All throughout the spring, summer and fall months, most of us are out on the water. If the weather’s nice, we’re boating. Every weekend, for sure, and maybe even a quite a few “personal” days when the opportunity arises. But when the weather gets colder, our thoughts turn from boating to boat shows.
Whether you’re looking for your first boat or you’re in the market to upgrade, winter boat shows help us keep the fire burning until our glorious spring launch finally rolls around. In addition to the fun atmosphere, gleaming gel coat and new gadgets you just can’t live without, there’s something else that should be drawing you right through the front door. The deals!
Think about it. Since the boating season is over in most parts of the country, and boats have been serviced and stored during the fall, your local dealer will be wheeling and dealing with all kinds of special offers and manufacturers’ incentives. If you’re looking for a boat, you owe it to yourself to attend a boat show.
To help you navigate the aisles like a pro, here are the Top 3 things to think about as the boat show rolls through your community:
1) Do your homework and narrow down your search before you get there. It adds to the experience if you walk in with a good idea about the type of boat that best fits your lifestyle. Do you need seating and storage for lots of family and friends? Are you more into performance and styling? Do your kids spend most of their time tubing, skiing or wakeboarding? Will you spend a lot of time on big water? Have you always dreamed of anchoring and overnighting in a serene cove? There will be lots of terrific distractions…be prepared!
2) Get to know your dealer. Nearly as important as the type of boat you buy is the feeling you get from your dealer. They will be instrumental in helping you get a great deal. They will be delivering your boat. They will be there for routine service, storage and anything else you need after your purchase. Talk to the salesperson at the booth. Ask to speak to the owner of the dealership. Chances are, they are one of your neighbors. A good dealer knows that your relationship begins with the sale, not ends with the sale.
3) Shop for value, not just price. This is a simple idea, but it’s harder than it sounds. Cheaper does not mean value. There are price wars at just about every boat show between competing lines. Ask about quality construction. Ask about resale value. Ask about financing offers. The cream rises to the top, as they say. You will pat yourself on the back a year or two (or 10) down the line when you make quality a priority over price alone.