Boat and sport shows are in high gear typically from January through March, with tens of thousands of people attending. These are the people who are most knowledgeable about buying a new boat; because they are doing their home work.
I recently came accross a unique online service from the TRACKER® boat brand. TRACKER has an online boat sales department ready to answer your questions about the boat you want or they will assist you in finding the perfect TRACKER brand boat. A handy service if you can't get to a boat show to talk to the boat company staff.
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I found a boat show near where I live. It was a short road trip to attended the St. Louis Boat and Sports Show, held in the Edwards Jones Dome. Dozens of boat dealers displayed their wares and had their most experienced personnel on hand to field questions from the boat buying public.
I listened in on a few conversations and determined that there are some key factors to consider when attempting to purchase a boat.
Manage your dreams. All of us are prone to dreaming about having something much bigger or better than we can easily afford. Attending a sports show helps to face reality. Wise boat buyers compare various brands of boats and rank pricing according to their desires and financial capabilities. Most people attend shows with a good idea of how much they want to spend. They then shop for the boat that meets their needs. Having ideas about down payments and desired monthly payments you want can ease the pain as well. Otherwise, going unprepared can lead to unrealistic dreaming and eventually frustration.
1. Talk to experienced boat owners. Once you decide on which boat you want to purchase, take some time to visit with people who own that same boat. They will gladly tell you about the pros and cons of owning a particular boat. Ask them about must-have features for the boat. Also, don't forget to ask about their "it would be nice to have features" they wish they had included.
2. Remember the 80/20 rule. It is true that most of us use our boats fro more than one activity. Perhaps you will use your boat for fishing 80 percent of the time and hauling the kids around 20 percent of the time. Or, maybe those figures are vice-versa. Be sure to consider all factors before making a decision. Everyone will be happy.
3. Think about the future. Boats are a big investment for most people. You will want your boat to last a long time, look good in the process and stay in good shape until time to turn it. Make decisions which will support those desires. Too, make sure the boat and trailer is built to hold up if you will be traveling with it lot.
4. Remember accessories. "When buying a new boat, it is a good time to think about new accessories as well," said Doug Davis of Ranger boat dealer Cowtown, USA. "Who wants to put old, dirty life jackets in a new boat? Consider buying that tow behind tow behind tube for the kids. Budget for those items when buying a new boat and get yourself ready for the new season all at once."
Follow these few simple guidelines and your boat buying experience will be a pleasure rather than a disappointing trip. Boat dealers will appreciate your preparedness.