End-of-season boat buying is ‘cents-able’ this year

(Photo by BoatUS)

It’s not news to most “boat oriented” outdoors people that the only thing in more demand than toilet paper since the  COVID scourge manifested around the world is boats.

New boats flew out of show rooms. Boat builders worked feverishly to meet the demand but couldn’t keep up. According to boating groups, the sales of used boats across Michigan and most of the rest of the country hit all time highs with record prices.

For most people here in Michigan, the boating season is finished. I still have a few excursions planned in the southern part of the state, but by the time I’m done, ice fishermen will be clamping on the crampons and drilling holes on lakes in the northern part of the state.

Did you get in on the boating boom? Did you get a case of “two-foot-itis” in the last couple of seasons and realize that moving from a 16-footer to an 18 would make sense for your needs – or a 22-footer instead of one just under 20 feet?

I’ve heard first hand and have seen posts online that there’s a large contingent of people who are planning to up-size (or at least up-grade) for the 2022 season.

If that’s you, doing it now probably makes more sense than waiting for the calendar to click over to next year for several reasons, not all related to money. Don’t get me wrong, there are several dollar and cents reasons to buy now if you can, whether the new acquisition is a person’s first boat or an upgrade for 2022.

Currently, it’s a buyer’s market – especially for previously owned boats. Lots of boaters planning to upgrade for 2022  need to trade up. Their 2021 boat is for sale and they’ll use that money as seed for the newer one. But who is buying a boat at this time of the year?

Mainly guys who know that $100 rowboat will be worth $200 in the spring,  or that the $15,000 boat they see listed this week will go up to $19,999 in April – and that’s in the current market conditions. If predictions for skyrocketing inflation prove true, that $15K deal could be far north of $20K in the spring.

A part of the equation for setting used boat prices is new boat prices and all signs show they are going through the roof. There are no “end of season” sales at new boat dealers happening now. They’re already sold out or unsure if they will have new 2022 boats in their showrooms over the winter. Don’t look for any “boat show blowouts” this winter.

Besides price, however, getting a boat now allows time to get the boat “personalized” for your own use.

I’ve never purchased a boat that was setup exactly as I need it to be to make it ideal for my wants, hopes, and desires. Some of that will only come with experience, but much of it is based on past experience. A new-to-you boat can be “almost” water-ready when it’s time to launch in the spring. Would you rather be getting in on the early-season bite or working on the boat, hoping to get it rigged and ready before the early season becomes the middle of summer?

Categories: Michigan – Mike Schoonveld

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