Thinking about going fishing with your friends, jet skiing down the river, or taking the kids out to the lakes on a dinghy this summer? Buying a boat is a big investment, and for many Kiwis, it’s a dream come true. So, you’d want to pick the right boat that suits your needs and, most importantly, your budget. Plus, you’ll also need to consider all the maintenance costs and boat finance options to fit your long-term goal before you become a proud boat owner.

So, you’d want to pick the right boat that suits your needs and, most importantly, your budget. Plus, you’ll also need to consider all the maintenance costs and boat finance options to fit your long-term goal before you become a proud boat owner.

If you’ve dreamed about getting a boat but don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a first-time buyer’s guide to buying a boat in NZ for you!


1. Set your budget

Of course, the first thing you’d consider before buying a boat is the budget. Think about how much you’re willing to spend and stick to your budget plan. Doing a little research on the type of boat and its annual running costs will help you set a realistic budget if you’re a first-time boat buyer (more on this below).

Also, don’t forget to allocate some of your finances to boat insurance! If you need a little help to finance your dream boat in time for this summer, how about chatting with us about our vehicle finance options? We might be able to lend a financial helping hand.


2. Determine the type of the boat

With so many boating options to choose from, including jet skis, fishing boats, dinghies and inflatable boats, you’ll need to consider a few factors to determine the type of boat to buy:

  • Use – Ask yourself, will you be using the boat for fishing and water sports or for recreational purposes to take your family and friends out to sea? Think about how frequently you intend to use the boat. Make sure that your vessel is suitable for your needs in both the short and long term.
  • Condition – Both new and used boats have their pros and cons. New boats don’t have a repair history to consider, come with a warranty, and can go out on the water immediately, but are obviously much more expensive compared to used boats. Pre-owned boats tend to be cheaper, but they don’t always have a warranty and may require more repairs and restoration.
  • Size – How many people will be on the boat at once? Do you need space to put your fishing gear? Will you be sailing on the sea, river, or lake? Will you stay overnight on the boat? If you’re trailering your boat, the size of your boat will also impact the size of the car needed to tow it.


3. Calculate the annual costs

There’s more than just the upfront price you’ll need to consider. There are many other costs you’ll need to pay each year. These annual costs could include maintenance, docking, slip, marina fees, storage, trailers, insurance, gear, accessories, and fuel.

We recommend listing all of these projected costs to help indicate a realistic and suitable budget and price range.


4. Shop around

Now that you’ve got a good idea of the type and price of the boat you want, it’s time to shop around. Start your research online, attend boat shows, and talk to friends and family who are already boat owners and can give you great tips about buying a boat.


5. Inspect your boat

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, don’t forget to have a thorough inspection, especially if you’re buying a used boat. First, check the most important aspects of the boat, including the title and registration, hull, deck, trailer, engine, battery, starter motor, electronics, bellows, cables and hardware.

Sea trials

Take the boat out for a test drive or sea trial to see if it’s seaworthy and whether you enjoy the boat. This is very important if you’re buying a preowned boat.

Sea surveyor

If you’re a first-time boat buyer or aren’t confident in your technical knowledge, hire an independent sea surveyor who can give a thorough inspection of the boat and may save you from buying a lemon.

If you find any problems with your inspection, you can try negotiating with the seller or look at another boat. Remember, you’re buying a new boat for your enjoyment and not something that will cause stress and leave you unsatisfied.


6. Review your boat financing options

Now that you’ve got a shortlist of boats you like make sure you review your boat financing options. Getting into the skipper’s seat is much easier than you think

If you need a little help with boat finance, Instant Finance is here to help you apply for boat loans in NZ. You can use our online vehicle finance calculator to see how your dream boat fits into your budget and what your monthly repayment looks like for your boat loan.


7. Get a boat insurance

A boat can be an expensive investment, so you’d want to fully insure your boat against any potential damages or unexpected situations. Your annual premium depends on various factors, including your boat type, length, speed, and usage. Talk to a couple of independent insurance companies to compare the rates and what’s covered in the insurance plans. Don’t forget to calculate the insurance fees in your annual costs!


8. Take boat training courses

Ready to get your feet wet and take your new boat out for a spin? Make sure you know all of the marine rules and regulations before you set sail. While you don’t need a licence to drive your boat in New Zealand, you must still obey all of New Zealand’s maritime regulations.

Before heading out to sea, it’s worth taking some boating courses to be familiar with all the boating basics, the skipper’s responsibilities and the rules of sharing the water with others. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the sea and calling for help when you’re on holiday!


Buying a boat is a major investment with lots to consider, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Get in touch with Instant Finance today, and let us get your boat financing sorted with a vehicle loan so you can enjoy your dream water toy this summer!

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