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Tips For Buying Your First Boat

Merry Fisher 895 Jerome KELAGOPIAN1 a8b5700c45

Tips for buying your first boat 

This time of year is all about goal setting, and if one of your goals to is buy your first boat, then you need to do your research.  Lucky for us, living by the waters of Lake Windermere and having over 30 years experience of selling and repairing boats from Bowness Bay Marina means that we have learnt a lot of do’s and don’ts when seeing customers make their first ever boating purchase. 

Lucky for you, we decided to impart our wisdom with top tips on: how to buy your first boat!

Are you thinking new or used?

Have you budgeted for all the costs associated with buying your first boat?

Have you gained knowledge through sufficient research?

Let’s get started with the fun stuff...

... How do you plan to enjoy your first boat?

We’re delighted that you are clearly drawn to the water and want to enjoy it much more by investing in your first boat purchase. That’s a big moment, so ask yourself, why? 

In our opinion, all boating activates are split into three simple components:

  • Cruising
  • Fishing
  • Water sports 

So, are you a day out with the family on the water type of buyer, a keen fishing person, or an adrenaline junky? Don’t worry, you can be all three, or two, as several boats can be adapted to be multipurpose. However, let’s breakdown the options and highlight what types of boats are suitable for each boating activity. 

Tips for buying your first cruising boat

Cruising is all about family time and entertaining. You pack your picnic and you set yourself up for a full day, weekend or weeks on the water to simply have fun and enjoy the sunshine and the spray.  Therefore, it is important to look at boats that will remain comfortable for that long duration and have the power and simplicity to take you to your destinations, especially if you are new to the boating game. 

A powerboat, such as our brand new 2018 Jeanneau Merry Fisher 695 with a Suzuki DF115 Four Stroke Outboard Engine is a great option. This Jeanneau model as it is a perfectly designed for day outings for a family of four. If you’re thinking of staying out on the water overnight, the Merry Fisher 795 is also due to arrive in our showroom this February. The high class brand, along with the well thought out cockpit and deck design make these a great option for first time boat buyers.  

The Merry Fisher 695 makes an ideal boat for new or first time buyers

Of course, we understand that you still want to do your research. That’s the most fun part and according to Boatest, the best types of boats for first time cruisers include:

  1. High performance - great speed, good comfort and maximised deck and cockpit space for outings 
  2. Deck boat - designed to be nippy on the water and are open to all the elements (apart from a canvas cover if required). This means you truly experience an exhilarating time on the water from start to finish
  3. Express cruiser - slightly larger, with enough room for overnight stays
  4. Motor yacht -  for those requiring plenty of luxurious space for entertaining and intend to spend time out on the water overnight 


If cruising is your thing, your check list for a choosing the right boat must include:

  1. Usage: are you just wanting a boat for the day, or are you planning overnight trips?
  2. Does the seating and space is adequate for your requirements?
  3. Spending time in the cockpit to make sure that it feels deep and secure with lots of grab handles 
  4. Checking that there is enough stowage for a family day out, or weekend away
  5. Checking that the cockpit is large enough for extra bodies if the weather changes and you need to take cover
  6. Not overlooking the party accessories like drinks holders, cushions and stereo. 
  7. Do you need a head (toilet)? Not all cruisers have them as standard.
  8. What power engine will you need to safely reach your destination

Tips for buying your first water sports boat

If you’ve discovered the thrill of watersports such as water skiing and wakeboarding, then you need to look at a tow boat style vessel with an inboard engine, which according to, is the engine of choice, especially when it comes to safety. 

We currently have the 2017 Glastron GTS185 in stock which ticks a lot of the boxes, including an extreme wakeboard tower and an add on swim board extension. Again, this is a great first time buying option, as the power of the in board engine is manageable and safe for beginners.  The Glastron GTS185 offers customers an adrenaline fuelled experience whenever used!

We also know that speed is just as much of an adrenaline rush, so we’ve added speed boats into this section too. For both you need to:

  1. Think about power, yes speed is great, but the longevity of the engine is just as important 
  2. Go for a sea trial to see how you handle the handling. Experience, personal preference and the boat itself will be unique to you. As much as a sea trial is important for a cruiser to test out comfort and space, you’ll only ever know how a speed boat works for you, if you test it out first. 
  3. Think beyond speed, and do consider comfort, space and your expected time  out on the water
  4. Research the history of a used boat, or the sturdiness of the model that you’re considering. As Boatingmag quite rightly suggest, do an internet search for hull failure  with this 40 Point Check list
  5. Consider your experience. If this is your first boat, then you probably lack the experience to manage a super high powered boat. Good entry level boats to consider include the sport boat, jet boat or very basic water ski boat. 

Tips for buying a fishing boat

For the more laid back of us - who can think of nothing better than anchoring up for a day of stress busting fishing - comfort, visibility of the water and space will be the main criteria. 

You also need to:

  • Think about the waterway you intend to fish on and what boat is accepted on it
  • Consider that there is enough space and comfort for any additional passengers (and all their fishing equipment)
  • Don’t over spec on engine power, especially if slow and steady is your preferred pace

A Pre owned Merry Fisher 365 is a cheap option for fishing fans on a budget

A boat such as our used Merry Fisher 635 would make an ideal option for fishing fans on a budget.

Now that you’ve thought about your usage, and we’ve recommended the types of boats suitable, your next decision is...

New v’s used

There are several advantages and disadvantages for buying new or used. Budget plays a massive part. Just like a car, the benefit of buying new should guarantee a relatively fuss free ownership and there are finance options available. Buying used can be more cost effective, but any problems you face are completely yours to deal with. It also depends on how much you are willing to compromise on some features,  unless you are lucky enough to come across the perfectly specified used boat.

From our experience however, we have a bit of general advice for first time boat buyers:

  • Whether buying new or used, try to buy through a dealer or at a boat show. 
  • If buying through a finance deal, check when the title of the boat passes to you
  • Ask about title documentation such as Part 1 Registration, Previous bills of sales and evidence of RCD compliance.
  • Make sure you are satisfied with the seller’s title documentation before you sign on the dotted line
  • If you have very strict requirements, for example, you want a family sized cruiser that can tow a water skier, we suggest looking at new, or use a highly experienced dealer who will source a used boat to your exact requirements 

Finally, it is very important not to forget:

  • Budgeting: Cost in insurance, mooring fees, boat safety certificates, cruising fees , the cost to carry out an independent survey and of course, running costs 
  • Comparing photos and descriptions carefully to see what you are getting for your money. 
  • Always check what is standard and what is optional. Exactly the same as buying a car, you will find that the price shown is a starting price, so budget accordingly when researching
  • Before you buy, conduct a walk around, sea trial and a get an independent survey on a used boat
  • Find out at what stage in the buying process you obtain ownership. That is the moment when you are personally responsible for insuring the boat and paying mooring fees. 
  • If the boat is not registered, who will manage this, you or the dealership?
  • Think about taking a training course beforehand to get the most out of your brand new purchase. 

Knowledge is power when it comes to any first time purchase, so we hope these tips will stand you in good stead when you first approach a dealer. If you have any more questions, please get in touch. 

Owning a Boat on Lake Windermere

Answering the Questions that May Be Holding You Back

Buying a boat, especially your first boat, can be a quite a daunting experience and, as with any purchase, the more research you do, the more likely you are to make the right decision for you; however, with so much information out there, buyers can start to feel ‘all at sea’ and left a little ‘high and dry’.

So, if you’re thinking of buying a boat on Lake Windermere, we can help ‘steer’ you in the right direction and have tried our best to answer some of the questions that may be holding you back...

Lake Windermere Windermere Boat Sales

Why should I buy a boat?

Before setting sail on your boat-buying adventure, it is important that you establish your reasons for wanting a boat and think about how you might use it. Do you plan to use it to get away by yourself or will your boat need to accommodate the whole family? Do you dream of sleeping at anchor under stars or will you use it to explore beautiful landscapes? Will you use it to race or relax? To hang out with friends or to simply spend more time outdoors? There are lots of questions to ask yourself before buying a boat but when asking yourself why you should buy it at all, the answer is simple: improved quality of life. Boating not only gives you an excuse to spend more time outdoors, which offers immeasurable health benefits, it is extremely rewarding, reduces stress, helps you develop new relationships and spend quality time with friends and family. And if all of that isn’t enough, owning a boat is undeniably and universally considered cool! Who doesn’t want to spend a warm summer evening on their own boat with their closest companions, enjoying snacks, drinks, and laughter?

When would I use the boat?

Anytime! That’s the beauty of owning your own boat. It can be used by you, whenever you like, at times most convenient to you, especially if you’re lucky enough to work flexible hours or even retired. Alternatively, if your schedule is slightly more restrictive due to work commitments, then what better way to spend your weekend than in the open air, on your own boat, cruising around one of the UK’s most idyllic locations, sailing away from those ‘Sunday Blues’? Trust us; it certainly beats watching Antiques Roadshow!

OK...but why Lake Windermere?

At ten and a half miles long and 219 feet deep, Windermere is England's largest lake; this makes Windermere and its surrounding areas arguably the most popular location in the whole of the Lake District. As such, there are a range of activities and things to do around the lake; from restaurants, pubs and boutique shops to attractions like The World of Beatrix Potter™, there really is something for everyone around Windermere. The lake itself also offers boat owners calm and peaceful waters, the ideal setting and ‘best seat in the house’ to relax and enjoy the picturesque views of the area. Additionally, if new to boating, it is perfect for newcomers to build-up experience of sailing before heading for the more challenging waters of the open sea. Be warned though, once you buy a boat on Windermere, you may not want to leave this tranquil location behind!

What kind of boat would I even buy?

Buying a boat should be an enjoyable, exciting experience, and it is our aim to make the process ‘plain sailing’ for you. As such, before buying, ask yourself a few key questions such as the ones listed above, to make sure that the boat you are considering will serve your purposes. When and how often will you use it? What type of boat would suit your needs and the needs of your family? Once you have an idea of the sort of thing you might require, browse through our ‘Boats for Sale’ section and get in touch to see what we can do for you; we have a range of boats on offer, new and pre-owned, all of which are available for viewing and demonstrations, and we look forward to showing you how we can help bring your boating ambitions to life, here on Lake Windermere.

Lake Windermere In Autumn

Lake District in Autumn with Windermere Boat Sales

The lake district is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit within the UK. The breath-taking scenery, cute shops, the walks, the lake and restaurants provide a fun filled weekend for people of all ages and with so many fun spots to visit, places to eat and scenery to behold, is it any wonder why Windermere is so popular?

While most tourists tend to come during summer, the best time to visit Windermere is actually autumn as the crowds tend to die down allowing you to take the time to explore and appreciate this beautiful area. Want a few ideas of where to go? Windermere Boat Sales have you covered! Check out the below list of places to visit that can be easily accessed by boat.

Lake Windermere In Autumn

Use the lake while you can! Windermere Boat Sales & Bowness Bay Marina will be keeping their boats on the water until early – mid November before all boats are stored away until March. This is a perfect time to get yourself on the water one last time before winter and explore these hidden gems that are easy to access by water.

Wray Castle – Wray Castle is perfect for all ages and lovers of history and world heritage sites. The house and grounds are accessible most days with food, drink and shopping available on site. For more information please check out Wray Castle Bookings.

Access Wray Castle from the lake with Windermere Boat Sales


The Swan in Newby Bridge – This is a great place to visit by boat, especially if you own your own. The ride will take a good 20 – 30 minutes but is one to remember. This venue is perfect for all parties of all ages. Simply sail up to the jetty, secure your boat and have lunch by the river surrounded by stunning backdrops and the soothing sounds of nature! For bookings please visit the Swan Hotel website.  

Visit the Swan Hotel with Windermere Boat Sales

Brockhole – Ideal for kids and families, Brockhole on Windermere is the perfect haven for adventure seekers with a range of activities on offer such as an adventure playground, archery, mini-golf, pony rides, treetop treks and more! Simply check out the Brockhole Website here.

Visit Brockhole Adventure With Windermere Boat Sales & Bowness Bay Marina


Aquarium – The lakes aquarium is perfect for families with young children or school trips. The aquarium is home to a range of crazy and cuddly critters from all over the world. Experience underwater life today.
Plan your visit by checking out the Lakes Aquarium Website.

Visit the lakes aquarium by boat with Windermere Boat Sales & Hire


Beech Hill Hotel – This hotel offers boating parties the chance to have some nice food, a few drinks and even a place to stay the night with fantastic views of the lake. Simply tie up the boat and walk up a steep set of steps. Not a climb for the faint hearted. Interested in checking into Beech Hill Hotel for the weekend? Check out their website here.

Sail up to the Beech Hill Hotel with Windermere Boat Hire


YMCA Ambleside – The YMCA offers travellers an affordable place to stay for the weekend. The food, drink, people and atmosphere is always fun and friendly and with a jetty just over the road, you can drop in, grab yourself some lunch and sail off to the next venue. Contact the YMCA here.

YMCA Ambleside

Marina village – A great place to sail up to and grab lunch. Marina Village has restaurants, cafes, apartments for hire and more set in a stunning area that flows into the lake. The marina is a short walk into the centre of Bowness and all the attractions within, including ourselves at Windermere Boat Sales! Want to know more? Check out Marina Village here.

Marina Village

There are many more places to visit in Windermere with a range of walks, museums, restaurants, bars, nightlife and more all on the doorstep. If you are looking to plan a weekend away with the family, wish to book an adventure weekend or simply wish to get out on the lake one more time before winter approaches, contact Windermere Boat Sales on 015394 22695 today!

5 Great Reasons to Boat on Lake Windermere

5 Great Reasons to Boat on Lake Windermere

The Lake District is well-known throughout the UK for its picturesque scenery, peaceful atmosphere and incomparable lakes, the highlight of which is the beautiful Lake Windermere.

While experienced boaters are well aware of the countless benefits to taking to the waters of Lake Windermere, we thought we’d share a handful of fantastic reasons for new or prospective boat owners to choose Windermere.


Buying your First Boat

Owning a boat is a wonderful experience, it offers a level of freedom and relaxation unlike anything else in the world. However much like buying a car, every type of boat has different features and operational differences that you must consider before buying.

While an experienced boat owner will be familiar with various types and models of boats, those new to boating will likely be unsure of what kind of boat is best for them. In this short and simple guide, we’ll take a look at a few things to bear in mind when shopping for your first boat, to ensure you’re happy with your purchase.


Contact Us

Windermere Boat Sales
Bowness Bay Marina
Winander House
Glebe Road
Cumbria LA23 3HE

Office 015394 22695

Richard Rothwell 07961 350 178 

Scott Carradice 07884 559 327


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