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When Is the Best Time to Buy a Boat?
When Is the Best Time to Buy a Boat?

A new sailboat costs between $60,000 to $70,000, while a used sailboat will set you back around $20,000. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that buying a boat is quite a significant decision, and you need to carefully assess all the relevant factors and then make that decision.

That’s not to say you have to buy a sailboat for your first boat either. Maybe you just want a dinghy to go fishing in. That won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Whichever boat you decide on, there are certain times in the year where you’ll save money or get more use from your purchase. Read on to find out the best time to buy a boat.

Why Buy a Boat?

Buying a boat presents you with great opportunities to enjoy adventurous experiences and make memories with your friends and family, which will last you a lifetime. You can explore places you have never been before, where your car could never take you. 

But, when it comes to buying a boat, there are multiple factors you need to consider before making a purchase decision. These include the brand, the size and style of the boat, and extra features. Moreover, there is a wide variation along the price spectrum depending on the type of boat you want. 

The Best Time to Buy a Boat - What You Need to Consider

Usually, when we want to buy something, we get it when we need it, and the price is right. However, this might not be the best idea when it comes to buying a boat. When you buy a boat, you are making a significant investment, so you need to cover all bases and make the best possible decision that will ultimately benefit you.                 

Even if you are itching to buy a boat and start enjoying it as soon as you can, you have even done your homework and zeroed in on one boat you particularly like. The big question now is when to buy the boat? You may need to consider more than a few variables before you make the decision.

The first consideration is where you live and the boating season in that particular area. 

If you do not have a specific boat model in mind, you may also need to consider when new boat models are introduced and if any boat shows are in town. 

Another important consideration is if any incentives or discounts are being offered. The value provided may also vary according to the prevalent season. We will discuss seasonal pricing fluctuations and buying behaviors in the following sections.

Seasonal Considerations

Boat sales vary widely in different seasons. Buying a boat in summer or winter may give you a different experience depending on your needs. If you want to have a satisfactory purchase experience, you need to know the difference.

Spring and Summer Seasons

Spring and summer are the boating seasons. Anyone who loves to boat is either out sailing or looking to buy a boat. So, there is a significant price hike as the demand goes up. 

These seasons are not a good time to buy a boat if you are unwilling to spend more. 

You will not see many conscious shoppers searching for a boat during these seasons. However, since summer is the boating season, you can get your boat right out and start sailing. 

Many avid boaters who like to upgrade their boats (like people often upgrade their cars) will be looking to part with their old boats ahead of the boating season. If you are interested in buying a used boat, you can keep a lookout for such sellers who might be willing to trade their older model at a fair price and offer you a good deal.

Fall Season

Now that the summer is over, the weather tends to get a little chillier. It is certainly not an ideal time to be out on a boat, and you will not see many recreational boaters during the fall season. As a result, the demand graph starts declining, and consequently, the prices tend to go down as well.

Some people consider fall to be the best time to buy a boat as manufacturers and dealers slash the prices and offer attractive discounts to interested buyers. If you look hard enough, you may be able to find an ideal used or new boat at an excellent price.

If you get a boat in the late fall season in some areas, you will have to wait till next spring or summer to enjoy a ride if the weather has taken a turn for the worse. However, it also means you have ample time to get the boat ready for the season and add the required accessories to make it more efficient and comfortable.

Winter Season

Winters are usually when boat dealers and manufacturers are trying to finish their last year's inventory so they can introduce new stock in the following season. Therefore, you may come across boat shows that offer desirable sale prices for various boat models you might be interested in.

The boat shows can be a very convenient option as different manufacturers display their latest ranges, or clearance ranges, in one place and offer significant discounts. You can assess various boat models according to size, design, and price features and buy a model that suits your preferences. 

Since there is a wide array of products in one place, you can easily draw comparisons across the multiple varieties without the hassle of going from one place to another to find the best buy. However, you may also not find what you had in mind and may have to settle with what the manufacturer has to offer.

Location Considerations

If you live in an area with a significant temperature drop in the winters, the boats have to be taken out of the sea. If you purchase a boat in the winter, you may need to arrange a place to keep it till you can bring it out in the water again. 

If you purchase a new boat in the fall season, the dealer may offer to dock the boat for you or cover the cost of storing the boat during the winter season. You can also request the marina to arrange storage for your boat where you dock it.

Alternatively, if you are buying a used boat in the fall season, the seller may try to lure you with a discounted price to avoid the hassle and extra cost of storing the boat during the impending winter season.

On the other hand, if you live in a warmer state like Florida, the weather is less cold compared to other parts of the country, and residents from those places consider it the best time to visit the tropical places

The boating docks may get quite crowded by the local tourists looking for some time out on the water. This may also lead to an increased demand for boats and consequently a price hike for them.

Boat Model Considerations - Used vs. New Model

The next factor that can potentially impact your decision about the best time to buy a boat is what kind of boat you are interested in buying. New models will obviously be more expensive than second-hand ones.

New Models

Your budget is the crucial determining factor for what kind of a boat you can get. If you have the buying power to invest in a new boat and want the latest model in the market, you must target the time around early spring.

Spring marks the beginning of the boating season, and some manufacturers bring out new models around that time. At the same time, many manufacturers announce their new models in late summer and introduce them for sale to the public later in the year, often at winter boat shows.

It implies that for many manufacturers, a new model year begins each summer, and boats offered for sale in the spring may sell for lower prices as the new boats start coming in later. Therefore you need to keep track of the latest models as they come in. 

Many people may be vying to get a boat around that time. If you wait until late June or July to buy an older boat model, you might miss out on the exact boat you wanted, as they can sell out quickly because of their attractive prices.

Used Models 

If you want to buy a used model, be prepared to spend some time, energy, and even money on repairing the boat, depending on its condition. However, if you are lucky, you may end up getting a good deal for a boat in good condition.

Used models are usually quite in demand during peak seasons as many avid boat owners are trying to replace their old models with newer versions. At the same time, many aspiring novices attempt to get their hands on a used model to enjoy the boating experience. 

Therefore, if you are in the market for a used model during peak seasons like spring and summer, you may find it quite challenging to buy the boat you had set your eyes on. Boat types like racing boats may be readily available, but not many people are interested in them. You’ll have a much harder time finding sailboats, powerboats, and dinghies during this time.

You may want to keep in mind that if you're going to buy a used model, it would be a good idea to get it well in advance of the boating season so you can use the time to carry out necessary repairs and prepare it for the water.

Some Boat Buying Tips

As we discussed earlier, buying a boat is a significant investment decision, particularly if you buy a new boat, since the associated cost is relatively high. You must take care not to let your emotions drive your decisions and make a rational choice after careful and comprehensive deliberation and planning. 

You first need to carry out detailed research to evaluate various boat models and decide which model you want. 

The next step is to consider price options. You may have to meet multiple potential sellers to find the option that matches your budget. 

You can get help from a local boating club to evaluate when is the best time to buy a boat, i.e. the market prices are not too steep due to peak season, or there will not be boat storage issues if it’s not a boating season. 

If you feel that the best time is now and you will not find a better model than the one you are considering at the moment, you can go into negotiations with the selected seller and acquire the boat of your choice, hopefully at a good deal

A good idea is to split the costs with your peers with whom you share the boating experience. This way, you will be able to enjoy a day out on the water at a pretty economical price. Moreover, the experience will also provide you with a much better idea of when you want to buy a boat of your own. 

After You Get Your Boat - Join the Freedom Boat Club

Most often, buying a boat is a collective family decision where all family members get to weigh in on the decision. Before buying a boat, you may want to consider which type of boat best suits your needs. Whichever boat you choose to purchase, you would like to use it for maximum enjoyment, so it must fulfill your required criteria and be able to take you to places you want to see.

To get a fair idea of which boat you would most enjoy, you can join the Freedom Boat Club and get a unique boating experience. You will enjoy the luxury experience of traveling on the waters with your family and meeting other like-minded friends at the club.

The club has more than 300 locations and its facilities are enjoyed by thousands of members who visit its docks regularly to enjoy a day out in the water. You will not have to worry about cleaning, fueling, or even maintenance of the boat.

Join now to get the best boating experience and get the local specifics of the best time to buy a boat!