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Boat Show Tips

How to Get the Most Out of Boat Shows

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Experts agree the best time to buy a boat is during the off-season, which corresponds to the winter boat show season. They also agree that boat shows are great opportunities for boaters to get special deals and incentives on new boats, as well as meet dealers and manufacturers. If you aren't in the market to buy a boat yet, just have fun and take it all in. For certain, any person serious about buying a boat should begin with attending a boat show. Use these boat show tips to make the best of your experience:

Do Your Homework Before the Boat Show

Boat shows are a great way to begin the boat buying journey. They are one of the best avenues to try on many different boats, but the best way to determine if you are getting a good deal at a boat show is to do your homework ahead of time. This can be somewhat difficult since boat dealers don't typically have online tools where you can choose your boat's features and see its costs. There are, however, many great brokerage websites that can help you with pricing information.

Attend as Many Boat Shows as Possible

The primary winter boat show season is January through March, which experts agree is the best time to buy a boat. If you are a serious boat shopper, use the boat show season to your best advantage by attending the Fall boat shows. Boat shows are held across the nation and there is certain to be one, if not more, near you. By attending as many boat shows as you can throughout the season, you will be building your knowledge of boat manufacturers, dealers, and prices, helping you narrow the field of possible new boats.

Use Boat Shows to Your Advantage

Boat shows exist to cater to you, so use that knowledge to your best advantage by shopping all the makes and models of new boats. The best part of a boat show is having many boats in one place to comparison shop. Take along a camera and a notebook to record your observations about each boat that catches your eye. Write down what you liked or didn't like about each model and your impressions of the boat. Grab brochures for the boats you like best, but take your own pictures because the brochures leave out images of many features you may consider important. Most importantly, write the boat show price and the list price of the boat so you can compare prices between boat shows and dealers.

Use Boat Shows to Shop For a Dealer

At the same time you shop for a boat, shop for a dealer. Record your impressions of the sales people as you tour the boats. When you purchase a boat from a dealer, it could be a long and rewarding relationship or a disastrous one. Boat shows are a good time to make contacts and determine the best dealers to work with in the long haul. Finally, don't be afraid to talk price to a dealer, even if you know you aren't ready to buy. This can give you a more accurate price for a boat you may be interested in, and how much a dealer is willing to work with you.

Don't Buy on Impulse

Unless you have thoroughly done your homework and are certain you are getting the best deal, do not buy a boat on your first visit. Try to attend on the first day of the boat show so that you have time to think about a possible purchase. Some veteran boat buyers recommend waiting until the last day of the show towards the end of the day. It may be possible to get a better deal then because dealers are trying to recoup their show costs. Other boating industry experts disagree with buying at boat shows, and direct boaters to buy at the dealer's location. To find out more, read Buying a Boat at a Boat Show vs. a Dealer.
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