It’s a New Year with a Plan…..Finally!

lake union yachts sales

Boat Buying Plan!

We finally have a boat buying plan! As we mentioned in our last blog after our trip to Annapolis in October, our boat plans changed slightly.  We basically have always had two plans that we put together years ago:

  • Live on a catamaran and sail the Caribbean and Pacific when we retire. That plan is still on!
  • In order to save money, sell our home, our belongings and live on a boat in the PNW – that is now on hold.

We put the liveaboard idea on hold and have decided to make sure that both of us are comfortable spending lots of time on the water together. I have boating experience, but Scott does not. So we have decided to buy a weekend cabin cruiser this spring.

power boat show pnw

Okay, so now we have somewhat of a plan and off to the Seattle Boat Show we went this weekend.  Buying a boat, is very much (in a weird way) like having kids and planning for it.  For example, you need to have a spot to moor the boat, even before you buy one. It’s not like buying a house. There are certain steps you have to take, but we are still not sure of the order.


Boat Buying Process

  • Budget / Loan- well, we have a budget in mind, but if we decide to finance part of the boat, then it’s the bank that will determine what they will lend based on the age and make of the boat. Typically, lenders don’t “pre-approve” you, but instead, you find a boat and then go get the loan. (Odd.)
  • Moorage – you have to find a marina to store your boat once you buy it. We checked with 5 different marinas at the show and all but 2 of them had a wait list. Luckily, one marina said they would take care of us with no issues and to concentrate on finding the boat, rather the marina. That’s a nice option. Ideally, we want to be in Everett as it is closer to our family’s place on Camano Island. But they have an 8 month wait.
  • Boat – basically we are looking at two different styles, depending on what we think we will enjoy the most.  We’ll look at the two styles later in this blog.
  • Training. It’s been over 17 years since I owned a boat and Scott has no experience. With that said, we can’t just go buy a boat and start driving it! We met with both the US Coast Guard and the US Power Squadrons yesterday.  The USCG will do a training safety seminar in one day, for about $30/pp.  But that doesn’t show  you how to maneuver your boat, dock it, learn currents/wind, etc.  USPS will do a very detailed training, along with a hands on training prior to buying your boat. This will be the route we take.
  • Timing – of course we want to be on the water come June 1st… boating season. This means there will be no deals on boats and mooring will be at a premium. We’d like to do it sooner, but it won’t make sense based on our upcoming schedule.

What kind of boat?

So back to the boat. For the past six years we have traveled to boat shows all over including Miami and Annapolis. We have been set on a path looking for a liveaboard, which is not a weekend cabin cruiser. Talk about changing things up!  The two styles we are looking at are:

Older Motoryacht 32′-38′ (1990-1999).  Here we have a few options to consider. There are plenty of Bayliner MY out there (and yes, the Bayliner haters are going to make comments) and the fact remains that we won’t be crossing any oceans in this vessel and for the money you get a lot of boat that’s comfortable. Carver is another boat we are considering.  The nice thing about the motoryacht style, is the salon is cozy and perfect for our dreary weather. It is also upstairs, so you can enjoy the view versus being down below at the water level. We plan on boating even when it’s not nice out. Our plan is to spend as many weekends we can on the boat, even if it’s in the marina, to get a feel for liveaboard life. The boat below is a 1997 Carver 320 Voyager.

The one thing to consider with a boat like this, is there is not a lot of space to sit on the stern for entertainment. There is up on the fly bridge….but you have to haul your “stuff” up there, like your glass of wine, cheese and crackers. 😉




“Weekenders” – these boats are great for enjoying with groups of people and spending most of your time outdoors. The downstairs cabin is simply for sleeping and cooking.  These are not necessarily less expensive than a motoryacht. We looked at a 38′ SeaRay and it was over $100k! Below is a 1997 Sea Ray 330 Sundancer.



Lots of outdoor seating for everyone!


As you can see, we have to make a decision as to what type of boat will work best for us. Then go out and find it over the next four months! In the meantime, we’ll get our training done so we are ready!

I will be sure to share with you our step by step process in making this all work, so that other new boaters have a good resource.

Stay tuned……as the next blog, we could be new boat owners! Cheers, Scott & Ally