Boat shows are fun for the whole family. There are vendors, workshops, seminars, and most of all – a giant showroom lined with the latest models for 2018. If you are in the market for a new boat this year, chances are you’ll be checking out what your local show has to offer. Whether you’ve been boating your entire life or looking to venture onto the water for the first time, we’ve got a few tips to make your boat shopping experience as smooth as possible.
Do you know what type of boat you are shopping for? Fishing boats, ski boats, deck boats, pontoon boats, personal watercraft, and sailboats are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the different types of watercrafts available. You should choose your boat based on how you will use it most, whether for fishing, sport, or leisure.
Bass boats are popular choices for anglers, as their live wells, angler seats, and quiet trolling outboard motors make for a prime fishing platform. If you are looking to enjoy the more thrilling side of boating, perhaps a ski boat or personal watercraft is right for you, as these types of vessels are built for speed and maneuverability. If you prefer a more relaxing or leisurely experience, consider a pontoon boat, which floats on aluminum tubes, or perhaps even a sailboat, which relies on the wind and sails for navigation.
Boats come in many different sizes, regardless of which type you choose. If you expect to bring the entire family or some friends out on the water with you, a bigger watercraft may be right for you. However, it is important to reflect on the downsides to owning a large boat before buying. When you purchase a large boat, consider:
- Fuel costs
- Where you will store it (Some HOAs do not allow visible boat storage)
New vs. Used
Boat shows typically showcase brand new boats, but many of the dealers on the showroom floor may sell used models, too. When you buy used, you trade the sparkle and shine of a brand new watercraft for upfront savings on the purchase price. However, it can be difficult to detect any mechanical or structural defects when purchasing a boat unless you take it for a water test first. Consider that the long-term maintenance costs can offset the savings of simply buying a new boat with a warranty instead.
Making the Purchase
If you think you may be ready to buy at the boat show, consider securing any financing you may need before you arrive. This can help expedite the purchase process and also allows you to shop and compare interest rates before you arrive. Although financing may be available in-house, you may end up with less favorable terms than you would have by shopping around.
Boat insurance should be the first thing you purchase after buying a boat or personal watercraft. Your homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover your boat – especially if you purchase a large sailboat or a motorized watercraft with an outboard engine greater than 25hp or an inboard engine greater than 50hp. Even if your boat is covered, the protection is likely to be limited to only certain specific loss events.
To ensure your watercraft is protected on the water, at your home, and everywhere in between, we suggest purchasing a boat insurance policy. This type of coverage is specifically designed to minimize your exposure to the risks associated with boating and boat ownership, from liability and physical damages to injuries and special equipment. We can shop and compare rates on policies from multiple insurers to find a good value on the coverage you need.