Buying a New Boat, the Best Advice You Never Got!

Now that the boat show has come and gone some of us are considering either upgrading or maybe even getting that first new fishing boat.
After many, many years of selling boats, I have a piece of advice that can prove invaluable to you. This is a piece of advice that you’re not going to want to hear. This is also advice that is going to be very hard for you to take. This is advice which for some of you will go against everything you have learned and lived by for most of your adult life.
I am going to tell you little story to illustrate my point so bear with me. About a dozen years ago I found myself moving to the Texas gulf coast. There was a wealth of inshore and near shore fishing to be had mere minutes from my doorstep. I had sold my previous boat prior to the move and was getting a bit shaky from being landlocked and not being able to get out on the water. I decided to make a trip to a Corpus Christie boat dealership that sold 2 brands of bay boats that were popular in the area.
I walked into the showroom and started looking at one of the brands that had caught my eye. A salesman came out and introduced himself and asked if I had any questions. I said that I wanted to know about these 2 brands, which one was better, and why. He proceeded to say “well this one costs” at which point I stopped him and said I do not want to know what the price is, I just want to know about the features and performance. Again he said “well this one costs” at which point I stopped him again and told him I did not to know what the price was as I wanted to make my decision solely on criteria other than price at this point. As I tried to learn about these 2 brands of boats he kept trying to tell me how much they were and I kept stopping him. I finally asked him that if the owner came to him and said that as a bonus he could have one of the 2 boats at no charge to him, which one would he pick and why. He said to me “I do not know which one I would choose as they are both equal”. Needless to say by this point I was a bit fed up with not being able to get a straight answer and I said thanks and left the dealership without making a purchase or even taking a brochure.
Since I was new to flats and inshore fishing I needed someone to help educate me a bit. And since this was going to be a fishing boat that needed to perform some specialized tasks there were certain criteria that it needed to meet. This was a very shallow, very windy, saltwater environment with the opportunity to venture offshore when the Car Maintenance Checklist Pdf conditions were right. The things that were the most important to me were, in no particular order of importance. Performance, quality construction, shallow water performance, ability to get up on step in very shallow water, smooth dry ride, durability and corrosion resistance, interior layout, and rough water handling characteristics.
Notice that nowhere in this list of criteria does price appear. That is not to say that price is not important, but I went into this with the realization that all the boats in the same size and horsepower range that were going to meet my needs would most likely all be within 10% of each other in price. I wanted to be able to settle on a couple of models that would truly be the best for what I needed the boat to do without the influence of price on my decision. As important as fishing and my time on the water is to me I would rather pay 10% more for the best tool for the job and enjoy myself every time I am on the water rather than saving 5 or 10% and having some or many regrets each time out.
I continued to shop around until I settled on a sweet 20′ center console tunnel hull, with a 175 HP outboard mounted on a jack plate. This boat did everything that I asked of it for almost 3 years and it never had me wishing for more (well except I would have liked to have had a bit more HP). Plus when it came time to sell, it sold quickly and for top dollar since it was such a nice package of great features for the area.
So here is my advice for all you boat shoppers, do not make the price the most important feature of your new boat. Granted it is important, but if you end up with the wrong boat you paid too much no matter how cheap it was!
See you on Ece R44 04 Airplane the water!

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