Is a new boat the way to go?
As with a car, there are pros and cons to both new and pre-owned boats. When buying boats, we recommend shopping new first. The reasons are likely obvious:
You know every piece of the history of your boat and its motor; if something goes wrong, you have a warranty to rely upon; you do not have to focus on all of the restoration or repair projects – allowing you to get out on the water right away; and finally, you often can order the boat custom to your needs and tastes. Financing a new boat often allows you to negotiate much better interest rates as well. By shopping new, you will also be able to easily compare boats and gain insight into which type of boat is best for you As with a car, the depreciation will be highest in the first season of use. On the other hand, dealers indicate that more likely than not, problems do creep up with new boats that need to be addressed in the warranty period, so you should definitely consider warranties and interest rates when you compare new and pre-owned boats. Boat shows are also a great boat buying resource when looking a brand new boat.
If I decide to buy a pre-owned boat, are there any extra things to consider?
Pre-owned boats can be a viable boat buying option, especially for the individual who doesn't know what he or she wants to do on the boat, or for families with tight budgets. Even if you are considering buying a pre-owned boat, it is a good idea to shop new first – boatshows are a great opportunity to see what is out there and to create your short list of the critical or important traits of a boat. You will use this list to narrow down the vast amount of pre-owned boats available.
Whether you're buying your pre-owned boat online, in the newspaper, or by visiting local boat dealerships – once you find your boat, but before you buy - get a marine survey of the boat. There is no question that the expense (approximately $15-$16 per linear foot) will be money well spent. Often, structural defects or mechanical problems on boats that are old or have not been cared for properly, may be difficult to detect. A marine survey is sort of like a home inspection. The surveyor will thoroughly inspect every part of the boat – from the engine to the electrical system, the hull to the dash – and give you an analysis of the results. Depending on the results, you can benefit from this information with power to re-negotiate the buying price of the boat, knowledge to step away from the deal altogether if needed, or the peace of mind knowing that nothing will need repair in the foreseeable future.