February 13, 2023

What Is the Best Time of Year to Buy a Used Boat in Southern California?


Buying Used Boats & Boat Slips in Chula Vista, CA

With the way boats significantly depreciate the moment they’re moved off the lot, buying a used boat can be an excellent investment for boaters in Southern California for several reasons. If you’re interested in buying a new or used boat, you might be wondering if there’s a time of year you can get a lower price tag on the transaction. At California Yacht Marina, we’re the experts in boating, with premier marina locations in Port Royal, Wilmington, Cabrillo, and Chula Vista, CA.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important information prospective used boat buyers should be aware of to get the best deal possible on the purchase of their vessel. Whether you’re buying new or used, you probably have several questions. If you’re looking for a safe and secure place to store your 25’ to 43’ vessel, you can conveniently keep it directly on the water at any of our marina locations. Call us today to learn more about our marinas!

Why Buy During the Off-Season?

The best time of year to buy a used boat in Southern California runs through October, November, and December (the off-season). Boat buying can take advantage of a wide range of available options and lower prices, as the off-season is when most boaters will be selling after enjoying their watercraft throughout the warmer months of the year. During fall and winter, it’s a buyer’s market. Boat dealers typically offer reductions on all boats to avoid carrying unused inventory to the next season.

Prospective used boat buyers have tons of options when it comes to the specifications they’re looking for. New boat buyers should plan far in advance of the upcoming boating season and keep in mind it takes time for accessories to be installed for your boat to be equipped to your preferences.

Buying Used Boat Models

If you’re looking for a used boat to buy in Southern California, you should keep in mind there’s usually a shortage during high-demand times. The demand for boats across the boating community is high, so it can be challenging for buyers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

If you’re interested in fixing an older boat, you’ll have more options at lower prices. However, buying an old boat or project boat depends on whether you have enough patience to complete the work and turn the vessel into something you can use enough to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Make sure you buy the boat soon enough to finish your work and get it out on the water when the weather warms up.

Seasonal Versus Year-Round Markets

In seasonal boating regions like Southern California, spring and early summer are usually the high seasons for boat sales. However, that doesn’t always mean it’s the best time to buy. Some dealers will cover winter storage costs if you’re buying a used boat in the fall. As soon as spring hits, you can get your boat in the water and enjoy the first boating weekends of the season.

If you live in a place with a transient population like Florida, the market tends to improve in the fall and winter when people travel south to escape the cold weather. When spring comes, some boaters decide to sell rather than pay for storage for the next six months. Boat buyers can sometimes find great deals in April, especially when buying lightly used boats.

Winter – Boat Showing Season

Some people think winter is the best time to buy a boat because of all the boat shows happening across the country and the globe. Boat show season usually starts in January and runs through March, and you can often find great deals on boats at these events. Dealers coming from warmer climates are trying to sell their year-end inventory, so there’s usually a chance to get a great deal, even if there’s no boating off-season.

What Is the Worst Time to Buy a Used Boat?

The warmest months of the year are the worst to buy a used boat if you’re looking to get a great deal. Everyone wants to get their boat on the water as soon as the weather warms up so sellers know they have the upper hand in the transaction. With so many prospective buyers looking for a great deal and sellers wanting the best price for their prized boat, you can see why it isn’t easy to negotiate a reasonable price during the peak summer months. Waiting until the off-season to buy will help you find the best possible deal.

Keeping Calm During the Buying Process

You might miss some important considerations if you rush into the used boat buying process. We know the buying process can be stressful, and we want to help you feel comfortable with your purchase. Follow these tips to help ensure the buying process goes smoothly and is stress-free:

  • Don’t rush into the buying process. Give yourself a lot of time to understand what you’re looking for and for what price.
  • Research the type of boat you want to help you during negotiations.
  • More planning in advance gives you more confidence when it’s time to sign the dotted line.

Used Boat Storage at California Yacht Marina

Simply put, fall is the best time to buy a used boat because boat owners typically want to avoid winter boat storage costs and other off-season expenses. However, winter and spring are also ideal times to purchase a used boat. Whether you have a used or new boat, California Yacht Marina has the space for your vessel. If you are looking for premier marina boat slips in Port Royal, Wilmington, Chula Vista, or Cabrillo, CA, you have found them here at our marinas. Contact our team today to learn more about our state-of-the-art Southern California marinas!