Sail away on your boat-buying adventure

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(NewsUSA) — For those who own one, there’s no better way to relax with family and friends than by taking the helm of a boat and heading out for a beautiful day on the water — a testament to the more than 72 million Americans who went boating in 2006. Many daydream about owning their own boat but are often discouraged or intimidated. However, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune or require years of boating experience to become a boat owner.

Many aspiring boaters are under the impression that recreational boating may not fit into their current budget. However, purchasing and enjoying your own boat is far more affordable than you may realize. Sixty percent of current boat owners have an average household income under $75,000, and many boats can be financed for around $200 a month. There are also a variety of marine financing options available to help make boat ownership a reality.

In fact, nearly 95 percent of boats on the water today are less than 26 feet in length. Crafts of this size can be towed on a trailer and do not require exorbitant amounts of gas. Marine insurance rates vary by boat length and type, cost of the boat and level of coverage. So, some smaller boats can be insured for a nominal sum or as a rider on a homeowner’s policy.

If you don’t live along the coastline, don’t despair — 90 percent of Americans actually live within one hour’s drive of a navigable body of water. By visiting, you can access a boat marina and ramp locator that allows you to search by state and county to determine the options closest to you. And, if you aren’t familiar with the laws and rules of the water, features local boater education courses and additional resources to help. You’ll even find tips such as the ability to reduce the cost of your marine insurance premium by taking a boater’s education course.

With a different style of boat available for almost every type of activity, it’s important to research what make and model best fits your lifestyle. One of the best places to shop for boats is at a boat show. Prior to the show, stroll around a marina or go boating with friends to find out more about the types, brands and models of boats that will meet your needs. Above all, remember it’s easier and more affordable than ever to own the keys to fun on the water.

For more information on choosing the right boat for you, visit

Purchasing a boat may be more affordable than many people realize. Visit your local boat shows to learn more.