Boat Buyer's Guide:
New or Used?
Personal finances are often a key factor in the decision to buy a new or used boat. However, other factors should be considered.
After-Sale Service — or Lack of It
The retail cost of a new boat includes the cost of providing warranty service. When a used boat is sold "as is," the only thing that's guaranteed is that the buyer will pay to fix any problem that crops up.
New and used boats are treated equally in terms of interest rates and down payments. However, expect some extra financing hurdles if you're buying a boat over 15 years old or one that requires a lot of repairs.
Depreciation on new boats is at its highest during the first season of use. However, depreciation on a used boat kept in good condition should level out with proper maintenance and equipment improvements.
Beauty May Be Only Skin Deep
Cosmetic flaws caused by age and wear are hard to hide when a boat hasn't been properly cared for, but structural defects and mechanical problems are harder to detect. Ask the owner's mechanic for the repair history. Have the boat surveyed. Similarly, the owner of a new boat could also be testing uncharted waters. Dealers say an average of a dozen problems, both big and small, crop up on every new boat they sell.