The countless opportunities for boating and water recreation are one of the Wilmington area’s top attractions as a place to live. And yet too many people who know they want to own a boat are letting doubts, hesitations and worries get in the way of fulfilling that dream.
I recently chatted with a man who’s lived in Wilmington almost 40 years. He said one of the best things he ever did was to buy a boat, which has been a mainstay of his family’s lifestyle ever since. On the other hand, he also said one of his biggest mistakes was waiting almost 10 years after moving here before he got that first boat!
As I talk with people who are interested in making boating part of their lives, I keep hearing the same concerns over and over. These concerns are all very practical, and deserve to be taken seriously.
So let’s get started by making a list of reasons why the best time to get a boat is: right now.
- A boat is a perfect way for the family to spend quality time together. That’s equally true of families with young children and for bigger extended families with grown children and grandchildren.
- A boat allows you to experience our beautiful part of the world from a totally new perspective. Ever seen Wrightsville Beach or Masonboro Island from the ocean side? Downtown Wilmington’s skyline from the Cape Fear River? The beautiful expanses of marshes and sounds from the Intracoastal Waterway?
- A boat opens up a world of recreational opportunities. Think about the possibilities for fishing, inshore and offshore, saltwater or fresh. How about tubing, waterskiing or diving? Or just relaxing with good food, drink and companions while watching an awe-inspiring sunset reflected on the water?
- A boat offers entirely new travel and social opportunities. Instead of driving the car up or down I-95, why not take the boat on an extended cruise along the Intracoastal? Boaters are about as social a crowd of people as I know, and love to gather for dockside get-togethers and float trips.
But there’s still that other list: the reasons some people hesitate before getting the boat they know they want.
- They worry that they don’t know enough about boating, or may lack necessary credentials to pilot that first boat.
- Members of a couple, or a family, may have different ideas about what boat ownership means, or how they would prefer to use a boat.
- They have concerns about costs. They worry about whether this is the best time to be making a major investment.
So now I offer some answers to those worries and hesitations.
I’ll start with some good news. Adults don’t need a captain’s license or any other credentials to own or operate a boat. Also, basic seamanship – what it takes to operate a boat safely – is easy, quick and fun to learn.
We help our first-time customers – any and all of our customers, actually – become comfortable and confident at the helm. We have a full-time captain who will teach you and members of your family everything you need to know about operating and maintaining your boat.
In addition to offering complete service for every aspect of a boat, we also introduce our customers to a social network of other boat owners, to help everyone get accustomed to the boating lifestyle.
In our experience, just choosing the right boat goes a long way toward reconciling those different ideas among family members. We can suggest models that are just as well suited for fishing or waterskiing as they are for family leisure and relaxation.
A “sea trial” in a particular model can help all parties better understand each other’s wishes about how the boat will fit into their lifestyles.
Now, about that financial issue. The most important thing to realize is that there’s a perfect boat for every budget.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of how you think about it. Instead of worrying about what you can’t
afford, you can talk to our sales advisers who will give you ideas about what you can
afford. They will help match your wishes to your resources.
Finally, our business manager can help finance that perfect boat, right here.
I could go on and on about other positives to boating including the benefits of getting kids – or really, all of us – away from our computers, tablets and cell phones and out in the fresh air and sunshine together, but that would just scratch the surface.
In reality, they all boil down to this one question. Since you know you’d like to have a boat, you need to ask yourself, “Why wait?” I’ve never heard any boat owners say, once they made that decision and discovered what they’d been missing, that they got their boat too soon.
Thom Cross is the general manager of MarineMaxWrightsville Beach. Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, MarineMax is the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. Focused on premium brands, MarineMax sells new and used recreational boats and related marine products and services as well as provides yacht brokerage and charter services. For more information, visit www.marinemax.com, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarineMaxWrightsvilleBeach or call (910) 256-8100.