Life in Narooma is all about water; we're surrounded by it and blessed with so many opportunities to get out and enjoy it. It's a big part of what draws so many visitors here every year to grab a tiny slice of the paradise we can experience all year round.
From a day out on the ocean or inlets fishing or just enjoying the sea air, to getting together with your family for some fun paddling in a kayak, time on the water is a joyous salve to life's stresses.
It's an appeal that has been heightened during the coronavirus pandemic. With international holidays abandoned, more people are looking at rewarding themselves with the boat, jet ski, or tinny they've always wanted.
Around Australia, boat and other watercraft suppliers are reporting strong increases in demand as people decide to make that nautical purchase or upgrade their existing marine assets to take full advantage of local attractions and turn life at home into one long holiday.
Australia's largest yacht builder, Riviera, has reported record growth with sales up 20 per cent, while the Boating Industry Association (BIA) has seen increases of between ten and 15 per cent "right from the jet ski market through to to the big boat market".
"Retail activity across the boating industry has been very strong over the past eight months as the public have opted to get outdoors for recreation and leisure, and what better way to do that than on the waterways in a boat with family and friends," said BIA president Darren Vaux.
"Boating is an activity that supports being COVID Safe."
An additional factor that could be encouraging more people to realise those maritime ambitions is the trend in the finance and loan market in Australia at the moment.
Interest rates for personal loans are at an all time low with competition in the sector fueling good deals.
Finance expert and CEO at Savvy, Bill Tsouvalas, said demand for personal loans was up more than ten per cent.
He said a significant portion of the personal loans Savvy underwrites were for assets like boats and boat equipment, trailers, and fishing equipment.
"A personal loan can be used for anything really but you should take care and be wise about what you are borrowing money for," he said. "With something like a boat you are buying an asset - you can always recoup your costs."
Explosive growth in fintech lenders in the Australian market over the last five years has particularly helped drive competition in the sector resulting in cheaper and faster personal loans.
"Whereas ten years ago personal loan lending was pretty much controlled by the big four banks today we have a lot of specific personal loan lenders," Mr Tsouvalas said.
"The fintech lenders have automated their processes and are also very much credit score orientated which allows financiers to make more accurate, faster lending decisions about who to award a cheap rate to."
With so many lenders now in the market it can make it an ever more difficult challenge to research and compare loan offerings. It's why many people these days choose to use a finance broker, like Savvy, that is experienced in marine finance to help them find the best loan for them.
Tips for choosing your boat
As with any significant investment it's vital you take the time to research to ensure you end up with the right boat to suit your lifestyle and your budget. Here are some tips.
- Choose the right boat. Think about what you want from a boat and make a shortlist of the features you need. Where do you want to go boating? How many people will it need to carry? How much do I want to spend? What other equipment will I need to buy?
- Choose the right dealer. Take the time to drill your dealer as you search for the perfect boat. Look for a Boating Industry Association member and ask similar questions to each dealer to compare 'apples with apples'.
- Consider warranties. Warranties are valuable and should influence your decision. Find out what the warranty includes.
- Go for a spin. Like a car you can and should take boats for a test drive. Take a friend or family and test the boat in the conditions where you'll be using it.
For more information about marine loans visit the Savvy website or call 1300 974 066 to speak to their experts.
This story is brought to you by Savvy.