Boat Show Basics

By Patrick Farrell March 10, 2014


With the beginning of 2014 just barely in our rearview mirror, we can now really begin thinking about our plans for this year, especially with Boat Show season now in full swing!  Although most of the country is under at least a foot of snow, it seems a little ridiculous to be thinking about boating, but we can assure you, this winter is the best opportunity to find the perfect vessel for your summer days.

The Winter Boat Shows are the ideal time to get the lowest prices on that craft you’ve had your eye on. The best time to purchase a boat is in the off-season, experts agree, and the off-season correlates with Boat Show Season.  This is also a wonderful opportunity to meet local dealerships, and decide with which sales people you are most comfortable.

Here are some pointers on how to capitalize on your time invested.

Do your homework.

Research the dealers who will be present, the boat makes and models you are most interested in, and a general idea of pricing. With the acquired background knowledge, you will be able to better judge the intent of the sales people, and formulate a concept of which dealers are going to give you the best price. This is not only an opportunity to discover boats that you may purchase, but from whom you want to purchase them.

Attend as many Shows as you can!

There may be multiple Shows in your area, especially from January to March, which is considered “Boat Show Season.” You can build your knowledge of boat manufacturers and model prices, and narrow your search with each presentation. Not to mention, you can compare dealers’ and their prices from one region to the next in order to better conclude where you want to obtain your vessel.  According to the NMMA , 38% of all attendees of Boat Shows repeat the experience at least once more through the year.

Look Around.

There are more than just boats at Boat Shows.  If you are the proud owner of a boat, these Shows are just as much for you as they are for novices, or those who are in between boat ownership.  In fact, according to the NMMA, current boaters are more likely to attend a Boat Show than non-boaters, and more than half of the exhibitors are dedicated to marine systems, appliances, services and accessories.  In many cases, you will see some of the new, state-of-the-art, innovative boat models that will absolutely take your breath away.  If nothing else, isn’t it fun to look?

Don’t Impulse Buy.

Like so many other major purchases you make in your life, hastily purchasing your boat may leave you remorseful in the long run. Don’t rush into it! Take your time, look around, make sure you are getting the best deal, and do not buy on your first visit. Most dealers drop their prices on the last day of a Show to recoup their costs for exhibiting, so check back at the end for the best deals available.

Bring your calculator.

People don’t realize exactly how much a boat is going to cost them.  Price tags should never be taken at face value, because beneath that number are multiple other expenses.  You really must factor into your budget the following:

  1. Financing costs.  Consider the interest rate on your financing plan, and the term length, and incorporate into your total.
  2. Embellishments.  While not all embellishments are simply decoration, or appliances you could live without, you really can’t get around adorning your boat in accessories. Technology and innovation have given us the gifts of the GPS, EPIRBS, life jackets, plus, and you actually need these items. Throw into the mix navigation screens, sound systems, and underwater lights and this bill will surprise you.
  3. Operating expenses.  Gas isn’t cheap, but fortunately, most boaters go through around 50 gallons of gas per season, so don’t fret about this expense. Do mull over maintenance and upkeep costs.
  4. Storage.  There are three standard locations for storing your boat: around your house (garage, lawn, or driveway), in the water, or in rack storage. Consult your local marina for pricing. Weigh your options and consider your boat’s safety.
  5. Insurance.  Insurance is imperative for protecting your investment, your loved ones, and yourself. Call NBOA Marine Insurance for your boat insurance needs, at highly competitive rates. 1.800.248.3512

NBOA Marine Insurance attends many boat shows throughout the year and across the country. Our boating enthusiasts are available to answer any questions at all that you may have, pertaining to insurance or anything marine related! If you see us at an upcoming boat show, be sure to stop by and say hello.

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