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 so you can better compare boats.. Boatshows are a great boat buying resource 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 by visiting www.nams-cms.org or www.marinesurvey.org. There is no question that the expense will be money well spent. (The cost, which is generally per linear foot, will vary by market; you may want to get quotes from several surveyors). 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 conduct a thorough comparison of 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.
Safeguard your investment
You can protect yourself from costly repairs on both new and pre-owned boats by purchasing an extended warranty. It’s an easy way to limit out-of-pocket costs due to mechanical failure of major systems, i.e. engine, electrical, steering, etc.
Most new boats are backed by hull and engine warranties for 1- or 2-years; extended warranties will prolong the coverage of engine and systems for a specified number of years. Pre-owned boats, on the other hand, are generally sold “as is.” An extended warranty adds a layer of protection to your purchase and lets you buy a pre-owned boat with new boat peace of mind. This is especially true if you’re a first time buyer and don’t really know what to look for in a pre-owned boat. When choosing a warranty program, look for one backed by a quality insurance company and designed just for boats.
Although boating is fun for you, it takes place in an environment that is hard on your boat. Salt, high RPMs, rough water, etc. can all take their toll on boat, engines, and components. This makes a pre-sale inspection of a pre-owned boat and extended warranty coverage on both new and pre-owned boats excellent investments.