What to Look for in a Boat Warranty

A solid boat warranty can mean the difference between making boat ownership a hassle or a joy.
Sea Ray 400 Sundancer 2016_6
Courtesy Sea Ray Boats

When buying a boat, boaters often neglect to check out the manufacturer’s warranty. A good warranty from a reputable builder can help determine the quality of relationship you’ll have on the dealer level, should something go wrong. It can be the key difference between making boat ownership a hassle or a joy.

So look close at boat warranties. The choice between two boats of equal quality may come down to the better warranty. Also, be sure to get a dealer to provide your boat’s warranty information in writing before you write the check. Here’s what to look for in a boat manufacturer’s warranty program, based on the warranty program offered by Sea Ray boats.

What’s covered? Find out what is covered via the manufacturer and what has independent warranty coverage. Big components such as the hull and deck can have limited-lifetime coverage and many companies offer separate coverage for issues like blistering.


For Sea Ray, the Sport Boats lineup has five-year bow-to-stern component coverage. Larger boats in the lineup have three years of bow-to-stern component coverage.

What’s not covered? Some components, like the engines, will have separate warranty coverage. Parts that have their own limited warranties are specifically excluded from Sea Ray’s coverage, for instance. When components are covered separately, make sure the dealer honors the warranty. With a company like Sea Ray, which exclusively uses Mercury engines, the dealer will be able to handle both.

What has lifetime coverage? When you purchase the boat, are any parts of it covered for the duration of your ownership? A company like Sea Ray offers a Limited Lifetime Structural Hull and Deck Warranty.


Is it transferable? If you sell your boat, what parts of the warranty are transferable? If it’s within the warranty period, the original owner can transfer the remaining warranty on the boat. With Sea Ray, the Limited Lifetime Structural Hull and Deck Warranty is capped at 10 years from the date the boat was placed into service by the initial owner.

Is the warranty pro-rated? Check to see what is pro-rated in your coverage. Pro-rated means that the full amount of coverage diminishes over a set period of time until the warranty runs out. Some of that is due to normal wear and tear of the boat. With Sea Ray, the hull blister warranty is pro-rated on a five-year schedule.

How is labor covered? Does your boat’s warranty cover local labor rate on the dealership level or work off a predetermined pay rate? With Sea Ray, most items on a boat are covered by “flat rate” guidelines that indicate how much the company will reimburse a dealer for repairs. The dealer’s labor rate is established by an algorithm that takes into account the dealer shop rate and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) performance. The closer the reimbursement rate to your dealer’s actual rate, the less you will have to pay — if at all.


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