Buying Tips


The two most widely-used sayings about boats are that they are "holes in the water into which you throw money" and "the happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it."  Many people believe this is true but it doesn't have to be if you approach boat ownership with an understanding of what is involved.

Many people are unhappy boat owners because they buy the wrong boat.  Before you dive head first into the world of boat ownership, you need to ask yourself a few questions that will help you find the boat that is right for you.

  • - Who will use the boat? Just family? Entertaining or inviting lots of friends?  This has a bearing on the size and type of boat needed.

  • - How will you use the boat?  Will you be fishing, water skiing, cruising, taking day trips, weekend trips or week long excursions?

  • - When and how often will the boat be used?  Do you boat year-round or only seasonally? If seasonally, how long is the season?

  • - Where will you be using the boat?  In lakes, rivers, Intercostals, or the ocean?

  • - How much can you afford to spend?  Don't forget the initial cost of the purchase is not the only cost. There will be maintenance, insurance, registration fees, fuel, and storage if needed.

  • - What type of boat suits your personality?  Do you imagine getting from place to place with great speed or leisurely cruising to your destination?

Which Type of Boat?
There are many different boats on today's market.  Such types include runabouts (bow riders), deck boats, cruisers, yachts, high performance, bass boats, and center consoles.  Generally it is best to consult with a boat dealer to decide which type best fits your needs since every scenario is different.  At Pier 77 we talk to our customers one on one and find the best type of boat that will fulfill a customers needs.  Our goal is to have extremely satisfied customers, so it is in our best interest to put our customers into the right boat.  If you buy the wrong boat, you will not be satisfied.  Here is the different types of boats that Pier 77 has to offer:




















A Bowrider is a kind of runabout boat with an open bow area where there are extra seats in front of the helm station. Bow riders are typically between 17' and 30', use stern drive engines, and hold between six and 14 people. They are well suited for many recreational water sports such as tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, swimming and short cruises.  Bow Riders are well suited for lakes and inland waterways but not for the ocean.  A bowrider is used mostly for seasonal boating for most climates.


Deck Boats



A deck boat is a kind of runabout with an over sized open bow that has a swim deck off the front and the back that makes boarding the easier all around the boat.  It serves the same purpose as the bowrider but allows more room and also provides more features for the size of boat it is, like a head on a 22' boat.  Regal utilizes a their patented high performance FasTrac on the new FasDeck deck Boats.  When you test drive a New Regal FasDeck, the ride will be just like the ride of our other FasTrac Runabouts, Smooth and Fast.


Cuddy Cabins



A Cuddy Cabin is a kind of runabout boat with a closed bow area in front of the helm station that contains a cabin at the bow. Cuddy Cabins range between 21' and 30', use stern drive engines, and hold between 5 to 10 people. They are well suited for many recreational water sports such as tubing, water skiing, swimming, short cruises, and they are great for day trips.  They make great family boats, especially a family with small kids.  Cuddy Cabins are well suited for lakes and inland waterways but not for the ocean.  A Cuddy Cabin is a great small runabout to use year around.


Sport Cruisers




A Sport Cruiser is a boat that consist of a cockpit, forward cabin, mid cabin, salon, and a head.  Some of these boats have single I/O engines and others have twin engines.  Sport Cruisers is a great family boat for those who are wanting to spend a lot of time on the water.  They can be used for long cruises, weekend trips, and even week long adventures depending on the conditions.  A cruiser offers family fun for the whole season.  They are great for large lakes, intercostals, and for the open water on calm seas.  Check out Regal's Window Express line of Cruisers, The large panoramic windows allow more light in and give you and your guest a great view even while in the cabin.


Sport Yachts


  A Sport Yacht has a lot like a cruiser but has more features for longer excursions and better accommodations in the cabin to feel more like a home on the water.  Sport Yachts are great for entertaining, short & long excursions, and they are typically used in large lakes, intercostals, and the ocean.  Sport Yachts are popular because of their fast cruising speeds and their elegant designs separate them from other boats in the 35' - 70' range.  



  Pontoon boats provide the most room for the size and the money.  Pontoons are mostly used on inland lakes and rivers. They have a very low draft so use in shallow lakes, rivers and coves is not a problem.  Available with an outboard engine and I/O (Inboard/Outboard or Stern Drive) Engines.  Most pontoons are equipped with outboards due the the lower initial cost, less weight, low maintenance cost and the ability to use all year round.  These are very versatile boats and can be equipped with performance pontoons or triple tubes to provide a high performance experience and allow the use of larger engines.  Pontoons provide a smooth ride on rough waterways.  Area's that would be rough for a 22' fiberglass boat become smoother in a 22' pontoon.  Pontoons are a great choice for families looking for the extra space or on a budget. If it's performance you are after, the triple tube options provide a similar feel to a fiberglass sport boat.   




Always do your research before you buy!
Once you narrowed down the type of boat you are needing, it would be wise to research all the boats you are interested in.  The internet is a great place of research, you can find a lot of information about a boat manufacturer, see how long they have been in business, check to see if they are family owned or owned by stock holders or ran by big corporations.  Find out what they all have to offer to you as a customer.  A great place to check out how the consumers rate a boat is
JD Power and Associates.  Another thing to take in consideration is resale of a boat to see what manufacturers retain their value better than others.  You may want to take a look at NADA book (Online does not show High Retail) and ABOS (only available for dealers, but we will be glad to look up values for you).  Their is a lot of things to consider when buying a boat and doing your research will assure you that you are buying the right boat.  It is not always about the boat, it will also be wise to research the dealers to see who looks out for their customers after that sale because that can play an important role in your boat ownership.  Always remember this saying "You get what you pay for."  If a boat seems to cost a lot less than its competitors, find out why, see if those boat owners are happy with their boat.  A list below is some great resources to check out:

Economy or Quality?
Here is a common statement that potential boat owners say: "Quality is too expensive and I do not plan to keep the boat long so it does not matter".  This statement is incorrect for two reasons, if you do your research you may find that quality is actually within your price range.  Even if you do not plan to keep your boat long it is a fact that better quality boats have higher resale percentages as well as they usually easier to sell used.  Keep in mind that boat repairs (parts and labor) are more than the standard automotive industry thus a better quality boat will save you in repair bills (on average).  When shopping for a boat look at the warranties offered, generally the more/longer warranties the better quality boat.

What Should I Look For?
The first place to start is the outside of the boat, below are a few positive features to look for:

  • -  No Pin-Striping look for all gel-coat surfaces - this will make the boat still look good for years to come.

  • -  Stainless Steel Rub-rail.

  • -  Full Step Hull (at the boats mid-ship) to allow better performance and fuel efficiency.

  • -  Stainless Steel Cleats (pop up/down)

  • -  Bow Stainless Steel Scuff Plate (for trailering)

  • -  Ensure that docking lights (if available) are Stainless Steel

  • -  Welded Stainless Steel Bow Rails (not in pieces) - make sure the entire bow rail is all one piece.

  • -  Stainless Steel Swim Ladder.

  • -  Full Canvas Covers - check to see the materials durability.

For the inside of the boat look for the following features:

  • -  Full Corian Countertops, not just selective pieces (for Cruisers and Yachts)

  • -  Leaning Bolster Captains Chair

  • -  Full Stainless Steel Components (hinges, screws, staples, backing plates)

  • -  Fiberglass Liner with Diamond Non Skid (not sandpaper)

  • -  Storage Compartment Lids with gas assist struts

  • -  Number of Storage Compartments

  • -  Battery Switch

  • -  Engine Hour Meter

  • -  Heavy Weight Vinyl (30oz) with Nylon Threading (not cotton)

  • -  Vinyl Warranty should include UV (Sun) protection

  • -  Seat Foam should be dense not "cushy" like a couch (ex: bounce in the seat to make sure it will not bottom out)

  • -  Finished off Cabin Cabinetry inside and out (for Cruisers and Yachts)

These are only examples of what to look for and if you have personal preferences then just add them to the list.  One easy way to sniff out a good boat is the Warranties and Certifications that a boat manufacturer offers.

Securing Delivery

Once you have secured the funds and your boat is ready for delivery it is time for a final inspection. If you have purchased a new or custom ordered boat it is essential that you do a complete walk though with the sales rep who sold you the boat.  Most reputable manufacturers have a customer satisfaction checklist that the dealer is required to complete upon delivery of the boat. This checklist will detail the walk-though inspection that you and the dealer will complete upon delivery.  If there are problems with the delivery they should be identified and fixed before you take possession of the boat.  You can also use the purchase contract as an inspection checklist to ensure that the vessel is in tip-top shape.

Make sure the dealer will give you proper instructions on how to operate, dock, and trailer the boat properly.  Also, make sure they go over all the important functions of the boat and what type of things you should do in emergencies, such as fire or taking on lots of water.   You should be comfortable with every aspect of the boat before the dealer leaves you out on your own to operate the boat.  So it is important to see what the dealers procedures for delivery are before purchasing a boat,  and when you are doing your research you should ask some of the local boat owners about how well did their dealer deliver their boat to them.