Much of what we do at Boating revolves around helping you make better boat buying decisions. Whether it’s boat tests that you can use to compare models, or feature articles detailing the nuances of construction, propulsion or marine accessories, we want to help make you a confident and informed boat owner and boat buyer. It’s a role we take seriously, and one of the things we are proponents of is using a boat show to compare the two or three boats on your short list, going from one to the other and back again.
But while you’re comparing boats, don’t forget to compare boat dealers. The dealer can make –or break–your boat buying and boat owning experience.
Some points of comparison are relatively easy to suss. For instance, if you are partial to an engine make, a dealer that services that engine might rank higher than another dealer–and we might advise selecting the boat based upon some local ability to get the mechanical stuff serviced by factory-trained personnel. Other factors, such as customer service, the dealer’s financial health, commitment to the brand of boat you’d like to purchase, and more, can be harder to determine.
If the choice is between the “best” boat and the “lesser” dealer and the “best” dealer and the “lesser” boat, we almost always recommend boaters choose to go with the “better” dealer.
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Takeaway There are a reported 4,400 boat dealerships in the United States.