1st time boat purchaser - new boat or "gently used" boat w/ warranty?"?

I've heard two lines of thought when it comes to 1st time boat purchasers - whether to buy a brand new boat (from a dealer) or whether to buy a late model used boat w/ a transferrable warranty (from a private party). The reasoning behind a brand new boat is of course, peace of mind. I'm going into... show more I've heard two lines of thought when it comes to 1st time boat purchasers - whether to buy a brand new boat (from a dealer) or whether to buy a late model used boat w/ a transferrable warranty (from a private party).

The reasoning behind a brand new boat is of course, peace of mind. I'm going into this hobby at 38 yrs old and I have no misconceptions that this can be an extremely expensive hobby.

My budget is around $18,000 (for lic., ins., dealer fees [if applicable], and misc. other fees).

Also, I am familiar with Bayliner and Searay, and most recently, Four Winns (these are nice boats!). We are a familiy of 5; with my sister and her kids (we each have 3 - all of them are now at the watersports age) a mile away. I've done exhaustive technical research but I've not done any of the most important research - the public.

What is good first boat? I'm looking for a bowrider, i/o (about 175 hp), 18' or bigger.

Thanks to all in advance.
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