Choosing the Right Boat for Your Needs

Choosing the Right Boat for Your Needs
choosing boats - boats on shore

When it comes to embracing the Australian way of life, few activities match the joy and freedom of boating. At Coast Insurance, we understand the unique allure of the sea and the importance of safeguarding this cherished lifestyle. This guide offers straightforward steps to select the right boat, covering type selection, new vs. used considerations, and financial aspects to enhance your boating experience and ensure safety. 

Insurance is essential for any boat purchase, safeguarding your investment and peace of mind. Coast Insurance provides comprehensive coverage for a variety of vessels and activities, ensuring protection against damage, loss, and liability so you can enjoy your boating adventures worry-free. 

Identifying your boating needs 

Choosing the right boat starts with understanding how you plan to use it. If you’re into fishing, water sports, sailing, cruising, or entertaining on board, you’ll need a boat that’s built for those activities. The right boat will have the features, size, and design to match what you want to do, ensuring you’re safe and enjoying yourself. 

The type of water you’ll be boating in also plays a big role in your choice. Boats for coastal waters need to be sturdy and able to handle rough conditions, while boats for lakes and rivers can be lighter and easier to manoeuvre. Knowing these details helps you make a choice that fits your boating goals and the conditions you’ll face. 

Considering the size 

The size of the boat is a pivotal factor in your decision-making process. Larger boats, while offering more space and amenities for comfort, demand a higher level of skill to operate and maintain. They also tend to incur greater expenses in terms of mooring, storage, and upkeep. 

On the other hand, smaller boats are more manageable, cost-effective, and easier to store, making them an ideal choice for beginners or those with limited space. Your decision should be influenced by your experience level, budget, and the logistical aspects of storing and maintaining the vessel. 

Exploring boat types 

The boating industry offers a diverse array of boat types, each designed for specific activities and preferences: 

Fishing boats 

Fishing boats are specifically designed for fishing enthusiasts, equipped with specialised features such as rod holders, bait wells, and fish lockers to enhance the angling experience. These boats come in a variety of sizes and designs to accommodate different fishing styles and environments, ranging from tranquil freshwater lakes to the challenging conditions of saltwater fishing. Their versatility makes them suitable for both novice anglers and seasoned fishermen looking for a dedicated vessel to pursue their passion. 


Cruisers are the quintessential choice for those looking to enjoy leisurely outings and overnight stays on the water. These boats are well-appointed with comfortable living quarters that typically include sleeping areas, kitchens, and bathrooms, making them ideal for family vacations or romantic getaways. Cruisers combine the luxury of a floating home with the adventure of the open water, offering a unique way to explore coastal areas, lakes, and rivers in comfort and style. 


Sailboats capture the traditional spirit of sailing, harnessing wind power for propulsion, which makes them both serene and eco-friendly options for water exploration. Operating a sailboat demands a certain level of skill and knowledge, as sailors must understand wind patterns, navigation, and rigging techniques to pilot these vessels effectively. This requirement adds an element of challenge and fulfilment to the sailing experience, appealing to those who appreciate the art and science of sailing. 

Jet ski 

Jetskis, also referred to as Personal Watercraft (PWC) are renowned for their thrilling performance, making them ideal for adrenaline enthusiasts. These compact, high-speed vessels are designed for short, thrilling rides, offering an intense burst of fun on the water. Jetskis excel in providing an accessible and exciting way to enjoy water sports, making them a favourite among adventure seekers.  

Pontoon boat 

Pontoon boats stand out with their flat decks mounted atop pontoons, offering a stable and spacious platform for a variety of activities. These vessels are particularly favoured for leisurely cruises, fishing expeditions, and entertaining groups, thanks to their versatile layout and ample space. With features that cater to comfort and sociability, pontoon boats are an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy relaxed, social outings on the water.   

New vs. used 

Choosing between a new and used boat requires weighing the benefits of modern features and warranties against the cost savings and value of a pre-owned boat. New boats come with the latest technology and are in perfect condition, along with warranties that provide buyer protection. However, they lose value quickly once purchased, which is a significant consideration for buyers. 

Used boats, meanwhile, are more affordable and can offer access to larger or higher-end models for the price of a smaller new boat. The second-hand market offers great savings, but buyers need to carefully inspect the boat’s condition, maintenance records, and any signs of wear or potential problems to avoid extra repair and maintenance costs. Checking the boat’s history for previous ownership and usage gives insight into its care and any non-obvious issues. 

Test before you buy 

Conducting a test drive, or sea trial, is a critical step in choosing the right boat. It provides first hand insight into the boat’s performance, including speed, stability, and responsiveness, as well as how it handles under different conditions. This hands-on evaluation allows you to experience the vessel’s comfort, layout functionality, and operational ease—key factors in determining if it meets your needs. 

A sea trial also offers the chance to consult with professionals or experienced boaters, gaining valuable advice and answers to any questions about the boat, such as maintenance tips, handling in varied weather, or performance optimisation. This feedback can significantly influence your decision-making process. 

Moreover, a test drive reveals practical details like noise levels at cruising speed, stability during manoeuvres, and the adequacy of space for passengers and gear, providing a clearer picture of the boat’s fit for your intended use, whether for leisure, fishing, or cruising. 

Budget considerations 

Owning a boat encompasses several financial responsibilities apart from the upfront cost. Individuals considering a boat purchase must prepare for recurring expenses, including fuel, upkeep, storage, insurance, and potentially, loan repayments. Consulting with knowledgeable sales professionals can shed light on available financing alternatives. Furthermore, seeking insurance quotations is essential for grasping the enduring expenses linked to various types of boats. 


Choosing the right boat is important for ensuring that your boating experiences align with your lifestyle, preferences, and the types of waterways you’ll be exploring. Throughout this guide, we’ve navigated the considerations crucial to making an informed boat selection, focusing on type, size, usage, and the pivotal decision between new and pre-owned vessels. Each step is aimed at ensuring your boating adventures are not only enjoyable but also safe and tailored to your lifestyle. 

No matter which boat you choose, the right insurance is key. Coast Insurance offers tailored coverage for all your boating needs, ensuring peace of mind on the water. Explore our options and secure your vessel’s protection with Coast Insurance today. 

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