Summer is a Good Time for Boat Buying

boat ramp

After Memorial Day, the ramps get busy, which means people are eager to go boating rather than sit at home trying to sell a boat that should have sold months ago. Photo by Brett Becker.

I have a friend in western Pennsylvania who regularly posts pictures on Facebook. This year, she was updating with pictures of snow on the ground until early May. Those photos were interspersed with comments about 70-degree weather and how eager she was to go boating.

But she couldn’t, of course. She was too afraid it would snow the next day.

By Memorial Day the snow was gone, the good weather was here to to stay, and it was time to launch boats and stay in them as much as possible. For boaters in northern and temperate climes, the boating season is always too short.

Active boating season also can mean that the people who haven’t sold their boats are probably itching for a deal. Here’s why.

In many instances, if you follow a given listing on BoatTrader.com, you can see a trajectory in pricing. During the winter months early in the year, say, January through March, the prices are what I would call optimistic. Then around March or so, they come down to reality. By April or May, depending on when winter lets go, prices come down again.

The phenomenon is as predictable as boat shows in winter, which coincidentally enough, are the cause. People buy new boats at shows in winter and pick them up as boating season begins, a time by which they hope to have sold their old boats. This applies to people who sell their older model as opposed to trading it in. When it doesn’t sell, and they’re looking to find a place to store two boats, they get a bit more aggressive in trying to sell their old boat.

For private sellers, that means only one thing. Price drops. There is no marketing budget to expand or social media campaign to help them sell it. They drop the price, always, and that’s good for buyers. That’s you.

I haven’t seen this theory at work in boats offered by dealers, so it’s important to understand who the seller is before attempting to score a low-ball deal. So, if you can see that it’s a private seller and it’s past Memorial Day, it may indeed be time to go boating.

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