I thought it would be a fun exercise to think about the future of boat buying. We’re all prone to navel-gazing from time to time, so let’s focus on what the future will be like for boat buyers and sellers.
First, I think it will be better, in terms of product. Today’s new boats are better than they have ever been. They’re packed with more features because the ability of the customer to provide feedback is higher than ever, and that feedback does make its way into the final product. So, in five years, boats are going be even better, right? That means in 10 years, the used market is going to be rife with terrific, feature-laden used models.
True, but the same caveats will apply. Has it been cared for? Have the mechanicals been maintained? How was it used? And so forth.
In terms of buying and shopping, technology is going to lead the way. Imagine a marine surveyor being able to walk you through his survey by video conference call. Imagine yourself sitting at home being able to see what the surveyor sees in real time on a boat that’s a thousand miles away. Then, when he’s finished with his inspection, he can send all the information right to your phone. In fact we have the basic capability to do that right now, using just a cell phone and a high-speed connection. In 10 years, who knows? We might be able to get three-dimensional holographic images of the boat, with callouts for problem areas. There might even be an app that lets you inspect for water intrusion in a transom.
Today, Boat Trader has an app that let’s you browse or search for boats by type, price range, and model year, and that will pinpoint listings on a map according to zip code of the smartphone’s location. And there are a lot of other helpful marine apps out there, for navigation, weather,and fishing. But there will even more and even better ones down the road.
What do you think the future of boat buying holds? Let’s hear your ideas in the comments section. The future we bring about is better than the one we wait for.