Boat Buying Tips
Well it’s that time of year again. The show season is in full swing, and boat manufacturers and dealers are showcasing their line(s) of boats for the 2016 season. We at Exist To Fish Canada thought
we would share some tips with you to help save some money before purchasing your first boat, including some specific things that you might want to take into consideration when you see the ride of your dreams.
Seeing that this is a purchase that will potentially be with you for quite a while, the first and foremost decision to make is the type of boat you’ll want to fit your specific needs. Do you need a boat that will crossover as both a recreational family and fishing boat? Or is it a fishing specific boat that’s on tap?
Buyer’s Remorse & Hidden Costs
Let’s touch on some things that are often overlooked when purchasing a boat. Because of the cost-effectiveness, many first time buyers consider the purchase of a pre rigged boat. The outboard’s horsepower is something that you might want to make a high priority. Many starter packages come with underpowered outboards for the price the package is offered at. If you think that you might want to upgrade the outboard to get the best performance and fuel consumption for the boat, now is the time to ask for it (which will ultimately save you some money in the long run). Upon initially running your new ride, if you deem it underpowered and are ultimately unhappy with your purchase, keep in mind this motor will now be considered a used outboard (which means you lose money trying to sell or trade in to upgrade). An extended warranty is good to negotiate, but really, negotiating a good deal on the most horse power you can afford will save headaches and unnecessary spending down the road. Plus, you’ll just be that much more satisfied with your purchase (buyer’s remorse is awful).
Something else often overlooked is the lack of quality offered in the “package deal” fish finder. Many pre-rigged boats come with the lower end units that a manufacturer has to offer, once again to keep the cost of package down (in order to spark interest in potential sales). Most dealers will carry higher end models of fish finders, so ask them if they can exchange the unit that comes with the boat against the purchase of said higher end model that they carry. Make sure you ask them about this, because if you snooze here, the potential upgrade becomes another added cost if you don’t already own one. Does the boat you are looking at come with a bow mount electric motor? If it does, is it the one that you would be happy with? Will it have enough power to operate in any weather conditions? If, for example, you purchase a 17ft boat that is rigged with a 12 volt electric motor, chances are you will be upgrading to a 24 or 36 volt motor after the first time you are out on a windy day (at the very least you’ll be unsatisfied). Is the shaft of the electric motor long enough for the boat? If not, again, after the first windy choppy day running it, only to have your electric motor prop continuously popping out of the water thus being blown off your spot, chances are you’ll be wishing you had opted for the longer shaft and higher powered motor. Now is the time to shore this up. Before you purchase the boat, take the time to ask the dealer if they would take the electric bow mount off the boat that you are looking at and put it towards the price of another model that would better suit your needs.
Questions, Questions, Questions
You most definitely want to ask the dealer the following questions. Does the package come with transom tie downs? Is a transom saver for the outboard included? Is a fitted boat cover or a trailering cover included? Are the trailer wheel bearings, packed bearings and self-greasing or are there grease nipples to service the bearings yourself? Does the boat come with batteries for the electric motor or just a starting battery? Does it come with a spare tire for the trailer? What are the license and boat registration fees? The answers to all of these questions will further help you to keep the “hidden costs” to a minimal. Throughout your search, remember to also look at where the rod holders will be located and the type of fish finder mount you will use. Boat cleats, tiller or console model, storage space, rod locker, carpet or non-skid vinyl, electric or pull start and the live well (to name a few) are other things to consider.
Don’t Worry Be Happy
I hope these suggestions help you out if a pre rigged boat is what you’re after. By making these suggested upgrades, the initial price tag of the boat package will be slightly inflated, but you will most certainly save money down the road (along with your sanity) by making them now. Knowing and carefully weighing your options will save you some frustration from those unexpected costs that may have slipped your mind when buying a boat when you were trying to keep on “budget”.
Your first boat should be an enjoyable purchase for you. By asking these simple, yet forgotten questions, the dealer will be more than happy to outfit your ride for the application you are focused on. There is nothing worse than finding out that you are unhappy with your purchase only to have to start trying to sell something that is now consider used, which is a long term financial loss. The time to trade up/substitute for what you want is at the time of purchase, so you can get the best price possible for the boat/accessory package that fits your needs. Believe me when I say it is in the dealer’s best interest to make sure that you are satisfied with your purchase, because a happy customer is a repeat customer.
Don’t Forget The Shows!!
Some of the best available deals on new fully rigged boat packages will take place at your local Boat shows. Dealers are bringing their best to the table as well as late model or discontinued products that NEED TO GO. There are typically Pro staff for the boat companies present at the shows that offer honest insight to each model. Why? Because they have run the boats. Their opinions are very valuable and will point you towards the right boat for you and your needs.
The shows will also give you a great opportunity to see the product up close and personal before you buy it! Not always the case when you are ordering from the dealer out of a catalogue.
So, get out to one of the fine shows going on and take everything possible into account. Be smart. Knowledge is power. Think about the now, the future, what will truly make you happy, and go after it. All the best of luck in your search, and If you find what you’re looking for, have a great season in your new whip!