When Is the Best Time to Buy a Boat?


Buying a boat can be exciting, but you’ll also want to think carefully about your decision. If you’re like most boat buyers, you want to get a good price. You also want to get the best possible vessel for your needs.

An oft-neglected aspect of the buying process is timing. Is there a “best” time to buy a boat? And if so, when is it?

Factors That Influence Timing

As you might expect, this is more complicated than a simple piece of advice, like “buy a boat in early May,” could imply.

Let’s start by talking about the various factors that could make a time better or worse for purchasing a boat:

  • Boating season. Boating season is the biggest driver for boat purchasing timing and it influences many of the other factors on this list. Fortunately, this factor isn’t very complicated. While different areas around the world may have slightly different parameters for what qualifies as “boating season,” in most places it’s the same. Boating season begins in spring, peaks in summer, begins to decline in fall, and is practically dead by winter.

    This can influence your buying decision in a few different ways. For example, if you want to prepare your boat for the upcoming season, buying in spring makes sense. If you want to get the boat in the water right away, you may buy in the summer. However, many people are interested in buying in spring and summer, so you’ll likely see higher prices. If you want to score a better deal, you might wait until fall—when manufacturers and dealers start dropping prices.

    If you live in an area with nearly year-round boating, this factor may not be as big of an influence on your decision.

  • Boat model introduction. You can also time your decision based on the introduction of new boat models. If you’re the type of person who wants the latest and greatest in everything, you might wait for a new model to be introduced. You can be one of the first people to own it and take full advantage of its lifespan

    There’s also a secondary effect here. When new models are introduced, the old ones tend to be sold at a discount. You can often get last year’s model for a steeply discounted price whenever this year’s model is introduced for the first time.

  • Boat shows and sales. Oftentimes, you can score a great deal on a boat at a boat show or a similar sale event. These instances don’t always fall in line with seasonal changes, and they don’t always happen at predictable intervals. However, if you plan your buying decision around them, it can benefit you tremendously.

    If you go this route, it’s a good idea to attend a boat show or two before planning to make a final decision. This way, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect at a boat show, and you’ll become familiar with a wider range of models.

  • Manufacturer incentives. Timing your purchase effectively could also allow you to take advantage of manufacturer incentives. Some manufacturers offer special discounts or deals at certain times of the year to drum up sales; pay attention to the cycles here and you might end up with a fantastic buying opportunity.

  • Overall market ebb and flow. Like any other economic market, the boat market experiences cycles of growth and decline. Sometimes, it’s a buyer’s market, with sellers motivated to price their vessels lower. Sometimes, it’s a seller’s market, with high prices and lots of competition for buyers.

    If you want to land the best deal and time your purchase “right,” you’ll need to pay attention to the ebb and flow of your local market.

What Are You Hoping to Achieve?

It’s also important to note that different people may mean different things when they want to find the “right” time to buy a boat. What are you hoping to achieve?

  • A lower price. Most people talk about “timing” when they want to get a lower price on a boat. They hope to pick the right season and the right market conditions and end up saving thousands on their purchase.
  • The latest model. You may also be interested in getting the latest model from your favourite manufacturer. If this is one of your highest priorities, you probably don’t care much about price. However, different manufacturers announce new models at different times, so you’ll need to pay attention.
  • An amazing season. Of course, you might be interested in taking advantage of boating season as much as possible. If this is the case, it might be worth paying a bit extra for a boat if it means getting it into the water faster.

Research and Patience

While buying at the right moment can be advantageous, it’s also essential to take your time, research your options, and think logically about your decision. If you rush your choice, hoping to take advantage of a certain condition, it could work against you.

Is Timing Everything?

You should also understand that while timing can help you land a good deal on a boat or get your boat in the water faster, it’s not the only factor to consider, and it may not be the most important factor. It’s often far more important to find the right vessel for your needs, and if it’s used, ensure it’s in good condition.

The reality is, you can find a good boat at a good price no matter what the season is, what the current incentives are, or what other timing factors are in play. As long as you understand your priorities well, you keep your mind open, and you keep browsing listings, you could find the ultimate deal.

If you’re interested in finding a good boat at a great price, consider using TheYachtMarket. We have thousands of boats for sale all over the world, and an intuitive search feature to help you find the perfect vessel for your needs. Find your dream boat today!

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