I grew up going to the lake and have such fond memories of spending weekend days wakeboarding, getting a tan and eating subs. As my own girls start to get older (my oldest just turned three yesterday), I can’t help but want to re-create some of my memories and pass them down to them. My family has always owned a boat since I can remember. My parents still have the bigger boat they bought when I was in high school and use it frequently over the summer.
With my 30th birthday approaching, John has been asking what I want. Originally, I thought it’d be fun to take a trip somewhere. I explored a few options but no matter what we did, it would be expensive. I first thought of doing a family trip to the Caribbean or going on a cruise, but that would cost thousands and I’m not sure we’d have fun since our girls are still so young. Then I thought maybe we could fly my parents out here to babysit so John and I could go on a kid-free vacation, but that would also be expensive and if my parents are going to fly all the way out here, I’d like to spend most of our time with them.
So then I had an idea that it’d be fun to get a boat for my birthday! (I know, I realize this is quite extravagant…bear with me.) I mentioned this to John and while he’s not against it, he’s not quite for it yet, either. Honestly, neither am I. Boats are very expensive to maintain and you really have to use it a lot to get your money’s worth.
The Pros and Cons of Buying a Boat
Let’s start with the pros…
It’s a fun hobby! This is obvious, but a boat is obviously a hobby and a toy. Totally not a necessity, but people buy them because they love the lake and they love the experience of boating. I’m definitely in that camp. I know for a fact I would LOVE spending our summer weekends out on the lake. To me, there is nothing more relaxing!
We would pay cash. A big one, but we would not be going into debt to buy a boat. We would pay cash for it, plain and simple.
And the cons…
It’s expensive. I figured we could get a decent used boat that would fit in our garage for $5K-$9K. While we are able to pay cash, we’re currently saving for a hefty down payment on a house. We would use down payment money to pay for the boat. Doesn’t seem that wise, now that I’m typing this out…
Maintenance is expensive and time-consuming. As a kid, having a boat is great! I did nothing except show up. As an adult, it’s quite different. John would probably take on most of the responsibilities as far as driving it and towing it, but I would be right there with him helping him clean it, winterize it and maintain it. Is that something we want to take on? Is it something we have time to take on with two little kids? Is it something we can even afford to take on? We still need to figure out a lot of things.
We’re 45 minutes from a few different lakes. That’s not too far, but it’s not exactly close. If we lived 10 minutes from a lake I’d probably be more swayed to buy one. John does sometimes work on the weekends and of course we sometimes have errands or other plans. In all reality, how much would we actually use the boat?
It seems most boat owners would say that they are a money pit. I can totally see this, but a lot of things we do are money pits. Sometimes it’s OK to purchase things (if you can afford them) because it will bring you joy and fun memories.
So, what will we do?
While we’re still up in the air, most likely we will not be getting a boat for my birthday this summer. We had a long conversation last night and while we would eventually love to own a boat, now is probably not the best time. Instead, we’ll most likely rent a boat for my birthday and spend the day on the lake! This will give us a feel for boating here in NC and allow us to see if it’s something we’d like to purchase down the line.
Do you own a boat? Is it a money pit or do you really enjoy boating and being at the lake?
photo credit: Flickr via Jack Snell