The summer months are the best time to buy a boat if you are after the latest models since boat manufacturers launch new ones during this season. But if you want to buy a cheap one, you should be on the lookout during spring.
That’s because summer marks the beginning of the boating season every year. Companies want to clear their inventory usually between March and May, before putting newer models such as pontoon boats for sale.
In Michigan, for instance, boat sales reached $7.4 billion in 2018 while an industry forecast showed that this year would continue the trend of increasing sales.
Seventh Year in a Row
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) expects sales of personal watercraft to increase by up to 4% in 2019. This would sustain the seventh consecutive sales growth for the industry, and it indicates that competition among manufacturers will be more evident.
Some may also have to outbid their fellow buyers especially when they buy during the spring months. Don’t make the mistake of buying by late June or early July, when boats are likely to sell more quickly. If you plan to buy in August, even new models could be hard to find since this month is a popular time for purchases.
Another thing to consider before buying a boat involves your personal finances. Contrary to what many believe, you don’t need to be extremely wealthy to own a boat. The NMMA said that more than 60% of boat owners in the country earned less than $100,000 in 2018.
In terms of sales, Florida ranked as the top boating state with over $23 billion of transactions in the previous year. California placed a far second on the list with $13 billion, while New York and Texas recorded $8.4 billion and $7.7 billion of sales, respectively.
Michigan landed on the fifth spot, followed by Washington State, New Jersey, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Missouri. These states likely have better deals for customers during boating season because of the competition, particularly for first-time buyers.
Tips for First-Time Buyers
There’s a reason why you’re still holding off on a boat purchase, either because you don’t know if you will really like boating or you’ll be unable to afford the cost of maintenance. But if these concerns don’t trump your desire to have your own personal watercraft, it’s better to buy a used boat.
In case you confirm that owning one requires too much of your time and money for maintenance, you only end up paying less than what you could have spent on a brand-new vessel. The same applies once you realize that boating isn’t for you.
The best time to buy a boat ideally happens when you already have the money in the next few weeks, but you could still score some bargain deals if you know how to anticipate the market in your area. Whether you plan to buy a new or old model, be sure to transact only with authorized sellers preferably from those with a showroom where you can see the boat up-close.