If there’s anything the people of Wisconsin know about, it’s boats and the water. With countless lakes throughout the Badger State, it’s no wonder so many people own their own watercraft. If you are in the market for a first boat or an upgrade to your existing boat, it may be time to check out the lineup at a local boat show. These shows happen all over the country through the end of winter and early spring, giving you the opportunity to peruse the latest models and innovations the boating industry has to offer. In this post, we’ll share our top tips for making the most of your boat show experience.
Choose a Boat Show
First, decide on a boat show you want to attend. Many local municipalities offer small convention center shows, but the big shows are usually located in the bigger metropolitan areas. The biggest of them all – the Milwaukee Boat Show – took place in January, and Green Bay’s WBAY Boat Show is in February. Regardless of whether you visit a big or small boat show, these are a great place to meet with fellow enthusiasts, learn from area experts, and talk with multiple dealers and manufacturer representatives under one roof. Check out a map of the show you choose in advance and find out if you can save by purchasing your tickets in before you arrive.
Choose a Boat
You may not know exactly what you want until you get to the boat show, but that doesn’t mean you cannot familiarize yourself with the different types of watercraft and their purposes. Will you primarily fish from your boat? Then a bass boat may be right for you. Will you be entertaining several passengers? Perhaps you should consider a pontoon or runabout. Are you a fan of water sports? A ski boat or wake boat could be the right choice for you.
When deciding on a boat, be sure to take into consideration your overall budget – not just now, but also as you use and maintain your watercraft. Some boats are more economically-friendly than others when accounting for fuel consumption, storage costs, and maintenance.
New vs. Used
Dealers and manufacturers at the boat show will no doubt be showcasing their shiniest and newest models – not last year’s stock. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal on a used boat at a boat show. Some vendors may used boats at a fraction of the price of a new one, but beware: the repairs and upkeep associated with older models could more than offset the savings you pocketed buying used versus new. With a new boat, you might pay more, but that price is likely to come with a warranty that covers mechanical problems and other services during the first few years of ownership.
Don’t Forget Boat Insurance
After you’ve purchased your boat, make a phone call to an independent agent here at Smith Insurance and Financial Services right away. We can help you get affordable, quality coverage for your watercraft before it ever leaves the showroom floor. Unlike homeowners insurance, which typically provides very little or no coverage for new boats, a boat insurance policy can cover:
- Bodily injury liability
- Property damage liability
- Physical damages to your boat
- Damage to special equipment
- Emergency assistance
- Passenger injuries
- And more
For more information about Wisconsin boat insurance options or to request your free quote, contact our office today.