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What's the best time to buy a boat? Buying a boat in winter

When it comes to buying a boat, whether new or used boat, the warmer spring, and summer months are the most popular time. People are planning their long sunny days on the water and it results in a surge of sales. It is this popularity and surge however which drives prices up. So is there a better time to buy a boat? Should you be thinking about purchasing a boat in the dead of winter? The answer is a resounding yes. 


The Summer Months Drive Up Prices Due to High Demand

It might feel strange to be thinking about buying something you’re unlikely to use for several months, after all, we don’t go out buying brand new swimwear in the middle of December that will sit in a drawer for several months. Or do we? What if that swimsuit was in the sale, considerably discounted from its usual retail price? In much the same way as off-season sales can see huge discounts on clothes and other seasonal items, boat prices can be hugely affected too. 

If you went to the shop to buy that swimsuit at the height of the swimming season, you’d find it at full price. Where there is demand, sellers can ask higher prices. And this is exactly the same as buying a boat during the high season. 


You Get More Choice

When demand is high for buying boats in the spring and summer months, ultimately this means that there will be more competition over the same stock. With more people vying for the same boats, not only can prices go up as we’ve seen, but you may have less choice. You might find yourself making compromises on the model or features you’d been looking for just to secure a deal and get out on the water. 

With less demand during the winter months, you’ll have your pick of boats on the market and are more likely to get the exact specifications you wanted. You are also likely to feel less time-pressured to make a choice. Buying a boat is a big decision and when demand is high and you’re worried about losing out to someone else it’s easy to make a wrong decision. The low season will give you more time to think your purchase over, get a survey, look around at similar models and make sure you’re buying the perfect boat for you and your family. 


You Can Get All the Specifications you Want

Buying a new boat comes with a whole host of specifications for you to choose from. From the colour of the upholstery to the electronics, to the type of engine these boats are often built to order. And the waiting lists can be several months long. Place your order in spring and summer and you may very well miss the entire season waiting impatiently for your boat to arrive. Plan ahead, however, and get your order in during winter and you can wait slightly more patiently for your perfect customized boat to be delivered right in time for the boating season to kick off. 

An added bonus of ordering in advance is that you get to secure your boat with just a deposit and then pay off the balance in installments over several months. Order ‘off the shelf’ in summer and you’ll have to pay the whole amount up front (although there are some excellent deals to be found on marine mortgages). 


You Can Spend the Off-Season Getting Your Boat Ready

This is especially relevant for used boats which may need a little work or maintenance. Buying in the winter months means you have plenty of time to get it shipshape and ready for a long season of cruising. You’ll find at this time that there is less pressure on shipyards and, with a few months until you want to start using your boat, you can enjoy a leisurely maintenance or refit schedule. It will also allow you to spread the costs over several months. Buy in the summer and you’ll be chomping at the bit to get going and want all your work done as quickly as possible.

Consider too, that you could buy a boat which needs more work than you had initially thought of buying, and get an even better price on it. Keep overall costs in mind though and be sure to get a marine survey first. Don’t bite off more than you can chew though. 


Winter is Boat Show Season

In Europe and North America, winter brings a packed itinerary of boat shows, from smaller regional ones to huge international events. In Europe, the season kicks off with BOOTS in Dusseldorf in January, while on the other side of the pond the Miami International Boat Show kicks off the North American circuit in February. Boat shows bring together a tantalizing selection of new boats of all sizes, types, and budgets in one arena, allowing you to check out the latest models and features, and compare different manufacturers and their boats easily. 

For those in the market for a new boat, the shows often offer great deals on boats and special promotions at the events. There are end-of-line boats on offer with huge sales on, and special discounts if you order a new model as they’re released. Even if you don’t want to sign on the dotted line at the boat show, they’re a great way to see a large number of models in one place and then make your choice later. 


Many Sellers Don’t Want to Pay for Winter Storage

If someone has decided to sell their boat before the next season, the chances are they won’t want to pay for a winter of storage costs for a boat they don’t plan on using again. What this means for you is that they may be willing to make a deal either on the price of the boat or, if they’ve already negotiated a contract for winter storage, on that too. Be sure to ask sellers about their current storage commitments and see if you can negotiate it into the price. For more tips on negotiating the best deal check out our guide. 


Winter is a Great Time to go Boating

Winter might be the low season, but it’s also a wonderful time to get out on the water. So, buy a boat now and you could be spending calm, clear, crisp days out on the seas or inland waterways all through the colder months. With the right winter boating preparation and a good selection of sailing clothing to keep you warm, you can take advantage of the uncrowded cruising grounds and starkly beautiful scenery year-round. 


The Right Time to Buy a Boat is When it’s the Right Time for You

Ultimately, while there could be great deals to be found in winter, it’s important you buy the right boat at the right time for you. Pressuring yourself to buy a boat at a certain time could mean you find yourself stressed financially or emotionally. Do your research, create your budget, and understand the steps involved in buying a boat. Rightboat.com has thousands of boats, new and used, all over the world and is the perfect place to contact dealers, compare models and get great deals. 


Read on these interesting articles too ...

Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Buy a Boat

Choosing the Perfect Boat

A Guide to Canal Boating in Winter

Storing Your Boat

Summer versus Winter Cruises: Things to Consider before Booking

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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