Assess Your Boating Situation: Buy, Sell, or Upgrade?

Autumn can be bittersweet for boaters. The leaves are turning colors and some of us are getting in those last few cruises before we have to put the boat away for the winter. For others, it might be time to sell. It happens at this time of year — a time of transition. Maybe you were so busy that you only got out on the boat a couple of times, and there’s no sign of things letting up. Maybe your life circumstances have changed and you need to retrieve cash from your investment. So you put the boat up for sale.

Fall is often transition time for boaters. Some are shopping for boats to match their changing lifestyle.

Fall is often transition time for boaters. Some are shopping for boats to match their changing lifestyle.

On the sweet side, maybe you’re selling because you’re excited about trading up to a better boat for you and your family — and this cooling weather leads straight to boat show season! (Yes, the boating industry knows exactly when to ramp up the shows to take advantage of boaters’ changeover urges.)

Whether you’re selling, buying, or doing a bit of both, it’s easy to let emotion cloud your judgment. So if you’ve got that itch to make a change or two, examine all the angles.

There's nothing like shiny new vistas at a fall or winter boat show to excite the imagination.

There’s nothing like shiny new vistas at a fall or winter boat show to excite the imagination.

Take stock of your current boat. Does it do what you and your family need it to do? Is it reliable? Are you still having fun with it?  We all know how easy it can be to get drawn into the idea of a new boat, and for most of us it doesn’t take much. Realistically, if your boat does the trick, keep it. Winterize it properly. Put it away and count the days till next season.

If your current boat isn’t cutting it any more, you’ll need to figure out a few things. If you’ve outgrown the boat or you now have interests or hobbies you can’t  pursue on your current boat, it might be time to offload it and get something new. For example, let’s say your kids grew up tubing and doing some basic wakeboarding, but are now old enough and interested enough to consider more advanced watersports. Depending on the level of their interest and your own budget, you might be able to upgrade with a bigger outboard — or go to the next step and  replace your runabout with a full-on tow boat. If you do decide to sell your current boat, be sure your price is comparable to other similar models on the market, and when you start shopping for the new one, remember that patience will reward you.

For a lot of boaters, repowering a boat to meet new family needs is all that's necessary to cool the fever.

For a lot of boaters, repowering a boat to meet new family needs is all that’s necessary to cool the fever.

If the boat still does what you need it to do, but there’s excess play in the steering, or an exhaust leak, or that the bilge always seems to have water in it, a little wrench-time over the winter can often renew the pride and happiness you felt when you first got the boat.  Maybe it won’t be won’t be quite as good as new when you’re done, but it will be closer, and if the boat is paid for it will still be paid for. There’s a lot of value in that, too!

 

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