Understanding boat values and boat pricing is a critical part of buying a new or used boat. Buying a boat is a substantial purchase, so naturally, you want to be sure you’re not overpaying. Pricing for the very same model can vary quite a bit depending on options, engine, and rigging. So, how can you be sure the price is right?
Start by following these simple steps:
- Find and work with a boat dealer you can trust.
We can’t stress this one enough. You’ll run across some dealers who are in the business of selling industry-specific projects boats because they have a passion for boating, and others whose main interest is making a profit. Fortunately, there are a lot of boat nuts out there—and accordingly, there are a lot of dealers and salespeople who truly enjoy matching a person up with the boat they’re going to love.
- Visit the manufacturer’s website
Some boat manufacturers offer a “builder tool” on their website, and many include pricing. Some will offer to email you a quote after you complete a “virtual build.” These often allow you to price different features and options and can be very helpful in determining the value of the package you’re looking at.
- Search out listed pricing.
Naturally, you do want to verify that you’re being quoted a realistic value for any boat you’re looking at. Google can be quite helpful in this regard. While the marine industry hasn’t yet quite come around to the same level of MSRP disclosure as the automotive industry, it is getting better and better all the time. Just remember that, as with everything on the internet, you should look for multiple sources and take everything you see with a grain of salt.
- Check NADA guides and BUC values.
These guides can only show history and don’t include current pricing, so they’re most helpful for determining the value of used boats. However, even when you’re shopping, they can help put the value of a boat into context—pay particularly close attention to the outlined NADA boat values.
As you check on pricing, it’s important to remember that boat value is subject to a lot of variables. Along with power choices and features, geography will play a role because dealerships have different levels of expenses depending on where they’re located.