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NZ Boat Buying Guide

13 September 2021

Sparkling summer skies and clear blue water are beckoning – if you’re desperate to head off on the high seas in a new boat, this boat buying guide is for you! Having a boat is a great way to get outside in the fresh air and sunshine, taking in the view of the beautiful New Zealand coastline. Discover what questions to ask when buying a boat, which factors to consider, and how to decide on what boat to buy.

Deciding To Buy a Boat

Want to captain your own ship? The first step is deciding whether or not it’s a good idea for you to buy a boat. Boats are fantastic if you love fishing, want to start sailing, or hope to learn how to water ski. If you think that you’ll use it a lot, getting a boat is an excellent idea. Create memories with your family and friends while out on the water!

Choosing the Type of Boat

Whether you want a jet boat or a dinghy, there are so many options to choose from! You might consider buying a boat, catamaran, or, if you’re lucky enough, a yacht.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider what you will use the boat for. Will you mainly want to go fishing, go for a cruise on the water, or does the boat need to be able to tow a water ski for the ultimate thrill ride?

Answering this question may help you to narrow down your options. If your answer is all of the above, then go for a general-purpose boat that suits every requirement. If you can do so, arrange to go out in a few different types of boats to try them out. This can help you to make your decision.

Set a Budget for Your Boat

One of the primary factors when selecting which boat to buy will be your budget. How much can you afford to spend on a vessel? Deciding on this before you begin looking is a great idea. That way, when you’re looking at boats online, you can set your filters to hide any that are out of your budget. This will make it easier not to be tempted to splurge on something out of your price range.

Short on cash? You can always apply for boat finance and get a loan that you pay off in instalments. That way, you won’t have to have all of the money upfront to buy your boat.
Remember that the cost of owning a boat is more than just the price of purchase. You also need to factor in the ongoing expenses you will incur for maintenance, insurance, and usage.

Plus, don’t forget about initial costs such as flares, life jackets, and towing equipment. If you’re getting a loan, make sure that you borrow enough both for the boat and these expenses.

New vs Used

Who doesn’t want to sail off into the sunset on a shiny new toy? Buying new is undoubtedly the simplest way to purchase a boat, as you don’t have to worry about the condition or how well it has been maintained. However, for many boat buyers, budget gets in the way of buying new.
Look for a second-hand boat instead of buying new to get a great vessel at a much lower price.

Many boat owners buy their boats thinking that they will use them far more often than they actually do. Once they realise that they don’t actually go in the water all that much, these owners will often choose to sell their boats for much less than they paid for them. This gives you the perfect opportunity to scoop up a bargain.

What to Look for When Buying a Second-hand Boat

Once you’ve found your ideal vessel, it’s time to inspect it. Make sure that you take a look at the electrical systems, fuel tank, bilge, engine, and propeller to check that everything looks as it should.

It’s crucial that you get your boat out on the sea before you purchase it if you can. This should highlight anything that could be wrong with the vessel before you commit to buying it. Get some help from a marine surveyor if you don’t have advanced nautical knowledge – these people will survey the boat from bow to stern and let you know the exact condition of the vessel.

Tips for Buying a Used Boat

Check Reviews

There are plenty of online review sites where people post reviews for their boats. Reading up on the model of boat you’re thinking of buying is a great way to find out about any potential flaws or negative qualities. If people seem generally happy with the model of boat, this is your green light to go ahead and make a purchase.

Consider Use vs Time

Many people think that the less a boat has been used, the better. However, time can be harder on a boat than use. Even if a vessel has sat idle for the majority of its life, that doesn’t mean it’s in great condition. You’re better off finding one that’s been well-used but also well-maintained. Boats that haven’t been in the water much can have many issues such as sun exposure, fuel degradation, and corrosion.


Boat safety is about far more than just throwing on a life jacket. There are plenty of other things you should do to make sure that you stay safe in the water. For example, take three times as much fuel as you think you’re going to need – this could save your life if you get into a tricky situation and are out for longer than expected. Additionally, always carry a phone and radio and have a backup plan in case things go wrong.

Get Educated

If you’re not already an experienced boater, take some courses before you purchase your vessel. Learning basic skills to help you at sea will make it much safer when you take your first outing. Hit the water with all of the knowledge you need to have a fantastic time!


Haggling isn’t always about lowering the price. You might also consider bargaining with the boat owner to get some of the accessories you will need. For example, if they are selling their boat, they may no longer need the safety kit or life jackets and may be happy to throw these in as part of the deal.

Questions to Ask When Buying a Boat

If you’re buying a second-hand boat, don’t go into it blind and just pay the price. It’s vital that you do your research – take a look at the below questions to ask when buying a boat second-hand.

  • How long have you owned it? – This question is crucial for finding out the age of the boat, as this can be a factor in how likely you are to experience issues with it.
  • Did you buy the boat new? – It’s all well and good to find out how long the owner has had the boat, but you also need to know about previous ownership. This information should allow you to accurately calculate the age of the boat.
  • How regularly do you use it? – The number of hours the boat has been used for is not the only factor in its condition, but it’s an important one. Remember that it’s better to buy a boat that’s been out on the water a lot but used carefully than one that hasn’t been used much but had an owner who has driven it aggressively.
  • Have you ever encountered any trouble with it? – You will need to know whether the boat has had any repairs completed or if it has ever failed, such as stalling unexpectedly while on the water.
  • How often have you had it serviced? – Look for a boat that has been well maintained by its previous owner.
  • Where have you been storing the boat? – Where the boat has been stored has a significant impact on its condition. If it has been continuously exposed to the elements, it’s likely to be in worse condition than if it was kept safe in a garage.
  • Why are you selling it? – Obviously, if the person is selling the boat because it’s causing them a lot of trouble, you don’t want it! However, sellers won’t often come right out and say that, so you may have to do some probing to find out the real reason they are selling their vessel.

Getting the Best Interest Rate for Your Boat Loan

Now that you have found your ideal model, gone through all the questions to ask when buying a boat, and taken it out on the water, you’re ready to take the plunge. All you need now is to get the best interest rate possible for your boat loan, and that’s where Stadium Finance comes in.

We are a local business that focuses on helping kiwis get ahead. Contact us today to discover more about how we can give you the helping hand you need to get off dry land and into your new boat.

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