Spring is just a few weeks away, and that can only mean one thing: It’s time for boat shows. For 2018, there are more features than ever to choose from and plenty of businesses and manufacturers competing to make you a deal. If a new boat is in your future, the boat show is a great place to explore your options under one roof. In this post, we’ll give you our top tips to help you choose the boat that’s right for you.
Choosing Your Boat
Inboards and outboards, hulls and ballasts – it can all be very confusing if you’re new to the boating world. Before you set out to buy, do your homework to find out what type of boat and features will suit your needs and preferences. It’s always better to arrive at a boat show knowledgeable about your purchase and prepared to look for important features and ask the right types of questions.
Will you be fishing with a couple of buddies? A bass boat with a quiet, low-maintenance outboard motor can offer the live wells and floor space that’s right for you. Are you hoping to spend your time skiing with the family? Consider a ski boat with a powerful inboard engine. Maybe you want a high-capacity, multi-purpose watercraft. In that case, a pontoon boat could be right for you.
You’ll also need to decide on the size of your boat. Consider the following factors:
- Where you plan to store it
- Whether your homeowners association allows boat storage at your home
- Your experience transporting and maneuvering large watercraft on land and in the water
- The number of people you plan to carry on your boat
- Fuel costs for larger watercraft versus smaller ones
Now for the fun part – shopping for your boat. First, you’ll need to decide how you will pay for the boat. Unless you are planning to pay cash, you may need to secure financing for part or all of your purchase. Although boat shows tend to offer on-the-spot financing, you may have success finding better terms by securing financing on your own prior to the show.
New vs. Used
Most boat shows are giant showrooms featuring the latest models in watercraft. You’ll run into dealers, brokers, and manufacturers all vying to sell you a shiny new boat. However, many of them would also be happy to sell you a used boat or even a model from last year’s stock if you are looking for significant upfront savings. There’s no denying that the purchase price on used boats tend to be significantly more affordable than new boats but be sure to consider all of the ways buying used could affect you versus buying new.
First, used boats are at higher risk of mechanical failure than new boats, which means you will need to view your purchase with greater scrutiny. A new boat, on the other hand, is more likely to come with a warranty that guarantees the mechanical and structural integrity of the vessel during the first few years of ownership. Also, you can only purchase a used boat from the inventory that is available at the time of purchase, whether you buy from a private seller or a dealer. When you buy new, you can choose from showroom inventory or take delivery of a boat custom-built with the features you want most.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
Boat insurance protects the investment you made in your watercraft and also protects you and your income against potential losses related to accidents on the water. Homeowners insurance only covers small sailboats and low-horsepower motors (25hp for outboard motors and 50 hp for inboard and i/o motors). Even then, the coverage is spotty and limited to only certain types of losses.
To ensure you are fully covered, give the team here at Thiel Insurance Group a call to discuss your insurance needs. We offer dedicated boat insurance policies with protection against liability, physical damages, injuries, on-the-water emergencies, special equipment coverage, and more. Contact us today for your free quote.