Having lived most of my life in areas where there are definite boating seasons, I feel the same way about buying a boat as I do about getting it serviced: Do it in the winter. Why? Because I want to be ready to go when the weather turns nice, not waiting in a long line for work to be done or orders to arrive. Nice spring days get people motivated to be on the water, or get service done, or buy a new boat. Usually those people are behind the curve. It’s better to be ahead of it.
Here are the primary benefits of buying a boat in the winter:
If you’re buying a boat in the winter, there’s time to do research, plan ahead, determine your needs and budget, and focus on what boat (plus features) you want, rather than being driven by knee-jerk emotional decisions in a showroom when many other people are doing the same thing.
Spring and summer are peak new-boat-buying times and prices reflect that. At the end of fall and in the first half or two-thirds of the winter (which varies depending on latitude), you have a good chance of getting a discount since business is slow and dealers may be incentivized to clear inventory before new-model-year boats arrive.
Beat Build-It Delays
If you’re ordering a boat that is not in a dealer’s current inventory, you stand a better chance of getting it before peak boating season by ordering early in winter. Recent years have seen ordering backlogs. If it’s going to take many months to get a specific boat, the sooner you order it the better. Plus, you make a deposit upfront and either pay for the rest when you take delivery, or pay in installments up to delivery time.
With winter demand low, you getter a better choice between what’s currently available and what you can order to be built, since you’re competing with fewer buyers.
Boat Show Shopping
January through March is when boat shows are held and this is where you can see many boats from many manufacturers without having to go to a lot of dealer showrooms. Attending a boat show can be very helpful for examining boats, floor plans, and features of comparable products. Incentive pricing often exists at these shows, although usually only for stock inventory. Don’t limit yourself to just a local boat show; going out of your area may be a good idea to find the kind of boat you want.
Among the benefits of buying a boat in the winter, this is an oft-overlooked one. Buying a boat is a big decision. When demand is low you stand less chance of making a poor decision due to feeling pressured because of time or competition. You have options and time to make sure that you’re getting what’s right for you and your family and for intended uses.