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In the market for a new boat? Let me tell you, after purchasing a few boats in my day, there are always pitfalls that can cost serious cash to rectify. There are a few items to consider other than just the price tag, brand and features.


Be sure you check your storage facility or garage for dimensions. Itís a no brainer to check the length/width of the trailer versus the length of the garage, but what about height? Take a measurement of the tallest point on the boat (windshield or motor), and compare it to the opening on the storage facility. Be sure to add a couple inches into the clearance in case the boat is not sitting perfectly on the trailer. Iíve spent over $5,000 modifying my garage to accommodate boats.


Even if you plan to store the boat in a dry location, I suggest working a cover for the boat into your deal. The cover can cut down drag while towing, allowing for better fuel mileage. As a tournament angler, I have fished in some awful weather conditions. Having a cover will prevent the boat from becoming soaked in a rainstorm on the way to the launch and sitting on wet seats all day.

Coast Guard Compliance

Download and print the Coast Guard Vessel checklist. Have your dealer provide as many of the items required for compliance as part of your negotiation on the boat. Items like fire extinguishers, flares and other items all add to the cost of your ownership. Every owner should review the checklist before ever putting their boat in for the first time.

Extended Warranties

On high ticket items, these may not be a bad idea. Weigh the cost of the warranty versus replacement costs. Normal warranties are about 10% of purchase price. It is a crap shoot either way. If you buy it and donít use it, the money is lost. Buy it and use it, you could save big dollars. Iíve won and lost on these warranties. Read the fine print to find out exact what the extended warranty covers.

Auxiliary products

When working with your marine dealer, try to negotiate items like extra seats, marine radios, locators, battery chargers, and other miscellaneous items into your package price. The dealers are more likely to provide discounts on initial packages than post sale purchases. Timing is everything.

Like any major purchase you make, such as a home or vehicle, the price is typically negotiable. Sometimes looking beyond the price to get to a big picture will be more cost effective. Remember, the acronym for BOAT is: break out another thousand. In some cases itís break out another ten thousand. If you do not find anything to your liking on the sales floor, plan 8-10 weeks for delivery of custom orders from your boat manufacturer.

More on boating: Boating news from around the state | Browse boating photos | Share your boating photos | Build a map | We're blogging about boating

Mark Schram is an avid tournament fisherman, focusing most of his efforts on the Winnebago System in East Central Wisconsin. Mark's blog will focus on the current fishing conditions and selected topics related to the Lake Winnebago region, outdoor sports and life in general. As an angler, he ultimately strives to educate new and established fishermen on the joys of nature. Mark is the founder of, a published outdoor writer and an active member of many fishing organizations including the National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA #182).

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