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Why buy a used boat?

     Used boats can be one of your smartest purchases, if you understand the difference between a used and new boat purchase. 

     The price range of a new 22' boat, motor and trailer runs from a low of about $20,000 to somewhere over $100,000 with an average selling price of about $37,000. This price range reflects boats from different manufacturers, engine power, and standard/optional equipment. Add taxes, license, maintenance, and financing expenses and that $37,000 unit looks more like this:

Negotiated New unit price,     $37,000.00
Sales taxes,                                $2,867.50
Average license/registration,       $415.00
1st year maintenance,                  $650.00**
1st year sub total,                     $40,932.50*
*( excludes: financing interest, insurance, storage/slip fees, fuel, cleaning, and/or depreciation.) **(excludes winterizing.)

Obviously, the unit price can be spread over the life of the unit but, except for sales tax, the other expenses of owning this new unit continue for the life of the unit and items such as maintenance expenses accelerate as the unit ages. So, over seven years a new unit would have an average cumulative expense of approximately $58,032.50. For an average yearly expense of $8,290.35. (excluding storage/slip fees, insurance, fuel, cleaning, and/or depreciation.) 

By comparison, purchasing a comparable 7 year old used unit often looks  like this:

Average purchase price,       $15,500.00
Sales tax                                    $1,278.75
Average license/registration       $210.00
1st year repairs/maintenance, $1,900.00**
1st year sub total,                   $19, 788.75*
*( excludes: financing interest, insurance, storage/slip fees, fuel, cleaning.) **(excludes winterizing.)

Again, the used unit price can be spread over the life of the unit but, except for sales tax, the other expenses of owning this new unit continue for the life of the unit and items such as maintenance expenses accelerate as the unit ages. So, over seven years a used unit would have an average cumulative expense of approximately $28,388.75. For an average yearly expense of $4,055.53 (excluding storage/slip fees, insurance, fuel, cleaning.) 

As you may have noticed, I included $1,900.00 for 1st year repairs/maintenance, on the used unit.  I consider this to be the expected repairs that the average used unit , in this age bracket, that has had regular maintenance over it's lifetime. 

As a word of advice here, never start using a used boat without having it completely checked over, especially if purchased from a private party. (People rarely sell a "turn key" used boat.) If you aren't extremely familiar with the mechanics and operation of the unit you are purchasing, seek professional help, before you buy. Then have the unit completely serviced before your first use. In this way, you will have a starting point for your maintenance schedule. Also, buy a service manual. You should know more about your engine than the employee from "SeaTow".

Now, you want to sell/trade your boat, after 7 years. The new unit will probably have an average sale/trade price of about $15,500.00 and the used unit will have a sale/trade price of about $7,800.00. This puts your actual cost of use at $43,032.50, for the new unit and $20,588.75 for the used unit. Spread over the seven years you enjoyed using the unit, annually, this averages out to $6,147.50 for the new unit and $2,941.25 for the used unit, 

We know that people are afraid to buy a used boat because of the chance that they will have to face the expense of a major engine failure. In a hypothetical case, the engine failed and had to be rebuilt, for a cost of $6,000.00. Then, over the seven years you enjoyed using the unit, the cost of use would rise from $2,941.25 to $3,798.39. 

It is important to note that engine failures can and do occur in boats less than seven years old. So, buying a new boat doesn't protect you from this possibility. However, a seven year old unit is more likely to experience an engine failure before the fourteenth year, than the unit which is less than seven years old.

My family and I have been boaters all our lives.  We have hundreds of stories about  the thousands of leisure hours we have spent on our boats and/or boats owned by others. We do almost all of our own general maintenance because we take pride in every boat we own. We have never been towed in due to engine failure and have actually sold boats for much more than we bought them for. Boating is more than a weekend vacation to us, it is our hobby. And we have never purchased a new boat but,  we have just as much fun as the families who buy new boats.

Care to comment? Email the author.

How does this compare to other recreational endeavors? See how the joys of boating stack up against the alternatives.

 

 

Aquarius Marine, Inc. boat repair, service, storage, and free advice.
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Aquarius Marine Inc. **
9384 Frost Mar Place
San Diego, California 92121
(858) 866-1525
fax (858) 866-1527

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