Are you ready to venture out into the lifestyle of fun-filled watersports, cruising, and endless hours out on the water? The days spent with friends and family on the water create memories that will last a lifetime. When buying your first wake or wakesurf boat, there are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect one for you and your loved ones. It starts with assessing what’s important- crew size, budget, where you boat and what you like to do on the water.
Crew Size Matters – What Size Boat Should You Get?
Consider the following:
- How big is your typical crew size? Will you want to regularly bring your lake-loving friends? If you have children, will they want to bring friends? The bigger your crew the more room you’ll likely need.
- How big is the body of water that you’ll be boating on? Having a 23′ wakesurf boat on a lake that is a few hundred acres may be too much for that lake. And a 20 footer on Cumberland or Norris may be a little small given the size of the lake. So consider the size of the lake you are on as part of your decision process.
- What are the lake conditions typically like where you boat? Bigger boats naturally handle larger waves better.
- Are you trailering your boat to and from the water? If you plan to tow regularly you will need to make sure your vehicle is properly equipped to do so. Smaller boats are easier to trailer whereas larger boats may take extra preparation and a bigger tow vehicle.
- Where will you be storing your boat? If you’re storing inside of your garage, make sure to measure the boat while on the trailer. Storage facilities will have a lot more flexibility
Smaller boats (20-21 ft) are less expensive, easier to trailer and are more garage friendly. However smaller boats accommodate less people, don’t offer as much storage and can be more sensitive to water conditions (choppy, rough, etc). They typically have a coast guard capacity of 10-12 people. A normal crew on this size of wakesurf boats is probably 6-8 people.
Medium sized wake boats (22-23 ft) tend to be the most popular as they offer more size and room while still being fairly towable. Coast guard ratings usually range from 12-16 people. This means they can comfortably hold 8-12 people.
Large wakesurf boats (23-26 ft) have become increasingly popular in the boating industry as surf waves become a major focus. The size naturally helps the boat displace more water and create a bigger wave. These models are rated for 16-18 people depending on the model. They have the most capacity, storage, and comfort. These boats can also handle rougher waters.
What is Your Budget?
Finding a boat that you can afford is as important as finding the right fit. Keep in mind you will have extras like:
- Gas – Expect to spend $50-$150 for a day on the water. This depends on how you use the boat obvioulsly
- Insurance – A lot of different factors apply here (deductibles, coverage amount, carrier, etc). But expect to pay anywhere where a few hundred dollars up to a thousand dollars per year.
- Maintenance – Wake boats are fairly easy from maintenance standpoint. At a high level you’ll need a winterization and a couple oil changes per season. But don’t forget about other things that break over time (pumps, a speaker, a gauge, etc.). If you have a new boat then these items are likely covered under warranty. But if you purchase used these items can come into play. Make sure you read our Understand New vs Used article for some of these benefits.
Financing a wakesurf boat is common. Normal rates (as of Jan 2021) are in the 4-6% range with terms as long as 20 years. Just keep in mind that there are several factors that come in to play. These include:
- Credit profile / score – If you have a good credit score you’ll qualify for much better rates. The lower your score the higher the rate you may see.
- Credit history – Have you purchased a boat (recreational vehicle) in the past? Banks like to see a history of good payments on similar types of collateral.
- Amount Financed – If this is your first boat it can be difficult to get approved for a larger loan (over $100k). This can also affect the terms. Banks won’t finance a $20k loan for 20 years… the available term my be something like 10 years.
- Down Payment – Most bank require a minimum of 10%. An ideal down payment is 20%. The more you put down the less risk you are to the bank and you’re more likely to get a solid approval.
We offer competitive in-house financing to make this process seamless. We work with several national lenders so we can bring you a competitive low rate with terms up to 20 year. This makes getting on the water much more affordable and gives you the freedom to work within your personal budget.
Your Dealer Matters
Seasoned buyers know this. New buyers typically overlook it. But this should be one of the largest deciding factors in determining what boat you purchase. It’s important enough that we have it’s own detailed article on Why Your Boat Dealer Matters.
Want the cliff notes? There are a limited number of days in the summer that you’re on the water. You want a dealership that has a reputation for providing outstanding service and puts its focus on keeping you running all summer long. There’s nothing more frustrating that missing a long weekend on the water when you and the family have made plans. A downed boat can ruin the day… or even the vacation week at Cumberland.
The sales process is the honeymoon. What is that dealers reputation after the sale? No matter what boat you buy you’ll need service at some point. Make sure it’s with a dealer that does it well. You can take a well-built, perfect boat and if you can’t get good service you won’t have an overall great experience with that boat. Make sure this one is high on your list.