For most people, buying a first boat is one of the most important financial decisions they will ever make next to buying a house. There are so many different things to consider. For someone new to boating it can be a particularly large challenge as they don’t always know exactly what they want and expectations may be much too high. The perfect boat does not exist and usually there is some kind of sacrifice that must be made.
First it’s important to identify who the boat is for. If it is just for a couple, then things are wide open. However a family of five will have different requirements. You may need multiple cabins for sleeping arrangements. Will the boat be used in fresh water or salt? A river boat may not be as flashy looking as a large sport cruiser, but it may fit the buyers needs the best. The proper boat in the proper environment may provide more longevity.
If you are looking for a family boat, you may want one where a few people can sleep aboard for a weekend getaway. As the boats get larger, not only can they sleep more people, but their range increases. Larger boats can navigate the ocean and allow for family trips. A typical 6 berth boat may be about 30 feet long and 10 feet wide with 3 cabins. A 160 horsepower engine would be ample power. A chart plotter comes in hand for navigation and you may want to consider a depth sounder if you plan on doing some fishing.
Suppose your boat needs to fit under a bridge. Your boat may need a lower profile than some. Or perhaps fuel efficiency is important. That is something to look for as well.
Just looking at a boat from the dock is not enough. The most important thing is to get out on the boat to get a feel for what it can do.