Boats: should you buy new or secondhand?

Just like cars there's a dilemma every time you want or need a change - do you buy new or secondhand? What are the pros and cons?


If you're planning to change your boat, you'll know that new ones are tempting because they're shiny and come with all the latest gadgets, but secondhand ones cost less.

But are there other considerations?

What do you want?

Sometimes the choice is dictated by what you want to do. If you're keen on yachting competitions or racing then a new boat will have the latest technology and be more competitive. Or are you better off spending the money upgrading the boat you know?

Alternatively you may want the look and feel of a classic boat, a yacht perhaps, or a sleek thirties speedboat? If so, then you aren't going to be buying new.

So think about exactly what you need before assessing the pros and cons.

The benefits of buying new

There's an undeniable pleasure in being the first person to use a boat. The newest gadgets and updated improvements, including the engine which will be cleaner and more economical, can be very enticing.

You'll also get a warranty, something you'll rarely get secondhand, particularly if you buy privately.

Everything can be specified to exactly meet your needs, inside and out. On the other hand, those extras and customisation may cost a lot of money, and that's on top of a high purchase price compared to secondhand.

Then perhaps the hardest thing to accept about buying new is losing a lot of that money in the first year. Just like cars, the bulk of the depreciation hits the first buyer.

The secondhand bonus

Buying used therefore has the huge benefit that you'll pay less up front and depreciation won't be so hard to stomach. If you play your cards right you could find a five or six year old boat for half the price.

On the other hand, you may not be able to get a secondhand boat financed, or the loan terms will be less favourable.

You could also be buying trouble. Make sure you get any secondhand boat surveyed before handing over the cash and check that the seller has all the right paperwork.

Take your pick

It's a tricky one; what's right for one person will be wrong for the next. The best thing to do is sit down and work through exactly what you want and what your budget is.

That should make the decision for you.

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