boat is a significant investment. Before
you go to a boat show or boat dealer take some time to plan what you want and
need in a boat.
year, BBB receives hundreds of complaints against boat dealers, marine sales
and service and suppliers. Most complaints allege contract disputes and failure
on the part of the business to provide the agreed-upon services or products.
how much money you have to spend on a boat and related costs (insurance, registration,
required safety equipment, boat cover, accoutrements, storage, repairs, fuel,
trailer, additional warranty, etc.).
you need financing, if so check with your local financial institution for
financing rates. A boat dealer may also
offer financing, comparison shop.
the expected life of the boat you are planning to purchase. Make sure your financing (if required) does
not exceed the time frame.
kind of boating are you planning? Ocean,
large lake, river or quiet lake? Sailing,
paddling or motoring?
are your plans for the boat? Will you be fishing, tubing, water-skiing, sailing
or cruising? Will these activities require you to purchase other
equipment? At what cost?
will you keep the boat? Marina, on a
trailer at home, rental storage area? What will the storage cost?
you required to take classes in order to get a license to drive the boat? How much is the license registration for the
much maintenance is required and will you have time to perform the maintenance
yourself or will you hire a company to perform it. How much will the maintenance cost annually?
sure you know exactly what is included in the price of the boat. Make sure any extras are in writing. Get the delivery date in writing.
is the manufacturer’s warranty and what does it cover? Will you need to purchase warranties on other
pieces of equipment in the boat?
you and your family know how to swim? If
not, look into swimming lessons to be safe on the water.
a Boat Show
exhibitors ahead of time. Visit the boat show’s website to educate
yourself on the various boat dealers and manufacturers who will be in
attendance. This can help you choose which booths you’d like to visit and which
exhibitors you’re most interested in meeting.
the right questions. Before falling in love with a boat offered by a dealer,
make sure the boat will cover your wants and needs. Find out what extras are included in the
price and what other items you will need to purchase.
All Promises in Writing. Be sure to document with whom you spoke and
all verbal agreements (sale prices, add-ons, etc.) made or mentioned. Obtain a
business card before you leave and set a time to follow up after the show.
Don’t be pressured to put down a large deposit for fear of losing out.
the boat dealer before signing a contract. Go to bbb.org to
see a company’s business review and any history of complaints. Make sure you look up the manufacturer of the
boat as well.
someone you trust. Bring someone with you who is not as emotionally or
financially connected to you buying a boat. This individual may provide a different,
yet helpful, perspective when talking with dealers or manufacturers.