Bowrider Boat Buyer Tips Checklist – Buy Smarter

Family time on the water can be a precious time! Are you searching the Ontario boats for sale marketplace via the web for a new bowrider boat for sale in Ontario or perhaps considering a boat purchase at The Toronto Boat Show?  Confused, don’t really know what to do but want the best value for your money. What should my family be looking for in a new or used bowrider? How do I consider or determine what is the right size….horsepower, hull Shape and performance characteristics?  Then what type of hull construction materials and what about a trailer?

Welcome to the Boater’s Chat Boat Buying Tips Checklist to Buy Smarter for that new bowrider in Ontario. For this checklist we are zoned in on bowriders less that 24′ in length.  Here is a checklist of what you should consider in that next bowrider purchase… right, save money and get the best value!

The Buy Smarter Bowrider Checklist

  1. Budget: Our family needs to have established some budgetary parameters before we start seriously looking for that perfect family bowrider, pontoon boat or aluminum boat for sale in Ontario.  There are two ways to buy a bowrider…cash or finance…which? Finance could include use of a bank line or credit which will normally be at a lower interest rate than a financed bank boat loan. General loan amortization periods for boats over $15,000 and under $30,000 are 15 years or 180 payments. Part of this conversation should be new or used as well. Used boats of less than 10 years old can be bank financed through a marine dealership sale with an amortization maximum normally of 7 years. You cannot bank finance a private sale or a brokerage sale as the bank requires the additional security of a dealership involved… other words someone standing behind it.
  2. Used boats…the pitfalls! In fresh water a good quality Tier 1 bowrider can have a 20 to 25 year lifespan with proper maintenance and storage. Any boat over 10 years old or any boat used in salt water conditions is going to have some structural issues. Most boat dealers offer little or no warranty for used boats over 10 years of age for a reason . Boater’s Chats advice is to stay away completely from salt water or brackish water boats out of the United States……salt is very corrosive and can reduce life expectancies by 50%. There are used boat dealers in Ontario offering salt water used boats….assume nothing….ask and get it in writing that the boat you are considering  has never has been used in salt water! A 20/25 year old boat is at or near its life expectancy no mater how good it looks on the outside. You buy a 2 decade old boat with the understanding that they are a wallet sucking zombie with the result you will be putting repair money in this unit endlessly and you may spend more time in the service shop than on the water. Not all parts for marine engines are still available. There are problems now getting parts for engines in some cases over 15 years old. Old OMC, Cobra, Yamaha Sterndrive, Chrysler Outboards are definite problems for parts.
  3. Dealership versus Kijijiji, Auto Trader among others can be sources of boats new and used. When you buy on the side of the road or out of one of the internet sites…..what you have is what you have….no recourse and possible not even ownership. A dealer by law has obligations to the purchaser even in a bought “as is ” condition. A dealership should have inspected the boat before you bought it and borough it to minimum operating standards. Determine what level of peace of mind you need in the transaction. Many of the boats I see on internet sites are overpriced…just because it is there and not at a dealer does not make it a deal. On a private sale….HST is still due and it will be collected by Service Canada and no a reduced bill of sale is not going to work as there are value guides available for the taxation people to compare to. You the purchaser need to have three documents to get title….a proper bill of sale….a signed vessel license and a signed trailer ownership. The previous owner should have these…if they do not…it can be a nightmare getting the right documents and you may never get clear title.
  4. Horsepower: Grossly misunderstood and one of the most common mistakes boat buyers continuously make both new and used! Rule #1…There is no substitution for horsepower! Those 17 to 20 foot boats our there with 2.8 or 3.0 L stern drives are going to be sluggish on plane and poor watersports boats….stay away unless you fully understand these units. A minimum V6 sterndrive or 115 horsepower outboard will be required for family recreation in a 17 to 20′ and more for 20 to 24′ usually a 5.0L ( or new Mercruiser 4.5) or 150 HP Outboard.
  5. Construction: Know and understand the difference between Vinyl Ester, Poly Ester, Epoxy/Vinyl Ester construction process and what they mean to the quality of the bowrider. Ask about Barrier Coats, upholstery materials and stitching, protected multi density seat foams, transom and stringer materials….get past the flash and get to the meat! What size tires, what frame size, brakes and how much support?
  6. Hull Design: Hull design has a huge impact on ride quality, fuel consumption and performance! Understand that a Jet Boat will be the highest fuel hog you can purchase!
  7. Running Length: The actual length of the hull in the water not above the water. Know what to look for….is it a phantom 18′ with a 20′ top deck being sold as a 20′.
  8. Company Strength: A number of boating companies financially in a stronger position than others….some boat company’s in the market today may not survive 2016 in their present form. Financial strength of the builder will have a large impact on the quality of the build and what the actual warranty policy is. Any company in financial stress tends to cut corners.
  9. The Dealer: Reputation, years in business, dryland (marine) or located on the water( marina), local or just interested in selling boats, what products, what facilities, equipment, ownership active in the business. The product that a dealership represents and what they say about it goes to trust. For example a dealership is representing a poly ester constructed boat and telling you it is as good as a vinyl ester built product….they know better!
  10. Where are you going to buy? Buy where you boat or from a dryland dealer hours away from the cottage? A dealer who has a reputation to maintain or the side of the road.

In Boater’s Chat you will find additional posts for boat show buyer strategies and valuable construction information on fiberglass bowrider and aluminum fishing boats and pontoon boats.

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