Shopping for a boat can be a long process, and even after spending days, weeks, or months narrowing down your choices. If you’re still puzzled over what boat is the best fit for your needs you might be wondering when and where you should actually make the purchase. The options boil down to the following:
- Buying from the manufacturer directly
Most boat manufacturers sell through dealerships and will refer customers to their local dealers, but in some cases, it may be possible to buy the manufacturer directly.
Usually, this will be with manufacturers of custom boats for all industries but may not have a national dealer footprint. The experience isn’t very different from buying through a dealership, but you should always research the builder and make sure that it’s NMMA certified.
- Buying at a boat dealership
Buying at a boat dealership has a number of advantages: most dealers service what they sell, so you’ll establish a relationship with the business that will likely be taking care of your needs in the future and will want your repeat business; dealerships tend to be extremely familiar with the specific brands they sell and service; they can act as an ally and a conduit between you and the manufacturer if warranty work is necessary, and they can assist with arranging boat financing.
- Buying at a boat show
When you buy at a boat show you’ll usually still be purchasing from a dealership, but it could significantly affect the timing of your purchase. Dealers are at those shows for one reason—to sell boats—and many offer discounts or special deals that are limited to the boat show. No one should ever feel rushed or pressured into signing on the dotted line, but if you go to a show prepared to purchase on the spot, you may get a better deal.
- Buying a boat online
These days, some boats can even be purchased with the click of a mouse. With the exception of services usually, this method of boat-buying is reserved for boats small enough to be shipped directly to a residence.
- Buying from a private seller
Normally, if you buy from a private seller you’ll be looking at a used boat or possibly a new boat that was purchased unfinished. We listed this option last on purpose because it’s often the least desirable way to buy a boat. Sure, you may get what seems like a great deal. But this is a situation where the expression “buyer beware” is applicable.
These are the ways you can buy your boats.