Boat Buying Advice

7 Tips To Buying Your 2nd New Boat

boat for sale, for sale by owner, FSBO

Believe it or not, boaters, on average, own five boats in their lifetime. This makes sense. As families change, our motivations for getting out on the water evolve. As we learn more about the boating lifestyle, we want to try new things, go further, bring more people aboard, then, in the fall of the year, downsize.

You most likely had some excellent boating experiences that you want to capitalize on with your next boat. Here are a few tips to help you find the right next new boat for you and your family.

You have been thinking about this every time you were out on the water or at the docks and you saw her… your next boat. What was it about that boat that you just saw that made you want her? What is at the root of your desire to upgrade or change? It usually comes down to one or a few of these things:

  • Size. You want more space to move around in, more storage, more comfort, more guest space, greater stability, etc.
  • Activities. You want to try new things like overnighting, cruising, wakeboarding, hardcore fishing, sailing, more lavish entertaining, etc.
  • Speed. You want to go faster, or for some, you don’t need to go quite that fast.
  • Functionality. You want a more comfortable head or galley, you want your family to be able to sleep on the boat, or you need more space to stow your toys.
  • Aesthetics. You want a boat that looks different than the one you own.
  • Handling. You want something that will handle better in choppy water and keep you safe, dry, and comfortable.
  • Reliability. Perhaps you bought a pre-owned boat before or a new one that did not live up to your expectations. 
  • Quality Brand.  You bought a boat because it was cheaper than another one the same length.  Now you know why. It's time to move up.

Basic Used Boat Buying Advice for Beginners

Len's Cove marina

Getting to the root of these motivating factors will really help you pick the right next boat. You learned a lot with your first boat, use this knowledge to make a wise next purchase.

  • Buy bigger. Your family and group of friends are growing and they will keep growing. Once you find what you think is the right boat, check one out that is two feet longer. Three years from now, will your family be more comfortable in this one?
  • Involve the whole family. Each of you want something different from your boat. Find a boat that will bring you all together for many years to come.
  • Make a list of what you need in a boat and what you want (and what you don’t want).
  • Consider buying a new boat. Used boats are just that -- used. And often they are not well maintained, and that will come back to haunt you with the boat being on the fritz just when you had a big day planned on the water.  It happens all of the time.  There are advantages to new boats that can't be calibrated in dollars. 
  • Do your research. Go to websites online that specialize in reviewing boats, Watch the videos and compare features. Visit boat builders' websites, compare standard equipment and what is optional.
  • Then go shopping. A boat show is probably the most efficient way to line up a number of boats and get aboard them with your family.
  • Visit the dealers of the 2-3 boats you think might be best for your family, dig into the details, ask your questions, and buy what feels right for the whole family. If undecided between or among the boats, buy the boat sold by the dealer who you think will be most helpful to you in the aftermarket -- because you will need help.

You have become an experienced boater, an old salt. Now that you are confident on the water, and you understand how boats work, your goal should be to buy a boat that your family will enjoy for many years. Remember to keep these time-tested tips in mind.