Buying a boat can be very exciting. The thought of being able to hit the water whenever you want to, or have the time, is an alluring thought. It can also be stressful, however, especially when boat dealers are trying to talk you into spending more money than you had budgeted. BoatUS has some great tips to help you buy the boat of your dreams without getting ripped off, starting off with what not to buy.
Boat dealers aren’t always truthful
Like everyone else, boat dealers want to make a living. To do that, they need to sell boats. To make a little extra, they may try to sell you a service contract. It’s basically an extended warranty, usually provided by a little known company which can make researching it hard.
The question is, do you actually need a service contract, or are they trying to get some easy money out of your wallet? The answer is, no, you don’t need a service contract. The factory warranty is usually very good, and will cover everything you need.
So why is the boat dealer trying to sell you something you don’t need? The simple answer is money.
According to BoatUS, “Some of these contract plans administered by independent companies allow retailers to mark up contracts more than 100% over the actual cost they pay to the service-contract company.”
With that in mind, if you really want a service contract for the extra protection, remember that this part of the deal is negotiable. If the boat dealer isn’t willing to lower the price, there are always other boat dealers out there who might be willing to work with you.
Warranties can be deceptive
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Speaking of warranties, it may not be as black and white as the inked copy implies. This can be good or bad depending on the situation.
For example, the deck is not included in a hull warranty. This may come as a surprise to some, especially if they’re new to the boating world, so don’t get fooled by this. What the hull warranty does include is the fiberglass shell, including transom, stringers, and related structural reinforcements.
It’s also harder than you might think to transfer a warranty, if it’s possible at all. If you sell your boat and want the warranty transferred, you need to keep on the manufacturer to make sure the transfer actually takes place.
There is one way that a warranty can be good. Some manufacturers may be willing to extend the warranty if you request this when the expiration date is coming up or has only recently expired. If you wait too long, they’ll probably say no, so don’t wait.
Used boats for sale
New boats can be extremely expensive, so for anyone on the lookout for one, a used boat might seem like an attractive alternative. The sticker price is definitely lower than a new boat, so it must be cheaper, right? Not necessarily.
Boats require a lot of maintenance and repairs, and the older the boat, the more money you’re going to be sinking into it. There are a few things you can check out to make sure that you’re not wasting your money, however.
Rather than taking the seller’s word for it about how old the boat is, check the Hull Identification Number (HIN). The last two digits will tell you exactly what year the boat was built. If the seller wasn’t being truthful, that is also a major warning sign to head somewhere else.
Other things you should be on the lookout for include checking the steering system, the bellows to make sure there is no wear and tear, and the lower unit motor for damage.
With that said, used watercraft isn’t necessarily a bad investment. If the previous owner has kept it moving, then it’s probably in good shape. The biggest problems tend to arise when a boat sits for long periods of time, so the boat was used regularly, you’re probably good.