New boat or used boat: What’s best for you?

Now is the time to shop for a new or used boat. (Photo courtesy of BoatUS)

Are you in the market for a new boat? Are you in the marked for a “new-to-you” boat?

Which is the better option?

That’s the question that’s probably been asked since the first rafts were used to float humans to offshore areas too far to swim and too deep to wade. The answer, of course, is: it depends!

There are good things and bad to buying anything from a fishing boat to a fishing reel, either new or used. Plenty of people are perfectly happy, regardless of the choice they made.

Much of the decision has to do with the economy. The National Marine Manufacturers Association tracks both new and used boat sales and their numbers show the economic recession, which started in 2007 and affected consumer spending for the next decade, depressed the sales of both new and pre-owned boats.

Additionally, in almost every category, the prices paid for both new and used boats fell. If you were trying to sell a boat, it took a bargain price to find a buyer. Dealers of new boats found people “settling” for something less than what they might have wanted. Perhaps the new boat buyer settled for an 18 footer instead of a 20 footer, or settled for a 90 HP motor instead of upgrading to something larger.

During this period, the “normal” used to new market, which over time is about 70 percent to 30 percent, increased to about 80 percent used, 20 percent new.  Now, that trend is over and the 70/30, used to new, sales ratio is back, used boat prices are up and bigger or upscaled model trends are apparent in the new boat market.  The stats for 2019 are not available but in 2018, well over a quarter million new boats went out the doors and into America’s waters.

The future looks bright for America’s boat sellers and that means if you are toying with the idea of purchasing either new or pre-owned, it could be time to turn that idea from a dream toy to a real toy. Prices are only going to increase.

From now to the start of the boating season you’ll see the best prices in either market, at least until the end of the boating season next fall.

Dealers are trying to move “old inventory” to make room for the newest models on their showroom floors.

It’s the boat show season. Go to one. You’ll see numerous models on display, and the prices will be competitive, often with specials on both total price and financing.

Plenty of boat owners are also toying with upgrading their old wave-whacker with something newer, bigger or more powerful, but for most that can’t be done with the old boat still in the barn. Keep your eye on classifieds and online sites advertising boats for sale.

So which is better, new or used?  The answer remains the same: it depends!

Whichever you decide, right now is the best time for you look for the right deal.


Categories: Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *