Should You Rent or Buy a Used Boat for Your Next Fishing Trip?

My uncle is an avid fisherman, and with a long vacation approaching, he’s looking forward to spending a fair amount of time on the lake. However, since he tends to spend days waiting for the fish to bite, he usually racks up a rather hefty boat-rental fee. Despite encouragement from friends and family, he refused to look into purchasing a boat, stating that boat ownership is a luxury only the affluent can afford. When I suggested a used boat, Uncle Max wasn’t convinced.

Fishing Trip

What’s Wrong With Used?

Asking Uncle Max to defend his position on anything, from his love for the 49ers to his insistence that it was my father, and not him, who broke their mom’s favorite vase 40 years ago, is like talking to a wall. A wall that’s been standing for 55 years, through two wars.So when asked why he refused to ever consider buying a used boat, he said that he wasn’t sure used boats were worth the risk.

The Sun Sentinel says new boats depreciate in value anywhere from five to 10 percent in the first year. Buying used boats makes more sense if you want to protect your investment because the price is likely to prove stable after the boat is a few years old, and when it’s refurbished, the value may even increase. The key is looking for a quality seller, a place that frequently refurbishes boats, so you know you’re getting a boat that’s in good condition. Even so, Max wasn’t ready to buy used until he could see boats for sale in his price range that he was sure weren’t going to fall apart the moment they hit the water.

Buying From a Charity

My father and I found the ideal place from which to buy a used boat: organizationsthat  processdonated boats with proceeds benefitting charity. We sat down with Uncle Max and told him that we found an organizationtakes boats as donations, which means they can sell the boats at the absolute minimum value. In the flipping process, this organization (and similar donation organizations) will evaluate the condition of each boat and refurbish ones that aren’t seaworthy. Our family has always been rather active in our community, so my father and I (and Uncle Max, after some cajoling) appreciated that the organization we found donates its proceeds to charities.

The boats for sale weren’t old clunkers by any means. Some people buy boats on impulse, take them out a few times and then get bored with them. Boaters like Uncle Max actually get proper use out of their boats, so it makes sense to own them, but a lot of people buy boats thinking they’ll use them when they rarely do. These are the boats you’ll find fixed up and ready for sale through charity.

Owning Is Better in the Long Run

In my uncle’s case, owning simply made sense and would save him money and hassle in the long run. Dad pointed out:

  • The costs of renting a boat every day most days of the week, like Uncle Max does, easily adds up to his total investment in a used boat after only a couple of months.
  • Renting space at the dock was more affordable than Max thought.
  • Even boating insurance cost less than Max figured.
  • In other words, the boat pays for itself after just three months, even including insurance and rental fees.

Finally, Max was sold. My uncle will be the first to admit he was wrong for putting off buying a boat for so long. He can’t imagine going back to renting now. I’ve even overheard him trying to convince a few of his friends — friends who are constantly calling him up to borrow his new boat — to follow suit. After all, the money goes to charity, and a used boat is a better investment than a new one. Just don’t count on Uncle Max to admit he didn’t come up with this reasoning himself.

About the Author:Travis Powell is an outdoor living enthusiast. He recommends Boat Angel for those looking for unbeatable deals on used boats.