The lure of boating in its myriad forms has touched most Australians at one time or another. Many succumb; in fact, there are currently about 800,000 registered recreational boat owners in Australia. Some resist. Many wish they could take the plunge but are wary of the challenges of buying and operating their own boat.
We have all seen the terror on the faces of people trying to climb into an unstable small boat or watched at a marina as an unfortunate skipper caught by wind or tide struggles to park his sleek new million-dollar toy.
Boat ownership and handling appears so difficult and boating terminology seems both archaic and bewildering. There is port and starboard instead of a simple left and right. Cleats and lines and galleys and heads, cockpits and bilges; it is an occupation seemingly designed to intimidate.
Darren Finkelstein has been messing about in boats for most of his life. For the past 10 years he has earned his living in the industry as Dealer Principal of St Kilda Boat Sales in Melbourne.
Recently he took to a computer keyboard with the single and simple aim of demystifying a process that is his passion.
“I wanted to let everyone know that buying and owning a boat is not a massive hurdle,” says Darren. “If you apply some common sense and seek good advice, you and your family can be out on the water enjoying the boating lifestyle.”
The result is “Honey, let’s buy a BOAT!”, a straightforward guide through the seeming maze of power boat purchasing.
Typically, Darren began by attending a writers’ workshop with best-selling business author Andrew Griffiths.
According to Griffiths, “Darren’s mission is to help people find that zest for life, to get families spending time outdoors, to be more active, healthy, laughing out loud and having a blast.”
“Honey, let’s buy a BOAT!” is a 360-page book packed with information both general and comprehensive.
It includes a detailed description of 20 different kinds of power boats, from the simple tinnie and the personal water craft – motorbikes on water – to massive flybridge cruisers. Each includes a pricing guide as well as engine and accommodation options.
Darren has devoted six pages to what, for him, are the “coolest” boats in the world; the oddly named Wally brand.
There is a section on hull construction types – aluminium or fibreglass – along with the positive and negative points of each, a guide to the plethora of engine options and a straightforward explanation of berthing options. Do you store it in your shed or your yard, rent a garage or rent a berth at a marina? What is a dry-stack or a hard stand?
Each chapter is illustrated with photographs and Darren has added useful tips throughout the narrative, from a warning about trailer brakes to a tip on flushing an outboard engine.
He has provided tables for working out the full cost of boat ownership and an entire chapter each on the process for buying a boat at the best price and value (they are not necessarily the same) and selling your boat for the best price.
Inevitably, Darren includes a list of his Top 10 reasons for owning a boat: quality of life, affordable recreation, water access is close, bonding with family and friends, stress reduction, convenience, reward, exercise, ease and FUN.
The book is completed with lists of boating authorities around Australia, a dictionary of boating terminology and even a suite of sample forms used in buying or selling a boat.
Andrew Griffiths concludes: “The fact that after you read this book you will want to buy a boat, and you will be much better equipped to do so, goes without saying.”
“Honey, let’s buy a BOAT!” is available online at www.letsbuyaboat.com.au for $29.95 plus postage and handling or direct from St Kilda Boat Sales in Melbourne.
It will also be available toward the end of October both as an eBook and by print-on-demand.
The eBook will be available from Amazon for Kindle and from iTunes for the iPad, iPhone and for Android devices.
The print-on-demand book will be available through a range of international distributors including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram Book Co, Baker & Taylor, The Book Depository and Blackwell. For more details about print-on-demand availability, go to the web site www.letsbuyaboat.com.au