The time of year you decide to buy a boat can impact everything from pricing and selection to how soon you can get out on the water. Here are the key factors to consider when searching for the best time to buy a boat.
- Key Takeaways When Buying a New Boat
- How Seasons Affect the Best Time to Buy a Boat
- When is the Best Time to Buy a Fishing Boat?
- Attend Boat Shows to See the New Model Year Boats
- Smart Tips for Buying Used Models
- Finding the Right New Boat Model
- Boat Buying Tips
- FAQs: Best Time of Year for Boat Buying
- When is the worst time to buy a boat?
- Should I buy a boat in the spring or fall?
- What month is best for buying a used boat?
- How can I get the best price on a new boat?
Key Takeaways When Buying a New Boat
- Spring and summer see high new boat demand, so prices are higher and there’s less room to negotiate.
- Shop for new models in late winter and early spring when manufacturers release new boats.
- Join a boat club to test different boat types before buying your own new boat.
- Let a marine lender handle financing for the best rates on your new boat purchase.
How Seasons Affect the Best Time to Buy a Boat
Spring and summer are peak boating season in most regions, so more buyers are looking for boats during this time. With high demand for new models, dealers don’t need to discount prices or negotiate very much.
Once summer ends, fewer people are searching for boats to buy. As a result, fall is often the best time to find deals on new and used models. Boat dealers start offering incentives and discounts to clear out current inventory before the winter months.
While you may find deals at fall boat shows, discounts aren’t guaranteed on new boats. Wait until the slower winter months to get the lowest prices from sellers looking to sell their year-end inventory.
When is the Best Time to Buy a Fishing Boat?
In my experience, the best time to buy a fishing boat would be September through October, right as tournament and fishing seasons end. As someone who helps brokers and dealers market boats, I can tell you that this is when my phone rings off the hook!
Strategy: Aim to ask around, especially a few months before, so people know to keep an eye out for you. The idea here is that you want to get the seller before they spend tons of money prepping and listing their boat.
This way they are eager to avoid the hassles of dealing with the public and you can avoid the competition that drives prices higher!
Attend Boat Shows to See the New Model Year Boats
Attending local and regional boat shows lets you see many different makes and models in one place. This makes it easy to compare features and pricing for both new and used boats across your top choices.
Keep in mind that you may or may not find special deals on new boats at boat shows. Some dealers offer boat show pricing, but incentives aren’t always much different from regular sale prices on the newest models.
Smart Tips for Buying Used Models
Fall and winter are generally the best times to find a used boat at a good price. As owners bring boats in for winter storage, more used boats go on the market during this time.
When buying a used boat, get an independent inspection to identify any repairs needed. Hire a boat surveyor to closely examine the hull, engine, electronics and systems.
Shop used boat listings starting in late summer and fall to get the best selection. By spring, many of the best deals have sold to savvy buyers.
Finding the Right New Boat Model
If you hope to get a new boat in time for summer, start shopping in early spring when new models first hit showrooms. Dealers are eager to sell last year’s models still in inventory.
Ideally, try to shop after July and August. By this time, more buyers have already found boats, so you may see fewer crowds and more negotiating power.
Don’t wait too long though. Popular boats may already be sold out if you delay your search until the end of the model year.
Boat Buying Tips
- Get pre-approved with a marine lender so you can move quickly when you find the right boat.
- Ask about including winter storage or a haul-out service in your negotiations.
- Be flexible – you may find a great used boat, even if you started out only looking at new models.
- Let an independent insurance agent find the best boat insurance policy for your needs.
FAQs: Best Time of Year for Boat Buying
When is the worst time to buy a boat?
The worst times to buy a boat are typically spring and early summer when demand is very high. Prices also tend to be higher during peak boating season.
Should I buy a boat in the spring or fall?
Fall is generally a better time to find deals and negotiate prices. Since boating season is ending, fewer people are looking to buy boats in the fall.
What month is best for buying a used boat?
September is when you will want to buy a used boat. Owners are preparing to winterize and store boats during this time.
How can I get the best price on a new boat?
Wait until the fall or winter months to get a good deal because this is when dealers want to sell off remaining inventory before the new model year boats arrive.
Using these insider tips on timing and negotiation tactics, you can score the absolute lowest price on your next new or used boat. Finding a great boat deal takes patience, but the payoff of extra savings is worth taking time to find the best discounts!