Skip to main content

Show Stoppers: Five Ways to Screw Up Boat-Show Success

  • Author:
  • Updated:

If you’re headed to Miami this week to buy a boat, you know everybody and their brother has plenty of advice on how to spend your hard-earned money. We say: Why bother? All that planning and careful consideration don’t sound like fun. Just go—it will all work out for the best. Here are five ways to waste your time at a boat show:

1. Don’t do any research.

Yacht Broker: Rich Lazzara

Research? Should I wear a white lab coat? Of course, the Internet makes it easy to know what’s going to be available at the show, and even where the boats will be located. “I think it’s important to narrow down,” says Rich Lazzara of Lazzara International Yacht Sales. “Doing some homework prior to the show—Web sites like PMY and Show Management are good places to start—so you can kind of navigate to the boat you’re looking for.” Who can bother with mouse clicks? I’d rather walk in circles for hours.

2. Don’t consult with family.

Yacht Broker: Ted Robie

It’s going to be your boat. Why would you ask the people you love what they want? This would be an easy way to help make those people happy, sure. “Think about how you’re going to use your boat, how much you want to spend, all those things come into play, obviously,” says Ted Robie, a sales representative with Nordhavn. “It’s really sitting down with your family or whoever is going to share the boat with you and being real about what your plans for the boat are.” Answering the hows and whys of your boat use prior to the show would make it easier to find the right boat, if you’re into giving a lot of thought to major decisions.

3. Buy on price alone.

Have you ever seen such good deals? Buy something now—you’ve got the rest of your life to live with the purchase. “We’re still fighting our [competitors] on the price, when actually we might have a product that’s more suitable or they might have a product that’s more suitable to the customer,” says Paul Burgess, director of Sunseeker Florida. “[Customers] are looking simply at how much discount, bottom line. And that doesn’t work for anybody.”

Yacht broker: Paul Burgess

Still another way to screw up a boat show—be close-minded. If you walk in looking for a pre-owned boat and can’t find one that suits you, why would you consider a new boat? “If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, do ask about new,” Burgess says. “Because the manufacturers are still trying to keep production lines going strongly and that means that we have to be quite aggressive with our pricing.”

4. Wander around.

Boats shows don’t have a lot of distractions for guys who like boats, so I’m sure you’ll see everything you came to see if you just hit the docks and the convention center and walk around. Some brokers disagree. “The Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami Beach goes for a mile and half in length,” Lazzara says. “Just going there you could use two to three days and only see half the show, so I think planning ahead is a good thing, to locate the boats.”

5. Don’t consult a broker.

Why would you want to spend time speaking to someone who spends day after day parsing the market for pre-owned boats? The amount of time you spend reading about boats in magazines and on the Internet is surely enough. Not everyone agrees, of course. “It’s very helpful to begin a relationship with somebody you trust in the business who is local to you,” Robie says. “I think a good broker or a good dealer with a good reputation behind them can be a world of help.” Brokers are only as helpful as you let them be. As Robie noted: “It becomes not so much a selling job as almost a counselling job is how I like to look at it.”

By Jason Y. Wood