Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 03-12-2007

A recent issue of one of the boating magazines I take had a cover story of how to save $100,000 on your next boat.  It caught my eye and was the first article I flipped to.  I found myself smiling at the first part and frowning at the second.

I think most of us know the boat market is expanding here in the Pacific Northwest.  There has been a steady increase of boats on the water, especially wakeboard boats.  As our market continues to grow, the availability and variety of used boats grows too.  Which is great news for those who don’t mind buying a used boat.

Any dealer will tell you that boats depreciate during the first couple of years at a great rate, just like our cars do.  Now granted some people want new just because it is new.  But if you can deal with owning someone else’s new boat you can save a substantial amount of cash.

One of the advantages to a used boat is that it generally is a ‘turn key’ operation.  You get to start enjoying it immediately.  Having owned two new boats, I can tell you that new can sometimes be real frustrating.  That shakedown cruise (first trip out) can turn quite a few problems that require the dealer to fix.  So, it’s back to the shop until repairs, replacements or upgrades can be done.  Used boats have already been tested, their equipment is broke in so everything should be working.  There are always bugs that need to be worked out but in a used boat the previous owner has already done that for you.

Another advantage to used is that there will be equipment already on the boat.  If you’ve never owned a boat before then you may not realize all the stuff you need that doesn’t come on a new boat.  I remember when my dad bought our first new ski boat.  After he signed for the boat and was its new proud owner, the sales person asked if he wanted to buy a trailer for it.  While I don’t think this happens any more it is a good example.

Obviously if you’re buying a used boat then the first thing you’ll want to do after locating the boat is get a survey done.  If there are a bunch of hours on the engine you might want to get a mechanic to look at it.  Then too, even though you’re saving by buying used, you might find the help of a good broker worthwhile. 

Why did I frown at the article in the magazine?  All the boats they featured were $1,000,000 and above boats.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone looking for a boat in that price range.  How much you save will depend on you.  I can tell you that by buying a used sailboat we did save.  The survey showed a new boat price of similar type of boat (no equipment) at $100,000.  We saved over $70,000 by buying a used boat and this doesn’t reflect the equipment we didn’t have to buy.  

More reading:  What to think aboutbuying a used boat, what to expect from a survey

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