When the weather starts to warm and more and more people start taking their boats out of dry dock and back to the marina, such sights can entice others to want to buy a boat. After all, the idea of sailing under the sun on the water with friends and family is something everyone can appreciate. However, sailing season might not be the ideal time to buy a boat if you’re interested in getting the best deal.

Actually, sailing’s offseason is oftentimes the best time to buy a boat. Many boat retailers look to liquefy their inventories in early fall. At this point you may be able to negotiate a very good deal on the previous model year since the dealerships will be making room for the next year’s models. Coming equipped with a list of questions and armed with the knowledge of the average cost of the boat you want to buy can help you determine if the quoted prices are discounted.

Another ideal time to go boat shopping is during the boat show season. Boat manufacturers tend to do a series of shows at convention centers across the country. The retailers often come up with a discounted price and other incentives on the purchase of a boat because they know they’ll be appealing to the thousands of people who attend the show. These prices may be even lower than the price offered for the same model just a few days later in the showroom.

Even if you are not in the immediate market for a boat, attending a boat show can be a good source of information and practice for buying one down the road. It will also enable you to see a great number of different styles and manufacturers of boats all under one roof. Most of the time you are able to board the boat and look at all the features offered.

Here are some other tips when deciding whether or not to buy a boat.

• Be sure to go out boating with friends or with a family member who owns a boat and determine whether this is really a recreational activity you want to invest in.

• Take into consideration all of the expenses involved in boating, including insurance, trailering, docking, marina fees, fuel, safety gear, tech items, and so on. Some have said that buying a boat is like pouring money into the water. Know what you are getting into before signing on the dotted line.

• Shop around for a good boat dealer. You want someone with whom you feel comfortable and not a dealer who is just pressuring you to buy.

• Struggling dealerships may offer “must buy now” offers to try to get rid of boats that are not selling. Choose the boat that works for you and not the one with the smallest price tag.

• Due to the large expense of buying a boat, many choose to go partners on the purchase. Spell out a contract that explains when and how you will have your share of the vessel before entering into a joint purchase. This way you remain friends instead of fighting over usage, cleaning and the cost of repairs.

Boating can be a rewarding recreational activity. Purchase a boat after doing your research and look around for the best deal.

— Metro Creative