You finally reached that station in life where you have to get a boat, but you want to make sure that you are buying it at the right time, to save you money.
For some, the best time to buy a boat is when you want it; maybe when your midlife crisis has hit, immediately after a divorce, or if you went out drinking with friends and decided that you were going to grab some beers and go fishing out on the bay.
All kidding aside, the best time to buy a boat depends on where you live and what you plan on doing with it.
So when is the best time to buy a boat?
If you live in a climate with harsh winters, the best time to buy a boat is toward the end of summer or early fall, when you will find the best deals for used boats. By this time of year, the current owner has enjoyed his last summer on the water with his friends and family and is willing to part with his beloved floating hole in the water, into which he has poured so much money. He is probably willing to take your lowball offer so that he can use his driveway again instead of parking on the lawn.
If, however, you live in Florida or along the Gulf Coast, you might want to wait until peak hurricane season to make that irresistible offer, and immediately get your new toy out of harm's way by trailering it someplace safe like Montana.
If you are looking to buy a sailboat to go into deep waters offshore, then again, it depends on where you are. Pretty much anywhere on the West Coast of the United States, sailors are out year round. You can't keep a passionate sailor out of a good breeze.
Along the East coast, it is seasonal, and dependent on the economy, as well. When the chips are generally down and yours are up is when you will find great deals on medium-priced vessels.
If you are in a sailor's paradise like South Florida or Hawaii, there, again, is no off-season.
The best time to buy a boat is when you find one you really love and the owner is willing to part with it for the right price.
Once you have purchased your boat
You will, as a new boat owner, become aware of the expenses involved in keeping a boat, even one you are not using. There is the dock or storage fee you have to pay at the marina year round, unless you are able to pull it out of the water to trailer it to your home. Insurance runs year round, as well, and you have to keep the registration up.
There are a couple of important rules to owning a boat: Know what you are willing to take for it if someone wants to buy it out of the blue, and by all means, from the moment you own it, put a "for sale" sign on it. It is vital to remember, too, that the two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day he buys the boat and the day the check clears when he sells it.
Having a boat can bring you many enjoyable hours on the water, allow you to catch your own fish, impress your friends and make new ones. The boating community is a tight-knit one, and the culture of those that share the passion is a unique one. When someone gets in trouble, everyone is ready to come to their aid and rescue.