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How to Know When it’s Time to Upgrade your Boat

You’ve loved your boat, had many great adventures and made memories to last a lifetime, but now find yourself looking at other boats and thinking ‘that might suit us better now’. It’s very common to want to upgrade your boat after a few years. In fact, the average boat owner has around five boats in their lifetime. Times change and so does the way you use your boat, with growing families, new interests or improved boating skills.

There are many reasons to consider upgrading your used boat and here we take a look at how you know when it’s time to buy a new boat. 


  • You Feel Like You’ve Outgrown your Boat

Needing something bigger is a major contributor in swapping your current boat in for a new one. It’s common to start off small in boating, and learn to get to grips with manoeuvring, handling and sailing something more manageable. As your experience and confidence grows, it’s logical that you’ll feel ready for something larger. So too, will you want something larger to accommodate a growing family or growing interest from friends. As boating becomes more and more part of your lifestyle, your friends will want to join in more too, and having something bigger will allow you to enjoy those experiences with them. Perhaps you had nifty little bowrider, perfect for watersports and short coastal trips with your family, but feel that a larger sports boat would allow you to bring along more friends, have meals on board or even spend a weekend away with the family. 


  • Your Current Boat Doesn’t Suit the Activities you’d like to do

You might want to try new things, such as watersports, weekend cruising, serious fishing or entertaining guests, and your current boat just doesn’t allow for those things. Our interests change over time, and you need to find a boat that suits the whole family. Even if you opt not to get a bigger boat, a different style might mean you can do all the things everyone in the family enjoys. Finding the right boat isn’t always easy, so take a look at our guide to choosing the perfect boat for you


  • The Maintenance Costs aren’t Worth it

Older boats need more maintenance and there might come a point when you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth the money you’re spending on the upkeep (as well as the insurance). While there will be additional costs involved in owning a new boat, such as more insurance or berthing fees, you might find that ultimately it evens out as the maintenance costs are slightly less. Another thing to note is that the older the boat is, the harder it’s going to be to find replacement parts. Consider also that a new boat will likely have newer technology, meaning that you won’t need to pay for upgrades.  


  • You Need a Different Layout

Size and functionality aren’t necessarily the same thing, and you can buy a boat of the same length you have now that is completely different in its layout which will suit you better. You might want something with a larger salon for entertaining and dining, but don’t plan to spend overnights on your boat and therefore cabin sizes aren’t so important. You might want something with bigger decks for soaking up the sun and swimming off. It might be a flydeck style, inboard engines with a swim platform, a boat with a small galley and head, or something with bigger storage for all those water toys the kids want


  • You Want a Boat Which Handles Differently

If you’re thinking of going further offshore then you’ll likely be considering an upgrade from a boat that is designed for coastal or inland cruising. Safety is especially important when you have a family onboard, as well as having a boat which withstands choppy waters better. You might be considering exchanging a monohull versus a catamaran for a more stable ride (and increased living space for the same length), or even going from a sailing yacht to a buying a motor boat or pontoon boat. Write down all the reasons why your current boat isn’t exactly what you need and use that to go in search of the next one. 


  • You Want a more Reliable Boat

If your current boat is giving you sleepless nights and you’re worried about its safety then it’s time to upgrade to something more reliable. A newer model will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy the boating experience without the headache. After all, it’s supposed to be a joyful experience and not something else to worry about in life. 


Do You Need to Upgrade?

That’s the big question you’re probably asking yourself, and if you’ve considered all the points above you’re probably further along in that decision by now. But you could also consider whether your current boat can be adapted to fit your new needs, or if you can financially budget for a larger or newer boat. Perhaps you can invest in new technology for your current boat, or have it kitted out with the latest in fishing gear. You could swap a cabin for a storage area to accommodate watersports equipment, or even put a new, bigger engine in.  


The chances are however that upgrading to the next boat makes more sense than sinking more money into an older model which will get needier as time goes on. Wasting insurance on an old boat is wasting money when you could be cruising around in a shiny newer one. Likewise, the maintenance costs and the time it takes to do the maintenance are hugely reduced when you have a new used boat. Even aesthetic improvements such as paint jobs or re-upholstering can be extremely expensive and not worth the effort. 


Buying a Second Hand Boat


If you’ve made the decision to buy a new boat then congratulations! It’s a fun and exciting time searching for the perfect new addition to the family. There’s no one choice when it comes to the best place to buy a new boat, as there are pros and cons to buying a boat at a boat show, using your local broker or searching through the hundreds of boats for sale on online selling sites such as Rightboat.com. If you’re unsure of whether a boat will suit your needs, it’s a good idea to charter a similar one and see how you enjoy it first. And if you’re selling a boat to upgrade to a newer or larger model, check out our guide to ways to increase your boat’s value before you put it on the market. 


Rightboat.com is one of the largest online marketplaces for buying and selling new and used boats in the world. So when it’s time to upgrade, you can list your boat for sale and get it seen by thousands of verified and motivated buyers before starting the hunt for your next boat using our advanced search tool. 

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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