Buying a Boat in 2020: 5 Tips for Getting the Best Deal

There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of being out on the water on a bluebird day. Whether you want a boat so that you can get back into fishing like you’ve always wanted to, or for a surefire way to create some incredible family memories, having a boat can be a great asset for your family. Many people are apprehensive about how much a boat will cost, but with a good downpayment, monthly repayments can be surprisingly low. If you’re thinking about buying a boat this year, read on for 5 tips for getting a great deal.

1. Buy in the Off Season
Most people are going to want one last summer with their boat before selling it, which means you’ll find more boats for sale at the end of the season. Likewise most people aren’t thinking about buying a boat as the cool of winter creeps in, meaning there will be less competition for buyers. If you’re thinking of buying a used boat, then buying in the off season will ensure that you have time for an repairs or maintenance the boat needs. Spending the off season getting the boat ready for your family will mean as soon as the weather warms up, you can get out on the water, making the most of the entire season.

2. Go Second Hand
Boats are like cars in the fact they depreciate as soon as you get them out of the showroom door. The most depreciation happens in the first couple of years, so looking for a boat that’s around 3-8 years old seems to be a good sweet spot where you will get a lot of bang for your buck. Obviously everyone’s financial situation is different, but if you are thinking of buying lightly used then you might be able to get a bigger boat, or better features, for the same or a better price than buying brand new. There are some advantages to buying new, the main one being the manufacturers warranty which can give you extra peace of mind. However there are plenty of well cared for boats out there at incredible prices, so long as you do the proper due diligence.

3. Get the Boat Inspected Properly
Like a car or a house, it’s worth getting a professional inspection of any boat you’re seriously interested in. This should bring any potential issues to light, allowing you to make an informed decision before putting any money down. Talk to the seller about this, as they might be willing to share the cost of an appraisal, as if you don’t purchase their boat they can use it with subsequent potential buyers. Of all of my tips for buying a boat, this is the most important one. Failing to get the boat inspected properly can result in some nasty surprises cropping up down the line which could tear a big hole in your wallet, or even mean you have to miss out on a season on the water.

4. Hunt for Your Dream Boat Online
Thanks to the Internet, now you can browse hundreds of boats without ever leaving your house. While I suggest an in person inspection before buying secondhand, you can easily narrow down your search while looking online. The Internet makes it possible to compare price points of boats in different parts of the country and if you’re prepared to travel you can get an even better deal than just looking locally. I would definitely suggest spending some time looking at options in person to make sure you’re aware of the size and style boat you want before traveling for something further away.

5. Be Prepared to Negotiate
There’s almost always some wiggle room in the asking price of a boat. If the sellers wont budge on the actual price point, then it can be worth asking for some extras to be included. I find the best strategy is to come in low while remaining respectful – an offer too low might put the seller off from engaging with you. If you’re buying from an agency, you can ask for extra features to be added to the price or for them to price match. But in general the best way to shave the most money off the price of a boat, new or used, is by buying when less people are buying – during the off season.


Have fun with the process! Buying a boat is a wonderful investment that I’m sure you will treasure for years to come. There’s no need to rush things and taking your time can ensure you find the perfect boat for you and your family.

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