Buying a Boat: New vs Used

Buying a boat can be tricky, especially if you’re new to the world of boating. When you start looking at boats for sale, one of the first questions you’ll come up against is whether to buy new or used. Of course, there are pros and cons to both sides and oftentimes, the best answer will depend on your specific situation. That could include factors like your budget, the type of boat you’re looking for, how soon you want it, what you’re going to use it for and your boating experience.

So before you dive on in, let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons of new vs used boats and yachts.

Buying a New Boat

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Nothing beats that new car smell. Unless it’s that new boat smell! Sure, buying new will cost you a bit more (sometimes a lot more), but it comes with choice, peace of mind and more.

  • Get the boat you want

Buying new generally means you have the opportunity to customise the boat with the features, functionality and design that you want. You can outfit the boat with your choice of colours, upholstery, technology and anything else you need. You will have the freedom to build out your boat from scratch. If you’re serious about buying your dream boat, then nothing beats buying new.

  • Manufacturer’s warranty

Buying new means that the boat should come with a comprehensive manufacturer’s warranty. This could be invaluable during the early stages of boat ownership. It will give you the confidence and peace of mind to get out on the water knowing that any potential problems will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, which is usually served by your boat dealer.

  • No maintenance or service history worries

One of the biggest concerns with buying a used boat is how well it has been maintained. With a new vessel, you don’t need to worry about maintenance or service history. Since everything is brand new, straight from the factory, there’s no worries about how the previous owner treated the boat or the risk of buying a lemon. You can hit the water confident that there won’t be any nasty surprises in terms of repairs or maintenance. With a new boat, there’s also no need to hire a marine surveyor to assess the condition like you would with a used vessel.

Buying a Used Boat

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So buying a new boat is clearly awesome. But let’s be realistic — it’s not for everyone. Depending on your situation, buying used may be the smarter option.

  • Save money

This is the big one. Boats aren’t cheap. Going with a second hand option can save you some serious money. And since the major new value depreciation has already taken place, a used boat will hold its value better. Like a car, a new boat will depreciate the most during the first couple years of ownership. After that, depreciation should sit at around 3-4% over the next decade. That means that if you look to sell a used boat, you should be able to recoup much more of your investment compared to selling a recently new boat.

  • Get it straight away

Buying new can mean sitting on a waiting list for six to 12 months while the boat is being customised, transported or even built from scratch. With a used vessel, there is basically no wait time. Once you’ve completed payment, the boat is yours and you can hit the water.

  • Stood the test of time

A pre-loved boat has already proven its worth on the water. The kinks have been worked out and, provided that she’s been well maintained, she should be ready to get out on the water.

  • Try before you buy

When shopping for a used vessel, you should be given the opportunity to test the boat on the open water before you buy. With a new boat, you may be able to test a demo model that’s similar to the boat you want. However, it could differ in terms of engine or set-up, or be a slightly different size or weight, so you may not get the exact feel of the boat you’ve ordered. When you buy used, you can get an immediate feel for the vessel and know exactly what you’re getting.

Whether you decide to go new or used, it’s essential to do your research so you’re confident that you’re getting the boat that’s right for you.

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Terry Ryan

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