Tips, Tricks & Trends

What Is the Best Time To Buy a Boat?

Shopping for a boat is an exciting time, with the anticipation of adventure on the open water overwhelming many people in the market. Everything in today’s world comes better at a bargain and finding the best deal on your future boat helps make life on the water that much sweeter. But when is the best time to buy a boat?

Differences within the boating markets and why it matters

Boats may be a vessel to get around in, but that’s just about where the similarities between the car and boating industry stop. The car industry’s annual influx and shuffle of vehicles mean that there are certain times of the year when dealerships are pushing deals and letting go of cars at a bargain. But according to Boats.com, “the volume is so different than in the auto industry,” that finding a deal will take a lot more than simply watching the calendar.

Is there a “perfect” time to buy a boat?

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Most often, the boating industry sees new models arrive every summer, and according to the experts at Discover Boating, many dealerships may offer previous model years at a discount. But as the boating industry works on more of a month-to-month basis, the volume of available new models each year pales in comparison. This means that while deals may be available, they won’t last for long. This can be especially true for popular boat models. Waiting for the change-over between model years may offer bargains, but may also result in being left without a boat at all.

Because most dealers work on a month-to-month basis, many buyers may see an increase in deals near the end of the month. This is because dealerships and companies are trying to meet their quota and may be pushing harder for purchases. But timing isn’t always the way to navigate shopping as the market sees many ups and downs due to a variety of other factors. 

For example, in areas of the country where the sport of boating is seasonal, spring and summer would be considered the hot season for buying. In these areas, prices are more likely to drop out of season as fewer people are buying. In many cases, dealerships in these types of areas will offer incentives, such as winter storage, to sweeten out-of-season deals.

In areas of the country where boating is available year-round, buying is more a matter of “when everything lines up,” rather than waiting for a seasonal deal. But warmer-weather areas also experience a higher range of transient populations throughout the year. This can result in a hotter market in these areas during the late fall or early winter season, as people escape the cold for summer weather.

How to buy with confidence

Before making a boat purchase, it’s essential to do your research. According to Discover Boating, you should first decide what type of boat you need, as well as what you need it for. Ask yourself questions such as: how many passengers will you have? Do you prefer speed or practicality? What will be the main purpose of having a watercraft? Then you should decide whether you’ll be shopping for new or used and set a hard budget.

Consider important factors such as where you live or are buying, the timing of dealer incentives, and additional expenses (such as storage, marina costs, etc.). Timing is extremely important as well as patience. Depending on the season and area you’re shopping in, you must strike a deal when you see it and walk away if a deal can’t be made. Just like buying a car, you should shop around, compare choices, and remember: everything is negotiable.