Compared to buying your first car, buying a boat is a whole different experience considering it involves a lot of unfamiliar sales pitches by a boat dealer. Whether you’re buying a new or used boat for commercial or recreational purposes, the process is often the same and the factors to keep in mind are usually constant. For seasoned boat owners, this is often not a challenge because they know exactly what to look for, the features that make a good boat and the right boat dealer. However, if you are a first-time boat buyer, here are some essential things to keep in mind when choosing a boat dealership.
1. Research Your Potential Purchase
The first thing to consider is the type of boat you want and the features you need; this will help determine your budget. Perhaps you’ve seen a boat that has impressed you for a while now, the best place to begin your search for a boat style is online and there are many online tools you can use for your boat hunt. If you’re are on a budget, you may want to consider used boat for sale that fits your budget. However, not every boat dealership will offer this option because some only sell new boats.
2. Pick Your Boating and Anchoring Spot
After gathering information about your potential boat, the next important step is to choose a boating spot as well as the anchoring spot. Perhaps there are no or limited docking spaces around. Or the docks are not ideally suited to prevent boats from smashing on each other due to strong winds and waves.
How far are you from a dealer and service department? The closer your boat is to this service the quick consultation, repairs, and maintenance you can enjoy as a boat owner. If you reside far from the dealership, get to know the arrangements they have on long-distance jobs and how long it actually takes to complete a particular repair. Lastly, if you’ll be using a trailer then you must also have a vehicle that can successfully tow it without a problem.
3. Seek for Referrals, Opinions and Reviews
Some of the best boat dealer and service center recommendations may come from family and friends. So ask them and get to know their experiences with that particular dealer. You may also consider checking online reviews for the best boat dealers in your area. Check to see if they have any complaints or negative reports lodged against them from consumers. These options will yield honest results and help you decide which is the right dealer for your boat needs.
4. Ask for Certification
Before deciding on a dealership, ask for relevant credentials from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which is a body tasked to ensure boats are built according to the acceptable standards. Working with a Marine Five-Star Certified dealership can offer you peace-of-mind when selecting and/or servicing a boat. Such a dealership has received all the industrial accreditation to offer quality boat selling services and they also have trained and experienced employees guided by the best practices of sales and service operations to guarantee customer satisfaction.
This information can be gathered from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) or you can ask the dealer manager if they are certified. Most importantly, the technicians who’ll be working on repairing and maintaining your boat must also have certification or special training.
5. Test Drive Before You Make a Decision
Whether it’s a recreational or fishing boat, a test drive is important when buying a boat as it allows you to experience the performance first hand and ensure that everything is as it should be. A reputable dealer should allow you to take a test run before buying, especially for used ones. If you’re buying a new boat, probably worth more than $20,000, it’s recommended that you seek a professional marine surveyor who’ll appraise the boat and help you make an informed decision.
Some of the key areas to keep in mind during a test run include engine performance, structural integrity, mechanical and electronic devices, safety gear, upholstery holding, and boat cover. With these considerations in mind, you can comfortably visit a dealership and start your purchase process.