In the northern climates, the best time to shop for your next boat can be in the winter. Generally, the demand is down. And, if you are in the market for a high-quality used brokerage boat, know that many owners would prefer to eliminate storage costs sooner rather than later.
Some sellers may even have “jumped the gun” by already upgrading to another boat and might be desperate to avoid the annoying costs of storing two boats over the winter.
And, even in late winter, most owners would like to sell before they face those additional spring maintenance costs.
Preparing for Your Winter Boat Shopping Adventure: Research
While you may not be able to take your boat out until the temperatures rise, you can still accomplish a great deal even while the ice forms and the snow flies.
If you are already an active boater, you probably have some extra time to do your research now that it is offseason.
Make a List
To begin, define what you hope to accomplish with a list of the attributes that you envision in your future watercraft. Think what is the right boat for me? Create a profile that includes:
What will be your boat’s primary function? TYPE
How many people will you need to accommodate? SIZE
How would you like the watercraft to be equipped? ACCESSORIES
Where will you be using the boat, what range, and how fast? CAPABILITY
How much can you afford? PRICE
With these parameters in mind, the next step is to perform online research into boat types, sizes, accessories, capabilities, and current selling prices. Online resources like yachtworld.com, as well as certain reputable broker websites, will feature photographs of hundreds of new and used motor and sailing yachts as well as extensive listings of watercraft for sailing, sports, fishing, living aboard, or just pleasure cruising.
Research the Brands
When you have narrowed your choices to a specific type and size, selecting the right model is next. A good approach is to extend your research to online reports and expert reviews.
Also, send for or look online for corresponding boat guides by brand. These can provide insight into the detail and capabilities of various brands and models.
Attend a Winter Boat Show
A boat show can be overwhelming, but it is a great place to browse. You can obtain brochures and “hands-on” information about the various manufacturers and models. You may even get the opportunity to step aboard the boat and sit behind the wheel. The New England Boat Show is held each year in Boston in February and has a very large selection of boats to choose from and can be a great place for hands-on shopping.
While buying on impulse is not always a great idea, know that dealers are at the show to sell boats. Some will offer discounted deals and will arrange to deliver your purchase to your designated location just as spring arrives. There are always deals to be had at these shows so be prepared if you are a serious buyer.
New or Used?
Experienced boat lovers know that a well-maintained used boat can deliver years of excellent service and performance. The purchase price may be substantially less than a comparably-equipped new model. Or, in some instances, a used model might come with more useful bells and whistles than a new one that is selling for a similar price.
Check Out Resale Values
Obtain the latest copy of the NADA Marine Appraisal Guide to help you understand the current value of any purchase you might be considering. The Guide works much like the Kelley Blue Book which estimates the value based on the year, model, condition, and accessories. This resource can give you a fair idea of whether a specific used model is priced reasonably or not.
Work with a Reputable Broker
Find a reputable and knowledgeable broker who represents the top manufacturers while also linking you to the listings of thousands of available used boats. Your broker will understand your needs and price limitations while helping to narrow the range of available options.
Your broker can also give an expert assessment of the quality and value of a used boat while comparing to current market conditions. In the process, you will receive informed insight for comparing a new model with a comparably equipped used one.
In New England, Cape Yachts of Dartmouth MA and Newport RI is the premier broker of used watercraft and an authorized dealer for world-class manufacturers such as Hatteras, Beneteau. Power, Benetea Sail, Cabo, Cobia and Austin Parker.
For more information, visit the Cape Yachts website to view current listings. While there, schedule an appointment to visit with one of the Cape Yachts boat sales experts to learn more about current market conditions. If you have any questions, we are more than welcome to help.