9 Ways to Be a Smart Online Boat Shopper

Online boat shopping has never been easier, but it definitely comes with its own set of challenges.  

With the wrong information or a less-than-trustworthy seller, you could spend too much money, make an unwise purchase decision, or end up with no boat at all. But don’t let that deter you from taking advantage of the convenience and potential savings online boat shopping offers. By following our advice on being a savvy online boat shopper, you can confidently navigate your next buy.  Keep reading for nine ways to be a smart online boat shopper.


Take the time to research.

The first step to being a safe and smart online boat shopper is doing your research.  

This means taking the time to learn about the different types of boats available and the various features each boat offers. You should also research the other brands of boats and find out which ones have a good reputation for quality and safety. Once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, you can start searching for boats online. When you narrow your search to a few boats, ensure you know each boats’ market value. Be cautious of any boat priced significantly below market value. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Always follow your gut and maintain a healthy skepticism when making an online purchase.  


Know your budget

Before you start shopping, you must know your budget.     

There are a variety of boats available at different price points, so it’s essential to have a clear idea of how much you can afford. This will help you to narrow down your options and find the perfect boat that meets your needs and budget.  

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When working on a budget, take advantage of our boat loan calculator tool. It is a quick resource to help you assess your target price range before shopping.

Ask for photos and video tours.

When dealing with an online seller, it’s essential to ask for plenty of photos.   

You should also ask for a video tour of the boat to better understand its condition. If the seller is unwilling to provide photos or videos, it’s best to move on.  


Ask a lot of questions.

When you find a boat that piques your interest, be sure to ask a lot of questions.   

This includes questions about the boat itself, as well as questions about the seller. You should never feel pressured into buying a boat before you are ready, so if the seller pushes you too hard, don’t hesitate to walk away.  


Check out the seller.

In addition to finding out about the boat, take some time to check out the seller.   

Make sure that they have a good reputation and that they’re selling boats in good condition. You can also ask if anyone has had any experience with the seller. Verify their physical address and phone number before sending any payments. Zip codes, area codes, and addresses need to correlate. Pick up the phone and chat with them to ensure you get a good feeling. Don’t rely on electronic communications; if they constantly avoid talking on the phone, it may be a red flag.   


Get a marine survey.

Before making a final decision on a boat, have it surveyed by a professional.   

This will help ensure that there are no hidden problems and that it meets all safety standards. Remember that this doesn’t guarantee that all defects will be found, but not attempting to find these issues early on could cost you more money in the long run.  


Get marine insurance quotes.

Once you have found the perfect boat, it’s time to research and compare insurance quotes.  

Insuring your boat will protect you financially if something happens to it while you are using it. Start by exploring the marine insurance options that Boats for Sale has to offer. Our team of experts will sift through all the carriers and plans to customize the best option to protect your boat at a price point you’re comfortable with. Multiple quotes from different insurers will help you find the best coverage at the most affordable price.  

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With the right strategies you can approach your boat search and purchase with confidence and ensure you get the best deal on your investment.

Close the deal and enjoy your new boat!

Once you’ve negotiated a fair price on your new boat and followed the protocol for a secure purchase, it’s time to close the deal and enjoy it!   

Be sure to read over all the paperwork carefully before signing anything, and ensure everything is in order. Once everything is finalized, all that’s left to do is enjoy your new boat!  


Other important online boat shopping dos and don’ts.

  • DON’T send personal or financial information via email. This includes social security, credit card, and checking account numbers.  
  • DON’T use money transfer services to pay for online purchases. Be cautious of any seller who will only accept money orders as payment. 
  • DON’T click any links to services in emails. Type the URL directly into your browser.  
  • DO make sure escrow services are reputable and valid. Use your escrow service, different from the one the seller recommends.  
  • DO get a detailed receipt.
  • DO make sure checks are genuine. Verify authenticity with the issuing bank before depositing a check. Even if your bank accepts it, that does not mean the account has sufficient funds.  
  • DO be cautious of individuals posing as agents. This is especially true when dealing with someone from outside of the country.  

Whether you are an experienced boater or just getting started on the water, shopping for boats online is now easier than ever – but there are still plenty of risks and pitfalls that come with virtual purchases. With the right strategies, you can approach your search confidently and ensure you get the best deal on your boat.