrade.

The bottom line is that you will have to pay for those extra feet, but the bigger boat will take you and your guests farther, in less time and in greater comfort.

After taking those four elements on board, the final factor that should be taken into consideration before making your decision is insurance. For boat insurance, Insure4Boats offers some of the most competitive prices and features on the market. It only takes a minute to get a quote. Visit our boat insurance quote page or call 0800 668 1661.

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