For boaters who want to get on the water while saving money, pre-owned boats offer excellent value. Not
only do they tend to cost less than comparable new boats, but pre-owned boats also continue to save boaters
money after the initial purchase. If you’re considering buying a boat, here are the multiple ways buying a
pre-owned one could help you save money.
Saving Money on the Initial Purchase
Most boaters are well aware that they can save money on the initial purchase price of a boat by buying a
pre-owned one. Boaters don’t always realize just how much they can save up front, though. Pre-owned boats
often cost thousands of dollars less than their new counterparts, and some are tens of thousands less.
Reducing Interest Payments
If you’re financing a boat, saving money on the initial purchase price also reduces what you’ll pay in
interest over the course of your loan. Because you won’t have to borrow as much, the interest assessed will
be smaller. You may even be able to pay off the loan sooner since you’ll have smaller monthly payments, which
will further minimize the interest you pay.
Any reduction in the purchase price will result in significant savings on interest because interest is
normally assessed monthly. Even if a single month’s interest is only reduced slightly, the total amount saved
will add up over the course of your loan. On a 60-month loan, for instance, reducing interest charges by an
average of $10 per month would lead to a $600 savings.
The primary reason pre-owned boats cost less up front is that they’ve already depreciated significantly.
As a general guideline, a boat’s worth decreases by 10 percent their first year, and then each year afterward
the boat’s worth continues to decrease by 6 to 8 percent.
After just three years, a boat will likely have depreciated between 22 and 26 percent, of course, some
boats may depreciate more quickly or slowly.
By purchasing a pre-owned boat, you’ll minimize the amount of depreciation you have to absorb. The amount
you’ll save by minimizing depreciation shouldn’t be underestimated. Not only will your boat depreciate closer
to 6 percent than 10 percent annually, but the percentage will be out of a lower price.
For example, compare a new boat priced at $90,000 to the same boat three years later. When bought new, the
boat would depreciate by $9,000 in its first year. However, in just three years the boat might cost $66,600
(26 percent less) and at this point, it’d probably depreciate by between $3,996 and $5,328 in its fourth
That’s a saving of roughly $4,000 to $5,000, and that was achieved by just buying a used boat.
Lowering Insurance Rates
Because a pre-owned boat’s value is lower, you’ll likely be able to save on a boat insurance policy as
well. Like auto insurance policies, boat policies contain multiple coverages. Purchasing a pre-owned boat
policy won’t reduce your premiums on all available coverages, but it will help reduce premiums for a couple
In a boat insurance policy, comprehensive coverage and collision coverage provide protection for the
insured boat. The limit of coverage is usually set to the boat’s fair-market value, which is theoretically
what you paid for the boat. These are similar policies to the comprehensive and collision coverages included
in auto insurance policies.
Because a pre-owned bot’s fair-market value is lower than a new boat’s value, the limits for comprehensive
and collision on a pre-owned boat’s insurance policy will be lower. As a result, the insurance company won’t
have to potentially pay as much if the boat is damaged. This reduces the insurer’s risk, and they’ll pass on
lower premiums when their risk is reduced.
To find a pre-owned boat that’s a great value, look through the inventory at Petzold’s Marine Center.