Saving Money When Buying a Boat – What to Know

Saving Money When Buying a Boat – What to Know

Whether you’re an experienced boater that’s looking to make an upgrade to a better boat for the upcoming summer season, or you’ve never purchased a boat on your own in your life, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best deal possible when buying the boat of your dreams. Because purchasing a boat can be a long and confusing process, we’ve provided a few of the most important factors that you should analyze when buying a boat that will help conserve your money in both the short and long term.

Deciding Between New and Used

When you choose between purchasing a new or used boat, there are three major factors to think about that separate new boats from used.

  • Purchase Cost
  • Operating Cost
  • Risk

Purchase Cost

As you would imagine, the purchase cost of a brand new boat is going to be more than a used boat. That doesn’t include just the purchase price however. It also includes costs involved with insurance, warranties, and registration. Knowing how much more these costs are compared to a used boat, and whether you are paying the right amount for these costs for a used boat is not as easy to figure out. Luckily, the NADA provides free price estimates for makes and models of boats, to help consumers get fair and unbiased price estimates for common types of boats.

Operating Cost

There are many operational costs that favor used boats and vice versa. Because there are so many different operational costs involved with both new and used boats, they tend to balance each other out. You run the risk of costly repairs on a used boat. However, new boats have higher insurance costs because of their higher value. These costs vary greatly on a boat to boat basis, so it is important to get an estimate of how much you would pay on an annual basis in operational costs for your boat.


To say that new boats carry no risk is an inaccurate statement. A new boat with a limited or short warranty can develop the same type of issues that a used boat carries. However, most major boat manufacturers have excellent warranties attached with their new boats, which eliminate the majority of high cost repairs that would need to be done in the lifespan of your boat. To reduce the risk you would incur with purchasing a used boat, you’ll want to shop around for boat warranties. That typically requires an assessment of the boat by a professional, and they will give you an estimate of what their warranty would cover and how much it would cost. You can shop around and price check online for the best warranty for your boat, but we would recommend choosing a warranty that allows you to easily get in touch with the company if a problem were to arise.

Shopping Around

After you gain a sense of whether you want a new or used boat, and even the make and model you may want to buy, you want to be sure that you are looking at all the available boats that fit your needs in your regional area. Search online for local marinas that may sell the makes and models you are looking for, and call ahead to ask if they carry anything you may be interested in. Look online in boating communities and forums to see if there are individuals selling used boats that you may be interested in.

Other Operating Costs

Aside from the boat being new and used, there are a variety of factors that influence the future operational costs of owning a boat. That may include the size of the boat and the fuel economy it gets, the purchase price and how much you will have to pay for insurance and taxes, and how common the make and model of the boat is. The more common, the more likely that repairs and new parts for your boat can be installed at your local marine repair center.

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