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Should you buy a new or second hand boat?

Should you buy a new or second hand boat?

So you’re hooked on the boating lifestyle and you've decided to get a boat of your own. But do you buy new or second hand?

For some, buying new is a must and for others good, quality, second hand, represents value and prudence.

If you're not sure which way to go, we look at the pros and cons for both, that you need to know about, before making a purchase.


Buying new gives you more choice. And a lot of it.

You get to choose manufacturers, design, style, features and optional extras.

You also get to choose the colour and finish, plus it’s factory polished. And let's face it, most of us love to have new.

Buying new also means you get the latest technology and a warranty, which gives peace of mind; and you know that there's no hidden damage or issues that you have to worry about.

Best of all, everything works ‘straight out of the box’ and you can cast off and you’re good to go.


On the downside, buying new means you are going to pay top dollar, face the likliehood of a steep depreciation of value as soon as you launch, plus your boat insurance may be higher. 

There's also the anxiety of sailing a brand new vessel with the fear of marking your shiny new toy.

And unless you’re buying a boat in stock from a dealer you may have to wait for it to be built, shipped and delivered, which means you can’t have it straight away. Can you wait?


A second hand boat can mean a good deal if you shop around.

Second hand prices can make the difference between having a boat or dreaming about having a boat.

Often the previous owner will throw in added extras, for example; ropes, lifejackets, marine radio and safety gear, which can mean big savings.

Wear and tear

But second hand also means used. 

Faded and torn upholstery, chips, scratches, dated technology and general signs of wear and tear might also be part of the more affordable price.

Worse, there may be mechanical and structural damage that's hidden.

Tips for buying second hand

Steven Arenson, owner of Sydney Powerboat Centre has some valuable tips on buying a pre-loved vessel.

“Similar to buying a car there are always people who will only buy new no matter what.

They love the shiny new look and the unmistakable smell of new.

But there are some great opportunities to pick up second hand boats in excellent condition but you need to do your homework.

Boats around 2-3 years old that haven’t been used much and are still under warranty represent good buying.

You just need to know what you are purchasing.

Check that the boat has a solid service history and get a pre-purchase check and engine inspection by a mechanic or marine surveyor as repairs can be quite expensive.

A thorough check of paintwork can reveal cracks and repairs that might be hiding.

If you buy through a dealer you’ll get the security of an extended warranty but buyer beware if buying privately because no matter what problem there is there is no comeback.

"Some dealers will sell extended warranties if you can get the boat to them for a thorough inspection," he says.

Steven recommends before you buy from a private seller you should check that there are no existing security interests on it by searching the Australian Government Personal Property Securities Register or PPSR.

Protect your investment

When you've found your new pride and joy, remember to get the appropriate Boat Insurance cover so you can protect your investment against collision, crash, accidental damage and a host of other misfortunes that can happen while you're on or out of the water.

Once that's done you can relax, knowing that new or second-hand your boat is covered.



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