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Buying a Boat: Old vs. New

Susan J

When purchasing a boat, of course you weigh all of the options available to you. One of the main questions are: should you purchase new or used? There are many factors to consider including; budget, value and preference. Is going with new always the best route? It IS easy to be swayed by that new boat smell. But would a used boat be a better value? Do you know the seller and the condition of the used boat? You may need to check into why it is for sale. Who really wants to sell their boat? So many questions but very little time! Of course we want to be on the water in our new or “new to us” boat!

While you are browsing the boat show, it is easy to drool over the new gadgets available. Of course they are showing the top of the line boats that are to die for. The price tags however, can put a little damper on things. New boats are great for the fact that you know you are covered by manufacturer warranties. If something were to occur that is beyond your control, they will take care of everything. Plus, with new boats, you can customize and choose what you want and do not want. You may want to add a t-top or certain package that includes sweeter side decals. What about a bigger motor? That isn’t a problem either. The possibilities are endless. Once you’ve accepted the price tag and look forward to your time out on the water, there is something else to consider, depreciation. As soon as the new boat is driven off the lot or delivered, it depreciates. If you plan to keep the boat forever, this may not be an important factor. But if you plan to sell in a few years to upgrade, you may take a financial loss. It is said that the first year, the boats value will depreciate 10%, and each year after the depreciation will vary between 6-8%. Regardless, buying a new boat gives you many more options and peace of mind, which is very appealing.

If you are buying used, there are more things to consider. You may need to do a little more homework to ensure you are choosing wisely. But this could save you money in the long run. Once you have made the decision to buy used, the daunting task of finding just the right boat will start. You may need to consider how far you are willing to travel to pick up your boat. Then finding a boat with your wants and needs can be a task in itself. Remember, you are buying something that someone else chose based on their wants and needs. Once you have located a boat, it is important to check what the reason is that it is for sale. No one willingly wants to sell a boat, usually. Is the reason for selling because of mechanical issues? It very well may be that someone doesn’t have the time to use it and would rather not keep up with the expenses that come along with owning a boat. It is always recommended to have a boat surveyor look over your boat. Since they do this for a living, they may notice potential problems that the average eye cannot see. If everything checks out, you may have your hands on a good deal. A benefit to buying used is that, for the most part, the depreciation has already taken place. The price tag that you pay will reflect the current value. If you were to resell in a few years, you would take less of a financial risk. A used boat can be a great investment if you’ve done your homework.


     I would always recommend doing the research to ensure you are making the best purchase for your needs. Of course, buying a new boat would be a dream. But the price tag that comes along with it may not make sense for you. Each person has different needs and wants. A used boat that is in great condition may be purchased for an awesome price, but it is important to make sure you aren’t taking on someone else’s problems. You want this to be a happy and joyous time. Whether you are buying new or used, a boat will offer you great times and memories. There is nothing better than spending time out on the lake with your friends and family.

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