For the Toronto Boat Show or in season boat purchasing we continue our discussion of recommended retail boat purchasing rules for bowrider boats, pontoon boats or fishing boats. Part One laid out the first 3 major rules of boat buying…..Horsepower, Model Length and Running Surface. The Boater’s Chat Boat Buyers Rule Book continues with the next three (3) important rules to consider on your next boat purchase.
Boat Buyers Guide….Rules of The Game
4. Boat Beam is a key component to boat stability plus can positively affect fuel consumption. A wider beam will provide superior satisfaction with your purchase through providing a more stable platform. The danger here lies in manufacturer deception of just what is the beam. On all boats the listed beam is at the widest part of the boat normally at the base of the windshield going from right to left. Consider this fact…builder cost is a direct function of the actual pounds of fiberglass and supporting structures utilized during the manufacturing process. Stand at the stern of any boat and determine to what degree or amount the hull tapers from the base of the windshield inwards to the bottom edge of the hull. Why is this important…the narrower the hull at the waterline the more rock left right in hull performance underway plus the more the hull will dip downward at the outer edge when stepping into it. Narrow beam boats usually have increased on plane times resulting in more fuel consumed. Stingray presently builds as an example some of the narrower bowriders. With regards to pontoon boats most are now 8’6″ of consistent beam. There is a major pontoon builder in Quebec I have noted when I see some of their models that when pontoons widen to 8’6″ did not widen out the pontoons to match so that the deck extends out past the pontoons….not good for balance or performance.
5. Boat weight can vary dramatically among models of the same actual size. A lighter boat may save you fuel but the price you pay is in a substantial harsher ride quality and as it’s less total weight was achieved through a reduction in pounds of structure. All the major boat builders have access to the same boat construction materials such a fiberglass components, windshields, upholstery and canvas at essentially the same price. There are two standard construction methods when it comes to boat hull lay up….vinyl ester and polyester. Vinyl ester is the superior method and both methods will be discussed as a separate topic. The importance of boat weight also applies to pontoons and fishing boats. There is a third method of lay up called VEC utilized exclusively by Larson which we will discuss later in Boater’s Chat.
6. All boats are not equal when it comes to construction quality and it follows that a lower priced boat may be so priced due to building materials chosen by the builder. In the marketplace consumers perceive essentially no difference between any of the car companies when it comes to the sheet metal component and they are probably right with the exception of some now using aluminum in body panels. In boats that hull colour is not all the same…hundreds of choices…nor is the scheduled hull layup for thickness and types of materials utilized. The difference in cost to the boat builder is significant between various components in all areas including windshields, upholstery, fiberglass, aluminum. wood panel, carpet and canvas. This in itself is a long topic of conversation. I see couples running up and down the isles at the Toronto Boat Show each year looking for the cheapest boat and couples choosing to buy overpriced undervalued boats as well. Too much emotion and too much valet gazing in boat purchasing. Forget about the boat builders web site for the most part as their is only marketing spin and very little of substance. Most salespersons at The Toronto Boat Show or even for that matter at a dealership cannot tell you much of anything on construction as they do not have the background or training.
Now that we have the rules or guidelines lets take a deeper look into what they mean in your purchase. Following is a separate section on pontoon and fishing boats and how these rules and aluminum traits should be applied. I have displayed boats at The Toronto Boat show for 29 years and 2016 will be my 30th. I have spent one year of my life at this show alone. There is a huge amount of research out there done on why people buy, what they buy and how to influence that decision. Price is rated as the number 7 reason out of 10. For some time I have not believed this and have stated on numerous occasions that price is number one. The entire North American marketplace is set up this way and we are constantly bombarded with sales and we sell for less! Paying less for the same exact item is great everyone seeks…the thrill of the hunt… to do that. The question is always is it “Less for Less” or “More for Less” or finally “The Same for Less”. Not all white boats are created equal!