It’s that time of year when dealers and manufacturers show off the latest and greatest in the boating industry. If you are planning to invest in a new watercraft in 2018, chances are you’ll be heading to at least one boat show in the coming weeks. Whether you are just gathering information or ready to negotiate a deal, we’ve got a few tips for making your boat-buying experience a good one.
Learn about Boat Options
Before you can decide on a boat, you should first understand the different types of watercrafts and their purposes. Some boats, like bass boats, are specifically made for fishing. Others, like ski boats, are built for rapid acceleration and water sports activity. There are also boats that are built for versatility, such as pontoons and runabouts. With these, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise, cast a line, or even pull a water skier.
Every category of boat comes in a range of sizes. For example, you can buy a pontoon that only seats 8-10 people, or you can splurge on a large double-deck pontoon that seats as many as 20. If you need the passenger room, a large boat may be the only solution for you. However, smaller boats come with perks that make them preferable if you don’t need the extra space.
First, a small boat is easier to pilot in the water – something that is probably important if you are a beginning boater. Next, they are much easier to transport if you plan to trailer them between storage and bodies of water. Small boats also tend to consume less fuel and are easier to store at your home. (With a large boat, you might need to rent storage space for your watercraft). Finally, smaller boats tend to be more affordable than a larger one with the same features.
New or Used?
Once you decide on a boat, you’ll need to decide if you want to purchase new or used. The benefit to buying new is the ability to customize your watercraft and easily find what you are looking for. New boats also tend to come with factory warranties, as well as dealer specials on routine maintenance and servicing. However, new boats are also much more expensive, which means you may need to dip deeper into your pockets or otherwise obtain financing for your purchase.
A used boat, on the other hand, is usually more affordable, but the trade-offs in repairs and maintenance costs may not be worth it. Also, it may take longer to find exactly what you are looking for if you prefer a specific watercraft with certain features.
Create a Boat Show Plan
Once you’ve decided on a boat show to attend, make a plan of action. If possible, view a map of the show ahead of time so you know where to go once you arrive. If you are hoping to tour a specific type of boat or vendor, try to arrive early and go to that vendor first so you can explore and ask questions before the show becomes too crowded.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
Lastly, take time to talk with an independent agent about adding a boat policy to your insurance portfolio. Even if your homeowners insurance covers watercraft, note that it probably only pays for certain types of damages and only for small non-motorized boats, outboard motors less than 25hp, and inboard or inboard/outboard motors less than 50hp. Alternatively, a boat insurance policy takes care of the broader risks you face as a boat owner, including damages to your boat and the things inside it, as well as any liability you may acquire while using your watercraft.
For more information or to request your free boat insurance quote, contact Stauffer-Klug Insurance today.