Buying a new or used fishing boat isn’t as painful as it’s made out to be, provided you know what to keep an eye out for.
First, determine what type of boat is right for you. Choices can include: aluminum boats, bay boats, cuddy cabins, center console boats and inshore fishing boats to name a few. Each one is capable of providing you with hours of fun and enjoyment. After all, there is nothing like spending time on the water, fishing, skiing or just cruising around, to bring a family together. One of the most common mistakes people make when buying a boat is to buy the wrong kind of boat for their needs. Make note of the primary use of the boat, average number of people on board and climate considerations. The best boat to buy is going to be the one that is suited to YOUR needs.
Next, thoroughly inspect the boat. Make sure to do an in-water inspection as well as out-of-water. Be sure to include the following in your in-depth boat inspection:
- Engine (outboard motor, diesel engine, etc.)
- Bilge pump area
- Steering and throttle controls
- Boat fuel tank
- Floor and hull condition
- Upholstery (boat seats, cushions, cuddy cabin area, etc.)
- Rigging (hardware)
- Propeller and shaft
If you are purchasing a used boat, be sure to also check the maintenance history, storage history, hours logged and ensure everything is in working order. This includes lights, batteries, hatches, horns, etc.
An independent marine surveyor can be a valuable asset when purchasing a used boat. The National Association of Marine Surveyors and the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors both offer licensed professionals to help you evaluate the condition of the vessel and make an educated decision.
Boat shows offer a great opportunity to get specials, rebates and other incentives when purchasing a new boat. They serve as a terrific resource to compare models and brands as well as affording you the chance to speak directly to the boat dealers and manufacturers. Another ideal time to consider is winter and spring. Most boat dealers and manufacturers are clearing out the previous year’s inventory to make room for the new year’s models.
Now that you know what model of boat you’re looking for and how to inspect it, it’s time to start narrowing down the search. You’ll no doubt realize that there are a variety of outlets available to you that have boats for sale; including auctions, third party (internet, newspaper, etc), dealer networks and factory direct.
My preferred course is factory direct for a number of reasons:
- Factory Direct: This means you get to deal directly with the manufacturer. No middle-man and no dealer to contend with. Eliminating the boat dealer also means a HUGE savings for you. Without all those hidden charges to worry about, it’s entirely possible to get into a new boat for the same price that a dealer is asking for a used boat.
- Customization: Rather than accepting whatever boat the dealer happens to have in inventory (or paying delivery fees for them to order a model with the specific features you require), a factory direct, custom sport fishing boat manufacturer will typically build to order. This gives you the opportunity to work with them to design your dream boat exactly the way you want it. Some manufacturers will even allow you to see your boat going through the boat construction process.
- Warranty: If you have any warranty issues that need to be addressed the dealer will have to research the issue then consult with the manufacturer to get an approval to perform the work. This leaves you out of a boat until they get all their paperwork together. If you’re buying from the manufacturer, this step is eliminated and turn-around time will be much quicker.
- Experience: Most factory direct, custom sport fishing boat manufacturers have seen just about every feature available on the market. Some of these will work and some of them will cause more issues than they are worth. Their experience can help guide you along the purchase process and prevent you from making a mistake that could cost you down the road.
- Relationship: Building a trusting relationship with the manufacturer is much easier than someone you found listing a for sale ad in the newspaper. They’ll be able to provide you knowledgeable and accurate answers to any questions you may have. Additionally, their follow-up is above and beyond that of any third-party individual.
For more information or to find the right boat for you, please visit www.dusky.com.