You’ve Picked a Boat, But Do You Buy It New or Used?

Post by - Published on 01/28/22 5:00 AM

Read on to learn the pros and cons of both new and used boats, and then you can make the decision on which is best for you.

Used Boats: What to Know

While some may shy away from purchasing something another person has owned, the majority of people should consider a few other factors when buying used. In fact, buying a used boat has a number of benefits, especially if you’re a first-time boat owner. 

First and foremost, used boats cost a lot less and depending on the type of boat you can save tens-of-thousands of dollars by investing in something previously owned. Besides that, new boats – like new cars – depreciate rapidly in their first year. The rule of thumb is that new boats depreciate 10% in their first year, and then 6-8% each year thereafter. What’s great about used boats is that much of the depreciation has already occurred, so you won’t lose a large portion of your investment if you go to resell. 

The general look of the boat is certainly a big consideration when buying used. Believe it or not, there’s peace of mind knowing you’re not going to be the first person to put a scratch or ding in the boat. Plus, there is the added benefit that model cycles for boats are usually longer (ranging from four to five years) so chances are a used boat is going to look pretty similar to a new one on the water.

That said, two important items to keep in mind when buying a used boat are the condition of the boat and insurance costs. When inspecting, pay special attention to the hull to ensure there are no hairline cracks and to the motor to make sure it runs and has been properly maintained. Missing any trouble spots during inspection can result in you paying for it later on. 

When it comes to insurance, in theory it’s less expensive to insure a used boat since insurance companies calculate your rate based on the value of the boat. That said, many insurance companies will offer a better rate on a boat that has only been owned by one person. It’s always important to connect with your insurance company to make sure you know all of the details ahead of time. 


New Boats: What to Know

The biggest advantage of buying a new boat is similar to buying a new car – you can get just what you want, and you know you’ll be the first to use it. Additionally, a new boat will have the latest tech and navigational equipment, which for some people is a huge draw and provides extra peace of mind while on the water. 

Perhaps the second biggest factor in deciding to buy new is that the boat will come with a warranty. Generally, the boat manufacturer will offer a warranty on the main parts of the boat (like the hull and the deck), while the engine and other systems will be covered by separate policies. Some boat manufacturers will cover damage to the main part of the boat for a few years after purchase, with some even offering “lifetime protection” for the original purchaser. No matter the length of your warranty, when something breaks on your new boat, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s covered.   

Of course, when it comes to buying new, the biggest downfalls are around cost. Not only does a new boat cost more to purchase, but most of the time it’s more expensive to insure. Plus, when the time comes to sell your new boat, you’re likely going to take a hit to your investment due to depreciation.  

At the end of the day, the decision on whether to buy new or used is up to you, and no matter what path you select you’re going to love that first time on the water


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