we are in the Fall season, arguably the best time to buy a new (or used) boat. We buy our used boats from a dealer in the Fall. More specifically, a boat yard where their primary work is service & storage. They are not a new boat dealer and the boats purchased were on consignment.
In all cases, the prices were fair at market rates for the time, though I was most concerned about reliability and where to go if there was an issue – which is why I stayed away from private sellers. I wanted to buy from a business where there was a level of accountability. In our cases, the boats ran well and when there was a problem, the shop was able to quickly address them. These were minor problems that did not keep us off the water.
My advice, buy from a business as there is a service department and reputational risk if they get it wrong. Yes, there is a higher price compared to a private seller, just like buying a car from an individual vs a dealer. The dealers do not want to sell you a lemon and if they do, they will fix the issues or risk a social media barrage of negative publicity. This advice is primarily for boaters who never lift an engine cover and just want to turn the key and go. An informed buyer is a smart buyer, so be aware of the main components and inquire if the mechanics are certified, or try to verify their competence or familiarity in engine types (i/o, inboard, outboard) and brands (Mercury, Yamaha, Volvo, etc). The more you learn about your boat, the better prepared you’ll be.
2 more tips:
1. Check NADA and other listings around the country to get the range for your prospective purchase. Feel good, get a decent deal but over haggling is a short term gain. You may win the battle ( a good deal) but lose the war (bad service). By that I mean you become a low priority when issues arise and they will. Remember profits makes the world go around. Buy the boat, enjoy it and stay safe.
2. Get a towing package with your boat insurance, it's the best insurance deal out there.
The biggest mistakes folks make when buying a boat - they overweight price in their decision matrix. You’re not just buying a boat, you’re developing a relationship with the dealer - ideally nearby where you primarily boat.
Happy Boating and hope to see you on the water.
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