There’s a fundamental difference in the way boaters and boat buyers—those currently in the market—think about boats, and it came up in a conversation I had recently with Scott Helker at Waterline Boats in Seattle.
“I think most people buy boats with the intent of having them for a long time,” Helker says. “But the reality is, under most circumstances, they actually don’t—it’s maybe four or five years, and then they’re either doing something altogether different, or they’re moving to a different boat.” But it’s not just a difference between boat buyers and boat owners, geographical differences also play a role. “In my opinion, Pacific Northwest people don’t quite have that ‘great loop’ mentality,” Helker says. “Out here they don’t say, ‘I’m going to do the great loop, and then I’m going to move on.’ The Northwest is more about cruising as a matter of lifestyle.” Helker cautions that this is a generalization and is by no means true for every boater across the board. “But I do think Northwesterners tend to be more lifestyle driven,” he says. “Probably because cruising is year-round here and boats stay in the water year-round, and year-round cruising is viable and enjoyable. Inherently this allows boating to be a lifestyle choice, rather than a seasonal recreational choice.” Give some consideration to how and when you will want to use your boat, and for how long. And when you find a broker who understands what you’re after, you’ll have a better experience.