India has a long coastline of 7516.6 km and has more than 12,500 water bodies in different parts of the country. It is common for people living near the coast or water bodies to have vessels for transport or trade. Many of them even think about owning a proper boat someday.
However, a boat is not a commodity to be purchased impulsively. It is more of an investment since it costs a significant sum and requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Looking after a boat can be challenging, especially if you fail to conduct thorough research and make an informed decision.
If you are someone who is considering buying and owning a boat, here are a few things you need to know –
Type of Boat
Before you purchase the vessel that you want to own, it is essential to determine its type. There is a massive variety of international and locally-made boats available in the Indian market. From a fishing boat, houseboat, canoe, or a yacht, you can find a wide variety of boats that vary in utility and application.
Therefore, it is imperative to have a clear idea about your requirements so you can purchase a suitable boat accordingly. It is easy to determine which boat will be perfect for you if you consider the below-mentioned factors –
While getting a boat, the first thing to consider is its purpose since every boat is designed for a specific use. You can ask yourself these questions – What will you be using this boat for? Do you need it for sailing, fishing, or taking on long trips? Do you need it for personal or professional usage? These fundamental questions can help you determine the kind of boat best suited for the potential use you have planned for it.
Another important consideration is the size of the boat. If you have a huge family or a sizable group of friends, you may have to opt for a larger vessel. However, if you plan to use the boat for two to three people, a small vessel will also be sufficient. Additionally, it is also vital to consider the type of waterbody and choose a boat of the appropriate size.
- Age and Condition
The age and condition of a boat determine its price range. Boats used for a few years are likely to be in a worn condition and will cost less. On the other hand, newer make and model boats will be more expensive. Choose a boat after considering the amount you are willing to pay after factoring in the cost of maintenance and upkeep.
The type of water body you live near will also dictate which kind of boat you must buy. If you live near the coast, you may need a bigger boat to use at sea. But if you live near the calm backwaters of Alleppey or Goa, a smaller boat, like a canoe or a dinghy might be good enough.
Cost of Owning a Boat
The cost of buying a boat is not limited only to its buying price. There are other expenses that you need to consider as well. Some boat-related maintenance expenses include:
- Fuel required to operate the boat
- Maintenance on board the ship to ensure that it is in perfect shape
- Docking the boat and the necessary fees to do so
- Accessories and safety gear
- Storage units to secure goods
- Insurance to protect the boat and those onboard
Which Insurance Does Your Boat Need
Every mode of transport is associated with significant risk, including boats. As the owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the vessel has adequate protection in the form of insurance. To ensure optimal protection, you need to research the type of insurance your boat needs. Marine insurance is mandatory in India, especially if the vessel is used for transportation purposes. Its policies cover loss or damage caused to the vessel and its cargo while the boat is in water or grounded.
Depending on the age, type, and use of your vessel, one following insurance options can be the right fit for you –
- Hull and Machinery Insurance
This type of insurance protects the articles in the boat against any unanticipated mishaps. It provides coverage for damage to machinery, equipment, or parts like the hull.
- Liability Insurance
Liability insurance protects the ship if a crash, collision, or other attacks that cause huge loss or damage. With it, you receive a fair amount of compensation as the policyholders.
- Freight Insurance
If you plan to use your boat commercially, it can be an excellent decision to get freight insurance. It offers protection if the shipment is lost or damaged.
You can also opt for insurance policies that offer coverage for a limited duration according to your requirements. Here are a few such policies –
- Open Policy
It is issued for a specific period and covers all shipments during the specified duration.
- Time Policy
This policy is bought for a year or so and is valid for a limited time, most commonly, a year.
Getting insurance can protect your boat against unforeseen circumstances and reduce the financial impact of such events on you. Marine insurance plans offer coverage for theft of the boat, collision, mistakes in transportation, theft of cargo, and accident like sinking or overturning, among others.
All types of boats can be insured, including yachts, sport boats, houseboats, jet skis, kayaks, canoes, etc. The insurance policies offer protection to boats against damage in disasters like fire, theft, stranding, sinking, explosion, capsizing, storms, and collision.
Credentials For Sailing a Boat in India
While buying a boat in India, it is essential that you know about the basic credentials and requirements. For example, The registration of boats and yachts is the responsibility of the Marine Mercantile Department, port authority, or state maritime board. Here are some of the credentials that you might need from them –
A license document is required for the port authority for you to be able to operate a boat in your preferred waterbody.
- Registration at home port
Once you get a license, you also need to register at your state’s home port. A boating club near you can help with the registration process.
To apply for the License and registration, you need to submit a copy of your insurance, address proof, voted ID, Driving License, and a government-approved identity card. Additionally, you also require the following credentials to buy a boat –
require the following credentials to buy a boat –
- Certificate of survey
- Port Clearances
- Insurance Certificate
- Purchase Agreement
- Port Clearance
The credentials and documents for buying a yacht are slightly different in India. You need to get the following documents –
- Declaration of ownership declaring the possession of the yacht
- A certificate with signatures from manufacturers and ship details
- Approval from the Director-General of Shipping, who assigns an unofficial number to your vessel
Importance of Buying from Local Manufacturers
Even though India is the dealer for top yachts and boat brands globally, Indian customers should prioritize local manufacturers and buy from them. Boats made by international brands are made to withstand the environment of that particular region. However, Indian-made boats are more suited to its tropical climate and changing weather conditions along its coastlines. Additionally, it is also easy to find parts of an Indian boat if it requires replacing, unlike foreign-made boats. You can quickly get repairs done to your boat locally without much hassle.
Locally-made FRP Boats
Even though international and imported boats are considered of better quality and outlook, Indian brands have also improved tremendously over the last few years. Brands like SHM Group have developed Indian-manufactured Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boats that are a better alternative to conventional boats. These boats are more affordable than ones made of heavier metals like steel and are versatile, corrosion-resistant, and highly durable.
Therefore, if you want to buy a boat, you can consider getting one of SHM Group’s FRP boats according to your preference. They have a wide range of boats made from Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymers, Basalt Fibre Reinforced Polymers, Aramid Fibre Reinforced Polymers, and Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers.