Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Step-By-Step Boat Show Shopping

March 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

step by step 1

If you’re planning to buy a boat during a show, it’s important to be knowledgeable and prepared. A boat is a large investment and shouldn’t be an impulse buy, so we help you organize and not overlook any important steps.

Before the Show

Determine what you need. Everyone’s essentials for a new boat differ. If you have two kids, you may desire a boat that sleeps four and has a head and a shower, or you may be a day-only adventurer whose priority is a fuel-efficient vessel. Discuss your idea of must-haves with your partner, spouse, family, and/or boating buddy. You’ll hear what they can’t live without and what they think you’ll never use. Now you’ll have a list of the basic requirements you require in a new boat before you start looking at upgrades and amenities.

Formulate a budget. Don’t gloss over this. No sense getting in over your head when buying a boat — you want to relax and enjoy your leisurely days aboard, not have to work a second job every weekend. Calculate the most you can comfortably afford when including all costs of ownership, including operating, insuring, transporting, maintaining, and storing a boat in season and during the winter.

Check out the show’s featured vendors. Look at the boat show’s website, then research product lines and options by visiting dealer and brokerage sites. Taking the time to do this now means you may discover a vendor you didn’t know stocks a boat that fits your criteria and perhaps eliminate one or two that just don’t sell anything that meets your needs.

Search the reputation of the boat dealers and brokers you want to visit. Overwhelmingly positive or negative feedback online is significant, but it’s also important to ask fellow boaters what they’ve experienced.

step by step 2Map out your vendor visits and route. You don’t want to miss a display because you doubled back and went the wrong way (this can easily happen at bigger shows).

At the Show

View the boats. Visit each dealer’s display or brokerage booth before you start talking. You may cross off an iffy boat line or find yourself drawn to just one type of vessel.

Talk. Tell the dealers and brokers your main reasons for buying the boat and your price range.

Share. Elaborate on all the things you need. The salesperson won’t judge — whatever floats your boat is fine.

Listen. You’ll be told what the dealer or broker offers that is realistic for you.

Be realistic. Though it’s said that everything’s negotiable, you can’t get a luxury cruising vessel for the price of a runabout, so it’s best not to waste time.

Ask. Question whether the boat has everything you need at the price you can afford. Having your head turned by a pretty boat that lacks what you decided was necessary will likely make you one dissatisfied skipper. On the other hand, if it has all the things you’ve decided you can’t live without, drop gizmos, gadgets, upgrades, and enhancements until the price fits your wallet.

Get a complete price. Some electronics shown at the show are after-market installations and covers may not be included in the quoted price. The outboard engine might be extra and the trailer will usually be an additional cost.

What’s your protection? Request a copy of the warranty that comes with a new boat. If buying a previously used boat, ask the broker for any written guarantees that he or she will provide.

It’s OK to be unsure. If you’re not prepared to buy on the spot, get a brochure and a business card. Write down everything you discussed before you walk away so you don’t have to rely on your memory.

After the Show

Check out the boat. As applicable, schedule a sea trial and/or arrange for a survey.

Make it yours. Secure financing if necessary, obtain insurance coverage, and make arrangements for a spot to store your new vessel until the season begins.

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