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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 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.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I sold boats for years and owned a few. LET ME GIVE YOU SOME ADVISE! FIRST and important, do you have a proper vehicle with 5 people pulling a boat? V-6 may not "cut" it, i.e., burning motor up, transmission not heavy enough, etc., due to weight. Brochures for boats indicate BOAT WEIGHT ONLY, gas per gallon 7 lbs each, trailer 700 to 1000 lbs., I used 300 for gear, coolers, etc. SECOND CONSIDERATION, 5 people on an 18' boat you DO NOT want this small boat on a BUSY lake, YOUR family will not be happy and dangerous. THIRDLY, have professionally installed trailer "hitch". When you go to have installed you will need to know approximate weight being "pulled".

    FIRST TIME, Buy used!!! Why? New boat owners will sell within 2 to 3 years average. Most buy TOO small, as you will find out quickly buying 18', or the anticipated use was NOT as expected, average in America is 50 hours per season. As you look at boats consider useage, i.e., skiing, tubing, cruising, etc. If skiing you need a "Larger Engine", not a 4 cylinder or small outboard.

    Where to buy? Go, FIRST, to Marinas that "house" boats for clients. Usually they have large buildings where they "fork lift" boats "one row" at a time. If an owner is doing this they more than likely care about the boat by keeping out of weather. These facilities also offer regular maintenance and service. You will find from the "operators" of these facilities boat owners selling.

    Boat dealers do sell used but, from my personal experience working at dealers, finding boats traded in are usually not in great shape and sold "as is". You will find boats on "consignment" where owners that could not sell have dealers put on their lots, these are usually over priced because the owner has a minimum they will take, plus the dealer wants a share as well.

    There is an abundance of boat owners selling. When you are "prospecting" REMEMBER, the year of the boat is LAST TWO digits of VIN. NOW you know how to tell. If VIN is "scraped" or "missing", DO NOT BUY, it is easy to "steal" boats and one indicator is NO VIN, located on right rear.

    Boat dealers use NADA for trade values or resale. As you are shopping review or "get" one of these. Bayliner can be great first boats, they are "cheapest" and as you ride in other makes you will understand why. "Things" start happening with Bayliner after a couple of years.

    With only $18,000 you are more than likely looking at a 2 to 3 year old or earlier. More than likely someone "just" ready to get "rid of because they "bought too small" and ready to upgrade.

    Hope this helps. DO NOT become boat poor. ANY USED BOAT PAY A QUALIFIED TECH TO INSPECT, APPROX. $150 TO $200, regardless of what you are told. AGAIN, have a proper VEHICLE!

    Good Luck, Boating is a Great Family Activity.

    Source(s): Sold Boats in North Atlanta for many years.
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  • Josh M
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    If you buy new and decide that you don't like boating, you will take a big hit in depreciation when trying to resell your boat. There are many good used boats available on the market. You will get allot more boat for your money in the used market. My suggestion would be to buy a low hour used boat from a reputable dealer. Stay away from "low price" boats like Bayliner. Cobalt, Crownline, Four Winns or Sea Ray would be a better choice. Also, depending on the amount of open water (bigger wave potential) you will be cruising, you may want to go for a 20 or 22 ft for more safety with the kids. Good Luck!!

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have learned never to buy new, let the other person pay for all the depriciation. With boat use usually being very low, you could probably find a boat 2-3 years old with only 25-50 hours on it. If it has a warranty, even better. With it being a little older, you can afford to get one a little bigger or with a bigger engine or other ammenities that you just wouldn't be able to get on a brand new due to shear cost. I have learned to appreciate a little larger of a boat, just for the way it handles the waves and the space it give you. 21' seems like a perfect size. Plus, look for ones that have a head under one of the windsheilds, a dual battery system so you don't get stuck out on the water, a fire extinguisher in the engine compartment, maybe a windless anchor or docking lights, gps, depth gauge. If you find someone who is getting out of boating you might even score s tube or ski's, paddles, life vests, etc since they won't be using them anymore. All this you would not get with a new boat purchase. Just a thought.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Definitely used. Boats depreciate dramatically when they leave the dealer showroom. Since your brand new to boating stick with an i/o or 4 stroke outboard. Get more horsepower than you think you need. The boating forums are full of people looking to squeeze more horsepower from their engines when they could have option a bigger motor. In the resale market a few more horsepower costs you little. Sizewise 18ft to 21ft bowriders are good sizes. Just remember that its easier to learn with a smaller boat. You didn't mention your usage but the deckboat style with a glasshull became popular several years ago and are designed for putting everyone onboard for the day.


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  • 1 decade ago

    You can go used but really research the constuction of the boat. Make sure it is built with Hand laid fibergalss instead of Chopper gun glass. This is a true sign of craftmanshp you want in any type hull. It will last longer therefore giving you more years of good use or better value when you tire of your latest hobby. Of course remember if used to stay away fro mthe ones that have not been used much as that is not good. You want one that has been used but taken care of.

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  • 1 decade ago

    buy a used boat with w/ a transferable warranty.about 3 years old is ideal. don't worry about the resale it wont matter you are getting the boat to use not resale.when its time to sale you can worry about it then. when you buy a boat that is used all the bugs are already worked out of it. when you buy new as soon as you pay for it it is used. try to sell it back to the dealer for the same price. it wont happen.

    Source(s): personal exsperance
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  • 1 decade ago

    a conoe is the best

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