Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2012

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 62 of 83

into account operating costs and resale values versus the initial purchase price when comparing different brands. "Some might be cheaper up front, but when other considerations like fuel efficiency, performance, and warranty are added, it typically saves money over the life of ownership by spending a little more on a top brand." And, if you anticipate selling the boat in the future, then popularity of a given make or model and the ease of finding another buyer should be considered as well. "The best buys are often end-of-the-model-year closeouts with promotional pricing or deals with pre-paired boat, engine, and trailer packages, often offered at boat shows," adds Lang. "Typically, the breakout cost of an outboard engine is 40 percent of the overall package." There can also be a temptation to buy less boat than you need. When it comes to balancing price with fishing capability and family-friendly features, there is often a temptation for budget-minded buyers to make the wrong compromises. This can happen by choosing a smaller power plant in the name of fuel savings (it's really more about how you drive anyway) or by simply getting a smaller boat because of initial cost. "You're better off stretching the budget a bit to get a little bigger boat initially," says Wally Bell, president of Sundance Boats in Blackshear, Georgia. Sundance specializes in skiffs and mid-size fishing boats and Bell knows all about buyers faced with tough decisions. "That extra foot or two is important and will fit your family better over the years," he says, noting that looking at long-term use rather than just immediate needs is a smart idea. "The current trend is to keep a boat seven to nine years. With today's materials and construction techniques, that's a realistic expectation." Keeping it Right If the first commandment of boat buying is "it's an investment," then the second is "boats require maintenance." Understanding what level of care your craft requires before you buy it is critical to protecting Boat maintenance should not be an afterthought. Make warranties and service plans part of your product research. and enjoying your purchase for a multitude of fishing seasons. The good news is that maintenance associated with a new boat purchase should be relatively painless, especially as technology and boat design continue to evolve. "The overall quality, performance, and efficiency of today's boats has been greatly improved," says Cashion of the Cabo and Hatteras brands. "You really do get a good bang for your buck. Plus, there are a lot of extra benefits, including extended service and warranty programs now available." Indeed, warranties and service programs are a significant part of any purchase. Whether included in the price or bought as an add-on, the value of these agreements should be weighed before making a final decision to buy. This applies equally to owners with the mechanical aptitude to grab a wrench and go to work, and to those who prefer to let a service department handle everything. But both types need to do their homework. Do-it-yourself types need to know what they're getting into. First, is the basic issue of changing technology. While it may be one thing to change a fuel filter or the gear oil on outboards, today's fuel-injected engines require computer diagnostics. Sometimes, it's not even a question of ability, but just access to tools. The going labor rate for this kind of work is typically $75 to $100 an hour, so don't get caught off-guard by maintenance costs. The second issue is that of warranties. Reading the fine print in your warranty agreement will let you know if any work done outside the dealer's service department will void any protection you've already purchased. Owners who employ others to keep their boat in tip-top shape should be aware of the options they have available. It's worth the time to compare warranty and service plans with the same detail as other basic boat features. Find out what's covered and what's not. Find out who can perform service in your area and when they're available. Seek out recommendations and reviews on local service departments and find out their track record for customer care. Finally, recognize the importance of basic care for your boat and have a plan to get it done. This includes storage options. Covered or open? In-water or out? Weigh the cost against the long-term effects of exposure to UV rays and saltwater. After that, a bubble bath after every trip is a must, especially in saltwater. Waxing when needed, spraying electrical connections with an anti-corrosion compound, keeping the bilge clean—it all adds up to fewer problems, higher resale values, and more fishing. And that's what it's all about.

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