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Life is better with a boat

Life is better with a boat

Award-winning bestselling author Darren Finkelstein, ‘The Boat Guy’, talks with Boat Gold Coast magazine. He offers great advice and practical tips to make boat-buying hassle-free and less daunting.

So what’s stopping you from enjoying the boating lifestyle on more than 270km of navigable waterways of the Gold Coast?

Right now, around Australia, there are over 1.6 million people who love boating on rivers, lakes and ocean, and about a tenth of that are on or around the Gold Coast. They must be onto something!

Buying a boat and the thought of boat ownership can be daunting to some. Most have heard the old line, “The two happiest days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it”. This view seems to come from unhappy people with a lack of boating knowledge and this is the biggest challenge most wannabe boaties face.


Starting the boat-buying exercise on the right foot really should begin with a family discussion that includes your partner and, naturally, the kids. It’s all hands-on-deck as you talk about your motivation for getting on the water. Discussing money and finances with your partner, and seeking finance approval to ensure you can afford boat ownership are also very important. These will allow you to have the cash ready should a terrific deal arise.


The choice of what type of boat you might like to own depends on the following:

  • Budget
  • Boating destination
  • Area of interest for you and your family
  • Journey of exploration
  • Teaching kids (or grandkids) to waterski or tube
  • Fishing

Whether you choose a day boat, overnighter, humble tinny or a ski boat, research is vital.

QUICK TIP: Visit boat shows, marinas, and use Google to help explore your options.


Finding an “Accredited Boat Dealer” where long-term relationships can be made for sales, service and ongoing support is the secret to your success. Naturally, expect to be overwhelmed with marine jargon: makes, models, engine types, options and accessories. This can cause confusion, but a patient dealer will clear the fog.

QUICK TIP: The dealer should be local and it’s critical to have boat-handling lessons arranged for you and your entire crew. Getting everyone involved shares the load and gives each person a chance to participate.


Storage is important for trailer boats and the bigger stuff: will the boat and trailer fit in your garage or on your mooring? If it’s a bigger boat you’re after, then talk to your local marina about storage options, as storage must be convenient.

You’ll soon discover that your boat can be a great place to go and relax without ever having to turn on the engines. Grab a good book, turn off your phone and enjoy the serenity. Ahh the serenity! Spend the weekend and holidays at the marina and your boat will become a weekend apartment, complete with a swimming pool that never needs cleaning and water views that are constantly changing.

QUICK TIP: Remember the easier it is to access your boat, the more you’ll use it.


If you’re planning on towing the boat to various boating locations, make sure your tow vehicle is suitable by checking the towing capability in your vehicle owner’s manual. Safe towing practices are critical to both your safety and that of other road users.

QUICK TIP: Practice is the key to stress-free boat launching, so grab the family and head to your local boat ramp at night. It’s always easier when no one is watching.


It’s not just about the boat; it allows you to connect with people. The kids are off the computer, and parents are not focusing on work, so the whole family can enjoy quality time on the water.

Ask any boatie and they will tell you that “the two happiest days of owning a boat are a Saturday and a Sunday” when most boaties can get on the water. It’s all about lifestyle, because you know that life is too short.

Get into boat ownership, as after all “Life is better with a boat”.


Darren Finklestein is the author of Honey, let’s buy a BOAT! “Boat Ownership – Everything you wanted to know about buying (and selling) a power boat but didn’t know who to ask”. (RRP $29.95+p&h) Available online at