For many properties in the Bahamas, particularly communities such as Harbour Island, Rose Island, Abacos and Exuma, having a boat or two is like having a car anywhere else.
For going about the same island, a 12′ skiff is handy for shopping, moving small items and visiting.
To go island to island, a 16-18 foot runabout with a good solid engine and radio is the standard.
Buying a boat in the Bahamas is much like anywhere else. Buy new and you must carefully select the dealer for such features as good warranty service record, ability to either keep parts or get them quickly. There is a large boating community in the Bahamas, and it is not hard to get recommendations as to who will service you and who will not.
Buying second-hand is also a good alternative, but it is like buying cars or horses. Open the hood, and check the teeth. Understand what you are getting into. Again, a good dealer will also have an inventory of used equipment, and is likely to be more forthright about problems, as they are trying to build or keep a reputation.
You can also have a boat built for you. Abaco and Spanish Wells each have a vibrant boat-building industry, and if they don’t know how to put a good craft in these waters, I don’t know who does.
About the only thing that is different is that you should not make your choice based on one recommendation, for two reasons.
Newbies everywhere have a tendency to take advice from any place offered, and it is a bit of a thing here to consider it polite to offer up praises of someone, even if they are average, and to be thought of as an ‘expert’ in all things Bahamian. Add to that the situation that it seems everyone is related to everyone here. If you just ask one person, you stand a very good chance to find yourself at the receiving end of a glowing recommendation that was offered by someone who was a relative or just doesn’t know anything about the boating subject.
The resident boating community depends heavily on the marinas spotted about the islands, and they are generally staffed by people who love water and boating. You will usually find plenty of good information within their ranks. Seek out the one in your area to access their expertise by talking to the marina’s management.
But above all, get a boat and get out on the water as soon as possible. The Bahamas is just fine for the land-locked life, but is absolute paradise for water people.
Here is a some links to marinas for you to get started on your search. Have fun!
Bahamas Marinas Guide
Marinas in the Bahamas
Caribbean Information Portal: Bahamas Marinas