Finding the Best Time to Buy a Boat

February 16, 2018

Determining the best time to buy a boat is a little like trying to time the stock market; if it was easy, everyone would be rich. Although bargains can be found throughout the year, the general consensus is that fall and winter are the optimum times to do your boat shopping.

Dealerships want to clear out unsold stock during the fall to make room for next year’s models, while winter is the time for boat shows and expos when dealers will all be under one roof in head-to-head competition for sales.

Because dealers want to make room for new models, they will offer steep discounts on unsold inventory in the fall. But that’s not the only benefit. If you already own a boat, you can trade it in and avoid winter storage fees. You’ll also have plenty of time to install desired equipment and accessories onto your new boat before the next season arrives.

Boat show season is the ideal time for a number of reasons. First, buyers can choose from a wide selection of models. Most of the major boating companies and builders are represented, and they are anxious to show off their hottest and most popular products. Even better, you don’t need to rely on a brochure. Instead, you can see the actual, life-size boats all in one place. Boat shows also attract inboard and outboard motor manufacturers, distributors of marine equipment and other accessories.

Another big advantage of boat shows is the social aspect. You’re among fellow boat aficionados with whom you can share information and gather tips before deciding on a purchase.

And speaking of information, it’s all there for the consumer. Everything you’ll need to plan for the upcoming boating season is available, from insurance information, financing and watercraft registration to licenses, marinas, lock schedules and relevant timetables.

As a rule, financing terms are better during boat show season, and Sterling Associates, with offices in Massachusetts, California, Florida, Michigan, Maryland and Texas, and more than $4 billion in boat loans since 1991, can help you navigate through the many loan options. Sterling represents 16 lenders, both national and local, making it easier to find the lowest rate for each customer. Because of Sterling’s established reputation for quality service, lenders are often willing to offer marine loans for 15- or 20-year terms.

In our next blog post, we’ll provide some tips that will help you make the most out of your visit to a boat show.