How To Make The Best Use Of Your Time At A Boat Show

Save Time and Get the Best Information At A Boat Show

buying a boat at a boat show takes preparation timeBoat shows can be a lot of fun, but if you are moving your dream of boat ownership into the realm of reality, the information overload and dizzying array of choices can make a boat show overwhelming. Boat manufacturers, charter management companies, boating magazines, seminar leaders, and show organizers all work extremely hard to make boat shows a perfect experience for all types of boat buyers and looky-loo visitors alike. As you become a serious buyer, it is important you hone in on what your job at hand is and leave the entertainment to later in the day…or perhaps another show. But as distracting as they can be, boat shows are the best way to see, feel, and touch all your options and get expert information. So if you are in the market to buy a boat, you must attend one or more boat shows.

Most of our catamaran buyers have spent years attending boat shows each time inching closer to having narrowing down the list, setting up test sails, and finally negotiating to own their dream boat. The boat show is part and parcel to this process and the best place to see all the products in one place for comparison.

Before You Go the the Boat Show

As in most things in life, preparation is crucial to getting the most enjoyment and best information. Before you even buy your tickets to the show, use the internet to get as much information as you can about the boat or any other products of interest. Information is power and knowing what you want or do not want going in, will put you in a better position to get the right information or make the right purchasing choice. When you know before you go, you know the right questions to ask, you know what a lot of the answer should be (can help you with trusting on bigger purchases like a boat), and you will know what the fair price is.

If you are buying a boat in the near future, you want to narrow your choices down to a short list. Take a look at the boat show map to identify where and if your boats are being exhibited. It is a good idea to print it off and mark it so you can plan the order that you want to visit in. Of course, if this is one of the first boat shows, you will want to look at a lot of options, but once you become a serious buyer, go to the boat show armed with lots of details on the few options you are deciding among.

In addition to the type of boat you want, you will want to be armed with information and resources about how you will pay for the boat. If you are dreaming of a charter yacht, then learn all you can before hand about charter management program options. Here are some resources below and, of course, you can call us for a no-obligation chat about what is right for you:

Also, read about the boat show you are attending and follow them on social media to get the latest on events, seminars, etc. You may find the product you are looking at will have a special deal or event where you can learn more. For example, we often present seminars about yacht ownership programs or liveaboard lifestyle, but most often you have to register in advance. So at least a month out, start following what is going to be happening at the boat show.

Tips for Planning the Best Use of Your Time at a Boat Show

  • Know how to get to the boat show and what the best transportation and parking options are.
  • Know the exact locations of the boats that you want to look at.
  • Arrange tickets to be left for you at “will -call”. Your broker or salesperson can help you with this to avoid standing in long lines.
  • Schedule an appointment with your salesperson for a private walk-through.
  • Do pre-show homework on the boats on your short list having a list of questions and things you want to check out
  • Familiarize yourself with the prices and options of the boats you’re interested in.
  • Make a list of questions to record about the boats that will have the features and qualities you want.
  • Learn about the basics of construction, design, engines, sails and electronics so you know what the salesperson points out as attributes of that specific boat.
  • Arrange for a sea trial for the boat you are leaning towards, if possible.

At the Boat Show

Take your time and visit each boat under consideration, sitting in each area imagining using the space. Talk with your family or friends who are with you to gain different perspectives on the form and function of each boat. Inspect each boat in person, “trying the boat on for size”, so to speak. Ask questions and take notes that will help you narrow down the pros and cons of each boat for you to make an informed decision.

Deals are often very enticing at the boat show. So if you have done your homework and know what you want and need, then you will be able to make a great deal for yourself.

If you plan to put your boat into charter, find a knowledgeable charter yacht sales representative to guide you through the process of choosing the right program for you. The representative can help you consider areas you may not have considered like an exit strategy or tax advantage differences among programs. And the charter yacht broker, at no cost to you, will negotiate unemotionally on your behalf. As representatives of buyers, boat builders, charter companies, and as owners ourselves, we help buyers like you identify quality boats and understand what ownership programs will suit their needs.

Tips for Day of a Boat Show

  • Attend on a weekday to avoid the the throngs of weekend entertainment seekers. Traffic on the boats are lighter which gives you a better feel of the boat and time with salespeople to ask questions.
  • Attend on the first day or last day if you are ready to negotiate as boat company decision-makers are more readily available to talk and make a deal during these quieter days.
  • Be prepared with a list of people’s names if you have talked to boat company representatives before.
  • Take pen and paper and be prepared to keep up with brochures and business cards.
  • Write down everything…impressions, facts, figures, names, phone numbers, etc.

Remember to have fun and hopefully you will find your dream boat at the same time!

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