Just a quick note of an observation of all my boating friends that were looking for a new boat and have experienced Boat Shows for the last 3 years. The price of boats are out of control. It certainly has stopped myself and my friends from buying new. If we were to buy, used is the first place to look.
Hi Don, you are absolutely correct. I occasionally get involved in research studies on behalf of the overall boating industry and I can tell you that rise of new boat prices has been a big issue and major topic of discussion. Part of this, but certainly not all, is due to new technology. For example, the need to add catalytic converters to sterndrive engines drove prices up by at least a couple thousand (and the sterndrive segment is now a fraction of its former self). And, making two stroke engines “clean” added a lot of nice consumer benefits (e.g., less smoke, much better fuel economy) but increased motor prices considerably as well.
Some manufacturers have tried to address this by offering more value-oriented products in recent years. Examples include the Bayliner Element, the Tracker “Classic” line of boats and the Sea Doo Spark. But, the number of models is limited and are often geared towards first time boat buyers. So, experienced boaters like yourself are often left without affordable options.
And, the high cost of ownership (purchase price and ongoing expenses/maintenance) has driven a growing number of boating enthusiasts to join “Boat Clubs” instead of owning there own (another topic that I recently studies for the boating industry).
Thanks again for your post. It would be interesting to hear if other boaters share your concerns.