If your boat’s in bad shape, or if you inherit a boat in poor condition, you might wonder whether it’s worth repairing/restoring the vessel or buying a new one. You may not have the money to buy a new boat easily, but you might also be reluctant to continue pouring money into a vessel that’s on its last legs.
There’s no straightforward way to answer this question, since there are so many variables to consider. However, you can come to a better conclusion by considering the most important factors.
Signs You Need a New Boat
There are several warning signs that you need to purchase a new boat instead of repairing your old one, including:
- Repairs being impossible. There may be a situation where repairs are downright impossible. There may not be a replacement part available, or the boat may be in such poor condition that there’s no way to get it back to normal without completely rebuilding it.
- Repairs being expensive or prohibitive. You may also face repairs that are too steep in cost, or practically prohibitive. For example, you may be facing $6,000 of repairs on a boat that only cost you $20,000 to begin with. If this is outside of your budget, it may be a better option to save up money for a new vessel.
- Ongoing repair and maintenance needs. It can be downright heartbreaking to deal with ongoing repairs on an aging vessel. After several years, you may find that your boat needs something new fixed every month or two. This is a recurring hassle, and it probably won’t get any better if the boat is nearing the end of its life.
- Uncertainty with each voyage. How do you feel when you head out on the water? Are you nervous that something might go wrong? Are you worried that you’ll have to call for a tow? You shouldn’t have to deal with this relentless uncertainty. A new boat can bring you much better peace of mind.
- Reluctance to go boating. If your boat is in such poor condition that it makes you hesitant to go boating, or if your friends and family members no longer want to go boating due to safety concerns, you should make the upgrade to a new boat. Don’t sacrifice your entire hobby for this.
- Persistent desire for change. If you’re constantly looking at new boats and thinking about buying one, it means you’re no longer happy with your current vessel.
- New needs. You may also think more seriously about buying a new boat if your needs have changed. Are you interested in different aquatic hobbies? Are you boating in new or different ways?
When to Make Repairs
You can also tell when it’s worth making repairs:
- These repairs will last a while. If these repairs will give the boat another year or two of solid life, they’re likely worth making. Repairs should always be a long-term investment, rather than a short-term workaround.
- These repairs are inexpensive and/or easy. If you can complete the repair for $20, or with 30 minutes of effort, go ahead and make it. You’re not out much, and you’ll buy more time to consider your decision.
- You’re generally happy with this boat. Even if it has some persistent issues, you may genuinely love this boat. If you’re still excited to go on every voyage, there’s little reason to make a new purchase.
- Your boat has sentimental value. Finally, you may wish to keep your boat around if it has sentimental value. At this point, the objective value calculations go out the window.
What to Do With Your Old Boat
If you decide to get a new boat, you’ll need to figure out what to do with your old one. The best option is usually to list the boat for sale, using an online platform. Millions of people are actively interested in buying used boats, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a buyer. Just make sure you proactively acknowledge the condition of the boat, and let the buyer know any issues with it.
Alternatively, if the boat is so far gone that it’s not worth selling, you can consider scrapping it. Essentially, this will allow you to safely dispose of the boat, and you can usually get some money out of it in the process.
If you’re still undecided about whether it’s worth repairing your vessel, try to see things from an outsider’s perspective. If your friend were in this situation, how would you advise them? Would you encourage them to hang onto this boat a while longer, or move onto something new? This can help you see the situation more clearly and come to a more objective conclusion.