How to Prepare for a Boat Dealership Visit

Are you getting ready to visit a boat dealership? Congratulations! Dealerships are one of the best ways to purchase a vessel of your own. You can shop for many boat brands and models under one roof, and it’s easy to compare your options and ask questions.

However, with so many boats and brands available, we understand that visiting a boat dealership can be overwhelming.

Sound familiar? Because if so, you’ve come to the right place. As experts in the boating industry, our team is offering up some tips to prepare you for a boat dealership visit in today’s blog post. Keep scrolling to discover everything you need to know:

7 Tips to Prepare for a Boat Dealership Visit

1. Do Your Research

If you want to make the most of your dealership visit, you have to do your research beforehand. Figure out what type of boat you’re interested in, how often you plan to use it, and how large it needs to be. Then, start comparing individual models and brands that align with your needs.

After you have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, find out which local dealerships have available options.

Pro tip: Boat type, size, and price are the key decision factors for most boat deals. We recommend having a general idea of your preferences before heading to the dealership. 

Visit the Boat Finder

Boat Dealership Visit

2. Contact a Boat Dealership

Next, contact the boat dealership to set up an appointment. And while this might seem obvious, make sure they carry the type of boat(s) you’re interested in. Also, pay attention to their customer service, as the dealer will be your main point of contact throughout the buying process.

Shop Boat Dealers

3. Ask the Right Questions

After finding a dealer that carries the boat you’re looking for, write down all your potential questions for the sales representative. Not only will this keep you on track, but it will ensure you get the necessary information to make the right decision.

Here are some examples:

  • Should I contact the manufacturer?
  • What are the terms of the warranty?
  • How long is the vessel under warranty?
  • What kinds of service is common for this boat?
  • What is covered under warranty? (And what isn’t?)
  • What is the dealership’s relationship with the manufacturer?
  • How long has the dealership represented the manufacturer?
  • How responsive is the manufacturer in handling common situations?
  • Does the dealer provide an extended warranty? If so, what are the terms?
  • What is the process for replacing parts? And what is the warranty for replaced parts?

4. Discuss Pricing

Whenever you’re making a big purchase, talking about pricing can be stressful. However, it’s a necessary part of the boat-buying process. If you’re a first-time buyer, know that the total cost of the boat goes beyond the vessel itself. The final amount you pay usually includes — but isn’t limited to — the following:

  • Boat
  • Gear
  • Freight
  • Taxes
  • Dealer prep
  • Boat accessories
  • Boat trailer (if needed)

It’s essential to ask your dealer about each of these items, as they all factor into the total amount you pay.

5. Dealer Prep

The amount of preparation your dealer undergoes depends on your order method and the dealer’s process for getting the boat water ready. For the most part, it includes:

  • Unloading the boat from the transport trailer: This is usually a two-person job that can take hours.
  • Hanging the engine: Depending on the brand and order method, the engine may be delivered separately.
  • Adding a propeller: Depending on where you boat, you might need a different prop than what’s included.
  • Installing batteries: Because of their short shelf life, batteries typically aren’t shipped with the boat. Also, note that some boats require multiple batteries.
  • Changing the oil
  • Filling the gas tank
  • Cleaning

6. Discuss the Delivery Process

After the boat is prepped and ready to go, you’ll need to discuss the delivery process with your boat dealer. Decide whether you will tow, launch, pull, and store the boat yourself. And if you decide against it, ensure your dealer offers those services. Most dealers handle pulling, launching, and storing the boat. However, you’ll have to discuss how that relates to overall pricing.

7. Conduct a Complete Walk Through

Every boat owner needs to conduct a complete, initial walk-through of the boat. Whether it’s in the dealership parking lot or on the water, we recommend asking your dealer to show you around the entire boat. And if you purchased a boat trailer, we recommend requesting a demo.

Read Next: Boat Trailer Parts and Accessories

Discover Boating: Your Trusted Boating Resource

Ready to visit a boat dealership? After reading today’s article, we hope you have a good idea of what to expect.

As experts in the boating industry, Discover Boating shares maintenance tips, buying guides, and excursion inspiration. Head to the Discover Boating Blog for more.