The Internet has opened up a wonderful, never-ending flow of new opportunities. For instance, people who have an abundance of time, money or goods are now able to offer their generosity to people who are lacking in those areas. Many people have heard the story of Kyle MacDonald, who used the international online community, Craigslist, to trade his way from an initial offering of one red paperclip into a two-story farmhouse in Canada. While MacDonald’s goal was inspired more by an interest in how the trading itself might unfold, the same concept holds true for any bartering or donation aspiration you may have. For instance, if you find yourself in the market to buy a boat, did you know you could purchase a boat and help others at the same time? If you buy a boat that has been donated by someone to a charity, when you purchase that boat, your purchase will also help that charity continue its good works.
Understanding Charity Boats
The concept of donating a vehicle to charity is not a new one. What typically happens is that an individual owns a vehicle — perhaps a boat, a yacht, a motorhome, an RV, a car, a truck or another type of vehicle — that they no longer need or want. Often that vehicle is still in great condition with many more years of full use ahead. But the person simply does not use it for some reason, or maybe they no longer have storage space for it or they have replaced it with another type of vehicle. In this case, often that person will donate the vehicle to a cause they care about. The recipient organization can then choose to use the vehicle directly in its work or resell it and use the proceeds to fund its mission. When the charity chooses to resell the vehicle, the customers who buy donated boats or other vehicles are then helping that organization continue its good works.
Choosing a Donated Boat
If you have ever purchased a pre-owned vehicle in the past, you can probably still recall the basics of how the process works. The most important aspect of purchasing a pre-owned or donated boat or other vehicle is to be sure you get all of the information you need to make the best possible purchase decision. Considering these questions can be helpful to prepare you to select the best boat or other vehicle for your needs.
- How do you plan to use the boat? Here you want to consider trip frequency, number of passengers, type of water feature (river, ocean, bay), length of trip, expertise of the captain and crew and other factors.
- What accessories or features do you need? Here consider the on-board amenities area (such as living quarters), the power of the motor, available navigation equipment, safety gear and more.
- Can you get all of the paperwork? As well, you want to be sure you can get the title, registration, warranty information (if the craft is still under warranty) and any other relevant paperwork as a part of your purchase.
- How much will boat maintenance, storage and insurance cost? You will also want to calculate what your budget will allow for in terms of maintenance, storage facilities and boat insurance. This will ensure you do not buy more boat than you can afford.
- What is the boat’s history? Because the boat is pre-owned you just want to be sure you learn as much about the boat’s use history as you can before you purchase it.
- Get visual confirmation before you buy. If you are purchasing a boat that is not located in your same city and you are unable to travel to the area to check the boat out first-hand, find out if someone in that city can take care of this task for you. Alternately, ask about other means of visual confirmation such as video that can allow you to examine the boat’s condition directly before you make a final purchase decision.
If you follow these steps, you can be on your way to purchasing your dream boat and also paving the way for a worthwhile organization to further its mission and vision to help others.
About the Author: Bill Johnston runs a boating school for first-time boat buyers. He also consults privately with his students to help them locate the right new or used boat for their interests and budget.