If you’ve never been to a boat show, this is the season to check one out – especially if you are in the market for new watercraft. Boat shows happen all across the country throughout late winter and early spring. Multiple dealers, brokers, and manufacturers rent space under one roof, where you can browse the latest innovations in the boating industry. Often, dealers are ready to make a sale right on the spot; some boat shows even offer in-house financing through local banks and lenders. Before you buy your tickets, though, arm yourself with the knowledge you need to ask the right questions and find the boat that fits your needs.
Types of Boats
The options when boat shopping are seemingly endless – so much so that we cannot fit all of the different types of boats sold in the U.S. into a single post. What we can cover are some of the most popular types of boats and the features that make them more practical for specific purposes.
Runabouts – The most frequently purchased boat in the U.S. due to its versatility; usually between 18 and 26 feet long with seating for 6-10 people and either an outboard or an inboard/outboard engine.
Bass Boats – The choice of many fishermen due to its angler seats and live wells; usually has a quiet trolling outboard engine for stealth; capable of entering shallow waters
Sailboats – can be as long as 50 feet or more; uses sails to capture the wind and navigate the vessel; requires great skill to achieve desired speed and direction
Pontoon Boats – platform style boat that floats on aluminum pontoons, usually carries between 10 and 20 passengers using outboard or inboard/outboard engines that propel the boat up to 30mph.
Personal Watercraft – individual watercraft designed to seat 1-3 people; strong maneuverability and capable of high speeds
Ski Boats – high-powered boats designed for rapid acceleration; often equipped with towing towers for aerial maneuvers
Once you have a relative idea of the type of boat you want, there are several other factors to consider before making a purchase. These include:
Consider how much you want to spend on your boat – both now and in the future. New boats may come at a higher price point than used boats, but they also tend to come with manufacturer warranties, greater reliability, and the ability to customize your watercraft. When you purchase a used boat, there is no way to know the history of the boat or any hidden problems with the structure or mechanics. It’s possible to negate all of your price savings by sinking money into repairs and upgrades.
Tip: If you plan to finance your watercraft, consider shopping around for a loan before you go to the boat show. It may be possible to secure more favorable terms than if you apply for financing at the point of sale.
Boats of the same type can vary widely in size. In this case, bigger does not necessarily mean better – that is, unless, you need capacity for several passengers during each outing. If you can settle for a smaller boat, you could enjoy lower fuel costs, easier maneuverability, and easier transport. Small boats are also more likely to fit in your garage, meaning you will not need to rent a boat slip or boat storage unit for your watercraft.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
Lastly, don’t forget to ask your independent agent about boat insurance. Unlike homeowners insurance, which does not cover most large or motorized boats, a boat insurance policy can provide complete protection against liability, physical damages and more. It can even take care of damages to your boat when it is stored away for winter.
For more information about boat insurance or to request your free quote, contact Wolfgram Insurance today.