Buying a New or Used Boat.

Boat Buying Guide: Buying a New or Used Boat?

Written by Charles Plueddeman
August 2, 2022

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Boatsetter Team

So you’re looking to buy a boat but don’t know if you should buy a brand new boat or a pre-owned boat. A decision as big as this one deserves a well-thought-out pros and cons list for each approach. Luckily for you, we have one here created by our team of boating experts. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of buying a new boat versus a used boat.

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Buying a Used Boat


  • Lower cost
  • Availability


  • Scratches
  • Short warranty

Boats for Sale.

Lower cost

Depending on the boat, buying a pre-owned boat can be significantly more affordable. Although, you may find an excellent pre-owned boat at a high price. Still, you’ll save considerably on the up-front costs than buying a new boat.

You won’t be paying dealer mark-up and sales commission if you buy from a private party. Also, you’ll pay a lower sales tax and may save on insuring a less-valuable boat.

High availability

A pre-owned boat, whether from a dealer or a private party, is typically available as soon as you order it. If you order a used boat, you can get on the water and start enjoying it sooner.

Scratches may vary

When you buy a pre-owned boat, you should keep in mind it’s already been used. The average American boat owner uses their boats only 12 -14 days throughout the year, so if you’re one of the lucky ones, you may land yourself a used boat with little to no scratches. But just know, scratches may vary when you buy preowned.

Short warranty

Most pre-owned boats have no or very limited warranty coverage. Still, if you buy from a private party and they offer you a short warranty, you’re still in buyer beware territory.

The extended warranty on some marine engines may be transferable, so check on that possibility. Having a marine technician inspect the engine and drive systems is always a good idea. A professional marine survey is always a good investment for a larger boat.

Pro tip when buying a used boat: Commission a marine survey before closing the purchase. Marine surveyors see what you can’t and look where you won’t. Also, ask for any maintenance records.

Buying a New Boat


  • Zero scratches
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Flexible financing
  • Quality care
  • Availability


  • Limited availability

Boat for Sale.

Zero scratches

You are writing the history of a new boat. As its first (and hopefully only) owner, you are writing this boat’s history.

You’ll know how it was serviced and used! The story behind a pre-owned boat may be a mystery, sometimes a thriller. Buying a new boat might save you from a storm you didn’t know was coming.

Lifetime warranty

Most new boats have a lifetime hull structure warranty which may be transferable to the second owner, and three to five years on components. New marine engines have a three to seven-year warranty with extended plans available.

Learn how to properly christen a new boat

Flexible financing

You can finance a new boat and often its accessories either through a service offered by the dealer or through your bank or lender. Rarely do pre-owned boats have this luxury.

Quality care

You establish a relationship with the dealer and the boat brand when you buy a new boat. Dealers are inclined to take care of their new-boat clients before they service the boat of a walk-in customer.

At the time of purchase, the dealer may also offer a service package that can include winterization and off-season storage.

Limited availability

Due to supply chain issues and the boom in boating popularity, brand new boats are rare to snag. If you order a new boat, prepare to wait several months for it to arrive. Some have waited as long as six months!

After you buy your boat, make sure to pour yourself a cold one and pat yourself on the back. You did it! You may want to look at the first-time boat owner checklist before hitting the water. Come back to us when it arrives to list your boat with Boatsetter and start making an average of $20,000 yearly off of it!

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