There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration and freedom of a long afternoon on a boat, enjoying the sun, surf, and spray. Whether you’re an adventurous boater who enjoys riding the wakes, or you prefer to lounge on cushioned seats and enjoy the fresh, warm air with a cold drink in your hand — a boat is the perfect way for anyone to enjoy the summer with friends and family. 

Whether you’re new to boating or not, most people who enjoy active and social pursuits are curious about which would be the wiser investment: a new or used boat. There’s no one right answer to this question for everyone because, in the end, the answer ultimately comes down to your unique goals, budget, and skills. New and pre-owned boats have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth exploring these as well as the cost considerations of each. 

When you’re ready to purchase a boat, use the information below as a guide to help you make an informed choice that’s right for you.

The Advantages of Buying a New Boat

If money isn’t your biggest purchase concern, buying a brand-new boat is a fun and exciting experience, and the decision to buy new isn’t always necessarily unwise. In fact, doing so guarantees you a reliable boat with all the latest technology, the option to customize, and a feeling of true ownership.

1) Reliability

Buying a used boat is a risk that could leave you with a lemon. When you buy new, you won’t have to worry about figuring out why the boat is for sale or anticipate mechanical issues arising anytime in the near future. Buying new also eliminates the expense of an inspection fee. New boats rarely have manufacturing issues, and if they do, they will be covered for the full duration of the warranty period. Your days on the lake for the foreseeable future will be smooth, hassle-free, and uninterrupted by technical problems. 

2) The Newest Features

Buying a new boat means having all the latest and greatest technological innovations to choose from. Some of the popular, high-end features of today’s boats include sophisticated sound systems, keyless ignition, a smart wheel, rearview cameras, phone holders, cruise control, touch screen controls, digital temperature and water depth meters, and other luxury additions. 

3) Uncompromised Ownership

For some people, being the first and only owner of a boat brings a sense of pride. It’s hard to beat the feeling of finally getting that shiny, brand-new toy you’ve had your eye on for so long and to be the person who writes its history from the very beginning — especially if you’re a seasoned boater. If that’s the case, you may have purchased a used boat before and you’re now after a brand-new boat to reward yourself for learning the ropes and proving your ability to keep up with the investment. This decision is sure to give you a feeling of true ownership.

4) Customization Options

When you buy a new boat, there’s no need to settle for whatever is available; you have a much wider selection and can customize your boat as much as you want to truly make it your own. For example, you have the freedom to choose your seating upholstery, lighting, electronics, lettering, battery configuration, exterior styling, safety equipment, and so much more. You also have the warranty from the manufacturer in case anything goes wrong in the beginning.

The Advantages of Buying a Used Boat

If you’re new to boating, have a small budget, or just don’t need the extra expense or features of a brand-new boat, buying used is an excellent alternative way to achieve your dream of boat ownership with low financial risk. Boat buyers tend to fear those occasional lemons, but there’s no real need to worry about those if you get a pre-purchase inspection. You can visit this blog for more tips on how to find the best used boat.

1) Boat Years Don’t Mean as Much

When you buy a used boat, you pay less per year to own it, and you don’t lose out on much if you decide to upgrade down the road. Another benefit is that years on a boat don’t mean as much as years on a car. Cars are typically used daily, which means they experience a lot more wear and tear over the years. So if you’re on the hunt for a used boat and can’t find anything newer than three years old, don’t worry. Boats aren’t typically used on a daily basis and, in some places, they aren’t even used outside of summertime. If a boat is a couple of years old, there’s a good chance that it’s only been taken on the water a few times. 

2) Model Cycles Are Over Four Years

Boat model cycles can last between four and six years. This means that you can still find modern, high-end models on the used market and may be able to find the same model used that the manufacturer is still selling new at the dealership. (Can you really tell the difference between a new boat and one that’s two years old?) As long as you do your due diligence to inspect the boat and ensure that it’s been maintained, you’ll be cruising around in something that looks just as good as the guy across the pond’s new boat — but you’ve paid much less for yours.

3) Depreciation Has Already Occurred

They say the best way to approach this is to find a used boat that’s already a couple of years old. This way, your boat retains its value better, as it has already depreciated in the hands of the previous owner. Plus, you won’t be the first one to put a ding in it, which makes it a little less disheartening the first time you do inflict minor damages on your prized possession.

4) Multiple Buying Options

There are many more options for buying used than simply going to the dealership. While some dealers may have a used boat inventory, you have the option to purchase from private sellers who may allow you to negotiate with them until you reach a price that both parties can agree on. If you pay for your boat upfront with cash (if you have the lump sum on hand), you can avoid dealer fees and loan interest. You can also trade in if you already have a boat. Visit our trade-in value calculator to find out the value of your marine asset.

5) Time-Honored Technology

When you buy used boats, you may find out the hard way that the manufacturer produces a faulty part. But if you get one that’s already been on the market for a few years, you can rely on user experiences to guide your decision. For example, you can find out from Consumer Reports and other buying guides whether a particular brand is known for bad motors or similar issues or if their technologies have withstood the test of time without defects.

Cost Considerations for Buying a New or Used Boat

Buying a boat isn’t quite as expensive as most people think it is. With financing options available, a boat is an affordable expense that just requires a little financial planning on your part. In order to understand what you’ll be paying for, be sure to calculate the costs of the following based on the type and size of boat you plan to buy:

  • Monthly payments:  
    • If you finance your boat, the payments will be based on the cost, the down payment (if you make one), current interest rates, loan service fees, and other variables.
    • You can calculate your monthly boat loan payments using this calculator.
  • Maintenance and repair costs:
    • Used boats inevitably need some TLC sometime in the future, and without a warranty, you’ll need to factor in the cost of service for the boat you want.
  • Yearly expenses:
    • In addition to a monthly payment and sporadic maintenance, you will also pay for boat insurance, licensing, registration, taxes, storage, marina fees, fuel, and any equipment or accessories you want, such as a trailer.
  • Delivery:
    • When buying locally, the delivery cost is usually included in the sticker price. This isn’t the case if you buy from a far-away location. If buying from a distant dealer, be sure to get moving quotes from several different services. 

Why Buy a Boat?

The cost considerations of a boat purchase can be overwhelming, but buying a boat is well worth the investment. Here are just a few of the countless reasons why that is.

  • A sense of community: When you make the investment, you become part of a diverse community made up of people from all backgrounds who bond together over their common love of boating. This community supports its members by trading tips and tricks and holding social events together.
  • Stress management: Modern life is full of stressors. Many people juggle a demanding job, a family, church and community responsibilities, and more. Boating is a healthy and fun way to alleviate that stress and improve your quality of life. If you bring a wakeboard and plan to swim, it’s great exercise, too. (Those who ride the wake know how much of a leg workout it is to stay upright!)
  • Build relationships: People within the boating community understand how powerful the sport is in bringing people together. Boating — especially when wakeboarding and doing similar activities —  involves teamwork, trust, and communication. As you participate in these events with friends and family, you’ll find yourselves with stronger relationships at the end.
  • Universal opportunity: Approximately 90% of Americans live less than an hour away from a body of water suitable for boating. This close proximity allows you to get maximum use from your investment. You’ll never be bored on the weekends when you can pack up and go boating just an hour from home!
  • Tax advantages: Did you know that in 2018, US tax law was changed to allow business entities to completely write off boats purchased for business purposes? You can even write off the money you spend upgrading or improving the boat for up to a year after you’ve made the purchase. This purchase would allow you to offer more unique opportunities than lunch appointments or golf trips. A boating trip is sure to be something your clients will always remember! Read more about how this tax deduction works here.
  • Sheer enjoyment: Boating is just plain fun, and it’s easy to learn. If boating is something that brings you joy, that alone will make it worth the expense. Your hobbies and interests are worth investing in, and this investment is something that will serve you (and those you love) well for many years. With a boat, summer becomes extra exciting!

Sail Away on Your Dream Boat Today

When you’re ready to look into a boat, new or used, contact us at Germaine Marine. We are ready to help get you into the boat you’ve always dreamed of. We’re an authorized dealer of several reputable brands, and we have a vast selection of new and used inventory. Rely on our knowledgeable sales experts for financing options, service, and parts as well as an outstanding experience in the boat-buying process and while out on the water.