Now that I have my boater's safety card it's time to move on to steps 1-5 of getting a boat. Step 1: Learn how to sail
I've decided that this step doesn't necessarily have to come first. I can live on a boat and learn how to sail it simultaneously. A user poll suggests that if I do this I have only a 50% of crashing and sinking my boat within the first week of owning it.
Step 2: Hire a boat surveyor
I'm working on this right now. It looks like the average cost for a marine survey is $350. I plan to look at some boats on my own first just to rule a few out and when I find one that I like, I will come back with the surveyor.
Step 3: Take boat surveyor to look at boats
I have a couple of boats lined up to look at this weekend. So far I know that I want something 30ish feet that is comfortable to live aboard yet easy for one person to sail. It should have as little outside wood as possible so that I won't have to be constantly staining it and a propane stove.
Step 3.5: Apply and Qualify for a Boat Loan
This doesn't seem too difficult, although boat loans are harder to get and have higher interest rate than other loans because there is a greater risk of a boat buyer disappearing with their new boat than there is for, say, a homeowner disappearing with their new home.
Step 4: Find Moorage
This is one of the most complicated steps. I will probably write a more detailed post about this when I actually know what I'm talking about.
Step 5: Buy a Boat
Self-explanatory. As they say, the second happiest day of a boat owner's life is when she buys a boat. The happiest day is when she sells it. At least I'll have something to look forward to.