When you first get your driver’s license, you probably enjoy a feeling of freedom. After a while, though, you realize that you’re confined by speed limits, road rules, traffic, and frankly, the roadways themselves. If you want to relive that initial feeling of unrestricted freedom, it might be time to get a boat and hit the open waterways, unimpeded by traffic lanes and other drivers (for the most part).
Even better, you can look into getting a boat that’s suitable for water sports like waterskiing or wakeboarding as a way to double your enjoyment and get your family and friends involved. If you don’t know a lot about boats, however, you might not realize that there are several factors to consider when it comes to purchasing a model suitable for water sports. Here are a few things you need to think about when choosing the perfect boat for water sports.
Which Water Sports?
There are a slew of different water sports you might want to participate in at varying levels (from merely fun to competitive). The type of boat you choose and the features you opt for could make a difference in whether or not you’re able to get the most out of the water sports you prefer.
Both the size of the boat and the type of motor you choose are important. For example, if your family loves the thrill of sports like wakeboarding and tubing, you can get away with using a boat around 20 feet long, but you’re going to get better waves with greater mass, so a boat up to about 25 feet is even better. Since you’ll likely be out on a large body of water like a lake or the ocean, an inboard, the V-drive motor will likely best serve your needs.
Of course, this boat isn’t ideal if you’re interested in serious waterskiing, where you don’t necessarily want a huge wake tossing you around. Can you waterski with a larger boat? Recreationally, sure, but if you’re interested in competitive waterskiing, a smaller boat is better suited to your needs. Something around 20 feet in length with a direct drive motor is probably more your speed.
Where you go boating is just as important as the type of water sports you plan to participate in. When you buy a boat that’s suitable for water sports, think about where you intend to use it. Do you generally head to a lake or are you limited to nearby rivers? Are you close to the ocean?
Smaller boats are better suited to smaller waterways insomuch as they create less wake and are less likely to disturb other boaters in close proximity. On large, open bodies of water, however, you may find a larger boat necessary to handle the chop. In addition, V-drives are better for large bodies of water that suffer from choppier surfaces, while direct drives perform better on smoother, calmer waters.
If you’re having a hard time deciding between several boats that seem to work for your particular needs, it’s time to turn to other consumers to find out what they like. Checking consumer reviews can help you to better understand the features of certain boats and how well they suit your requirements, as well as potential problem areas you’d rather avoid.
The last thing you need is to pay out of pocket for major repairs, so you want to make sure you understand the warranties that come with the boat, and they can vary immensely from one manufacturer and vehicle to the next. In addition, there are likely certain activities that will void the warranty, such as foregoing regular maintenance. In other words, read the fine print, make sure you visit your boat mechanic and Marine Battery Guy regularly, and exercise due diligence to find the best warranty and meet your obligations so as not to accidentally void the warranty.
There’s no getting around this issue. Even the perfect paragon of boats isn’t perfect for you if it doesn’t fit in your price range. That said, you can probably find many options within a given price range, especially if you’re realistic about the potential cost of purchasing a new sports boat.
Keep in mind; you might also want to consider buying a used boat. You may have to contend with some maintenance and repair issues in this scenario, but you could get a fantastic boat at a steal and perhaps even extras like a trailer for towing.