What better way to get an early start on boating season than to visit one of Wisconsin’s many boat shows. There, you can browse aisles and aisles of beautiful new watercraft, talk with manufacturers, meet local dealers, and perhaps even negotiate a great price on the boat you’ve had your eye on. To make the most of your boat show experience, we’ve put together a few tips to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Choose a Boat Show
First, decide on which boat show you will be attending. There are several to choose from, with larger expositions in big cities and smaller shows in suburban areas. If you are part of a boating community or organization, find out if there will be a meetup with fellow enthusiasts at your show. We also recommend viewing the map and schedule in advance to determine if there are any seminars or specific vendors booths you want to prioritize during your visit.
Choose a Boat
If you are new to boating, you’ll quickly find there are many different options when shopping for a new watercraft. Don’t walk blindly into a boat show expecting to learn everything you need to know in one afternoon. Boat shows are usually very crowded with a lot of people competing for the attention of vendors and sales representatives. If you want serious answers to your questions, come prepared and equipped with an understanding of the different types of watercraft and which ones may be right for you.
If you plan to spend a lot of time casting lines, for example, you might prefer a bass boat with an outboard motor you can easily lift out of the water for shallow water fishing. If you plan to improve your skiing and wakeboarding skills, you’ll probably want to purchase a ski boat built for rapid acceleration and easy loading. If you want to do a little of everything but mostly entertain, consider a pontoon boat or a runabout, both of which are highly versatile and capable of seating several people.
Things to Consider
Once you know which type of boat will most closely suit your needs, you’ll need to factor in a few other specifics, such as:
- Your purchase budget
- Your ability to transport and store a large watercraft
- How much you plan to spend on upkeep, fuel, and repairs
- The amount of seating you may need
- Your confidence in piloting large boats
New vs. Used
Many people opt for a used boat for a first-time purchase in an attempt to save money on upfront costs. While this can prove economical when you account for the rate of depreciation, it could also prove very costly if the boat is in need of extensive updates, repairs, or general servicing. It is quite possible that buying a new boat with a warranty could net the same or similar overall out-of-pocket costs for the duration of ownership.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
Finally, don’t forget to pick up a boat insurance policy from your independent agent. Boat insurance should be customized to your specific vessel, as well as your individual risks. Don’t make the mistake of relying on homeowners insurance, either. Despite having some limited coverage for watercraft, home insurance policies often provide very little help for boat owners when they suffer damages or incur liability.
Here at Lillie-Couch Insurance, we can help you find a boat policy that includes coverage for:
- Physical damages to your boat
- Damages to your special equipment
- Injuries to your passengers
- Bodily injury liability
- Property damage liability
- Towing assistance
- Environmental cleanup and recover expenses
- Personal property damages
- And more
To find out how an independent agent can help you save on boat insurance, contact our office today.