Although travel has begun to pick up after largely coming to a halt at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are still hesitant to fly or visit states with a high infection rate. Road trips
have been a popular alternative to traditional destination vacations, and RV sales
are soaring. Luckily, given our close proximity to the water, those of us in Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island have another option for recreational fun this summer; a boat.
As warmer weather comes, a boat, much like an RV, can allow you and your family to visit new locations without coming in contact with strangers like you would on a plane or train. SouthCoast Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents have access to the ocean from many locations. Here are some benefits of investing in a boat this upcoming season, and how to go about purchasing one.
Benefits during COVID
While Massachusetts has a COVID-19 Travel Advisory
and Rhode Island
requires residents to quarantine or be tested after traveling to states deemed "hot spots" for COVID-19, a boat allows you to explore local areas you may not want to take the time to drive to. Many dread the Cape Cod traffic during summer months which could be avoided with water travel. A boat can also allow you to view the famous Newport Cliff Walk and mansions from a new perspective.
Along with saving time, many boats include kitchen appliances such as a sink and refrigerator or freezer to store food. This can help you avoid crowded restaurants while docking at popular locations. If you would like to visit a more remote location, you can pack a meal and take it to go. This again helps keep you away from crowds and coming into contact with others. Even with COVID-19 vaccines now available, it is expected that people will be hesitant of large crowds
for quite some time.
Buying a Boat
You may be surprised to learn that many banks offer boat loans
. Depending on the bank, a boat loan could allow you to finance the purchase regardless of if the boat is new or used, purchased through a dealership, or bought directly from the previous owner. Just be sure to check with your lender first to get a sense of what their exact qualifications and requirements are.
If you’re considering buying a boat, keep in mind that used boats, like cars, can often be found for a much lower price than a brand new boat. Both new and used boats can be found online at sites like Boat Trader
and Yacht World
, as well as on the websites of boat dealers or marinas.
Regardless of what kind of boat you’re interested in, it’s important to know what to look for, especially if you’re a first time buyer. Here are some tips to help get your search started:
• Choose your style.
Do you plan to do a lot fishing? Are you interested in a power boat or a sail boat? Or maybe you would like a freshwater boat instead of saltwater. Narrowing down the type of boat
you want can help prevent your search from becoming too overwhelming.
• Define your budget.
Boats can be more expensive than you may expect - especially if you want all the bells and whistles. Just like buying a house or car, it is important to determine
how much you can afford to spend. If you’re financing your boat purchase you should also consider things like your loan interest rate, and the amount of down payment required. You should also consider the full cost of owning a boat and not just the purchase price. Be sure to factor in expenses such as insurance, fuel, upkeep, dockage, and winter storage.
• Know what to look out for.
If you are not familiar with boats, do some research online or talk to someone you know about red flags to look out for
. This could include the engine, the exterior, cabin and more. If the boat is used, it can be helpful to ask the current owners what they have done for upkeep and protection. If you’re purchasing a used boat, you may also want to consider getting a boat inspection by a professional surveyor
. In fact, many lenders will require such a survey before issuing a loan for a used boat.
SouthCoast Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents have access to many popular marine destinations
. Both Narragansett Bay and Buzzards Bay are home to many marinas and yacht clubs. Here are a few locations could potentially visit:
• Newport, RI. Newport
is situated at the mouth of Narragansett Bay making for a short ride from Southern MA. Explore Fort Adams, view the famous Newport Mansions from your boat, or visit one of the many restaurants downtown.
• Bristol, RI.
Located in Narragansett Bay, Bristol
is home to Colt State Park and Blithewold Mansion. The town is also well-known for having one of the oldest 4th of July Celebrations in the country including a parade on Independence Day.
• New Bedford, MA.
Known for being an old Whaling Port, New Bedford
now offers many museums and historical attractions, as well as a variety of restaurants.
• Bourne, MA.
In the heart of Buzzards Bay, Bourne offers many spots to tie up or anchor your boat. Spend a day at the beach or take a trip through the Cape Cod Canal.
Larger boats may have a bed in the cabin, allowing you to take overnight trips. Similar to a campground for RVs, many marinas rent out dock space so you can tie your boat up during a visit. Some may also offer moorings which work like an anchor and keep you away from other boats. This can help with social distancing and prevent you from coming in contact with others. Just keep in mind that if you use a mooring you may need a dinghy boat to get to shore. With boating being a popular activity in the North East during warmer months, there are many overnight options.
• Cape Cod, MA.
Just about every town on Cape Cod sits on the ocean. Without having to worry about driving or hotel reservations on your boat, make your way from Falmouth to Chatham to Provincetown for a full vacation.
• Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Martha’s Vineyard
is a popular summer destination for visitors from all over. It is 7 miles off of Cape Cod and home to several beaches and restaurants, and there are many spots to pull up your boat.
• Block Island, RI.
A little less popular than Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island
is about 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. Just be sure your boat is built to withstand the open ocean before heading over. Once there, explore beaches, trails, and more on the 12 mile long island.
• Mystic, CT.
Just over the border of Rhode Island, Mystic
is a popular boating destination that takes you into the Mystic River – offering a little more protection for your boat. View the large collection of marine artifacts downtown or visit the widely known Mystic Aquarium on shore.
If you are new to boating, there are many online classes
available to help get you comfortable and acclimated before you are on the water. Even after COVID-19 and social distancing are terms of the past, investing in a boat will allow you to explore your local area for years to come. Learn more about financing a new or used boat
through BankFive and get on the water this season.