It all comes down to 2 things. Time and Money... So do you buy a boat or rent a boat ?
Clearly Renting will be cheaper on the shorter end. If you're not sure if you want to become a boater than renting may certainly be for you. There are clubs out there that you can pay yearly dues and have access to a whole fleet of boats. You can even fish on them all day and come back to the dock, grab your gear and leave. No maintenance required. For the once or twice a year boater, this could be a great choice. An expensive one but your still getting out boating. You can find daily rentals scattered scarcely around coastal areas that can be a lot of fun. They aren't as prominent as they once where which to me means that there was some liability issues there... They can still be found though and as long as you have some general knowledge of how to drive a boat, you should be fine to get in one. Just be careful, and definitely sign the insurance waiver !
Buying a boat comes with a lot of responsibility. There is a lot of research,paperwork and money that must be done before even stepping on board. After all that fun stuff is over you still need to upkeep your vessel and fuel it. Just like everything else, it takes time and money to run it. With all that being said... There is nothing better then having your own boat and the freedom to do what you like on it. My first boat was a 17" CC and you couldn't get me off of it. I experienced a whole new part of life that I had been dreaming of since I was a kid watching all the boaters go down the canal. When it comes to upkeep... You learn. I broke steering rods, props, rod holders and ran out of fuel. I learned how to prevent those situations or at least how to fix them if they occurred. It was great learning a new hobby and becoming experienced in something I had no clue about. Having the freedom to jump in the boat at a moments notice and take off with some friends for the vineyard or cruise around the cape islands is a time I will not soon forget. If a new boat is too expensive there are plenty of options out there for used sales. Marina's are usually stocked with fishing boats that have been sitting around waiting to be bought. My advice, Get a boat! At least you can put your own name on the stern...
So do you buy a boat or rent a boat ?
There are two sides of an argument and I only briefly touched on it today. The important part is that you want to become a boater. It's up to you to decide if it is going to be a passion and a lifestyle though. Both decisions will change your life. If you need help figuring out which one you are. Contact a boat buying consultant and they will help get you started.