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The 9 Keys to Buying a Surf Boat Here in Southeast Michigan!

A Complementary Report Offered by Aqua Sports Marine

These tips will work anytime you’re making a purchase with the expectations of a quality product and overall great experience. Like when investing in a new Surf Boat.

1. Ensure you are buying the right boat for your specific needs! It can be tempting to buy a boat because it looks great in the bright lights of the showroom. Many people get caught up in the excitement and end up taking home a boat that does not exactly fit their boating needs. Or, after the first few times on the water discover the quality is not what they were sold.


2. Always insist on a demo/test ride before final purchase! Always insist on putting down a refundable deposit with the opportunity for a demonstration on the water. Some dealers may even offer a demo without a deposit (these tend to be the best dealers as far as service goes). While on the water, be sure to perform the 22 on-water maneuvers to ensure maximum safety, comfort and performance from any boat. These maneuvers are described in detail in our report, “The Official Boat Buyer’s Guide!” which will be featured on our website soon.


3. You get what you pay for, especially in boating! While researching, you may find a boat that seems to be a steal compared to similar boats. Many people ask, when they see this, “Why is the other boat $7,000 more than this boat?” My Dad taught me to ask a slightly different question and it’s usually leads me in the right direction. The question my Dad taught me is; “What is missing from the other boat that makes it $7,000 cheaper?” If you get a make sense answer to that question, you are in luck. But, if anything sounds just a little fishy, you know there’s probably some sort of catch that you won’t realize until its too late.


4. Can you trust the sales person, or are they just trying to make a commission? Most boat sales people are commissioned sales people and only get paid if you buy a boat. If you find one that’s getting a little pushy or aggressive, you may want to back away. Buying a boat should be fun… not a hassle. It’s important to know you can trust them and what they are telling you is true and accurate. Here are two tests to know what type of sales person you’re dealing with: Do they ask you questions about what you like/dislike and how you boat? Or, do they tell you the 1,001 things ‘they’ think are great about the boat without ever asking how you will use the boat. Do they pressure you to make a buying decision right now? Or, do they slow down and make sure you are making the right decision for you and offer a demo in the water?

5. Know who will service your boat when needed! Here in the southeast Michigan area, one of the biggest complaints I hear from folks who bought a boat from a dealer out of the area is… “Getting basic service and warranty work done is a huge hassle.” Consider who and how your future service and warranty work will be taken care of. And, if the dealer offers to pick up your boat for you, ask them politely to put it in writing. Unfortunately, an aggressive sales person may commit to something the service department won’t back up 2-years down the line. By having a local dealership that also provides a full service department (with certified techs), parts, accessories, storage and anything else a boater may need you can ensure your long term boating lifestyle will be easier, less stressful and more fun. And, isn’t that what the boating lifestyle is all about?


6. What is the real story on the warranty? Wouldn’t you expect the best boat manufacturers to have the best warranties? It seems like a fair assumption and as an industry insider, I agree. Not only should you expect a fantastic warranty but you’ll also want to ensure that the manufacturer and dealer have a long standing relationship. In the marine world, a strong dealer relationship often ensures a faster and easier turnaround time on warranty work. I’ve heard horror stories of boaters waiting months for approval on even the smallest warranty claim. Who knows if it’s the dealers fault or manufacturers fault… all I know is I wouldn’t want to miss out on months of boating time no matter who’s at fault, especially in Michigan! Ask the dealer flat out about not only the length of warranty and specific details but also how the process works and how long they’ve been a dealer of that particular manufacturer.


7. What do others say about the dealership, boat brand and experience dealing with your chosen dealer? One of the best ways to determine how your experience will be with a particular dealer, sales person or manufacturer is to ask others that have had experience with them in the past. One of the best places to check is on Google Reviews. If a dealer doesn’t have any or has some negative reviews, what does that tell you? Verify that your dealer has many happy clients… clients that are so happy they would take the time to tell the world about their experience online for everyone to see. You may also want to check their website and see if there are any client comments, pictures or videos there to give you some insight into what your overall experience will be.


8. How much on-water training will you be given on your new boat? Even seasoned boaters may need some training on their new boat, especially when going from one sized boat to another. All good dealers will offer Captains Training themselves or have a professional trainer available when needed. If the dealership you are working with will send you on the way with no onwater training, you may wonder when else won’t they be there to offer service and support to make your boat as enjoyable as possible.


9. The difference between Price & Value When it comes to investing in a new surf boat, smart buyers consider the difference between “Price” and “Value”. Consider what’s most important to you and find a dealer who offers a competitive price, has a long track record in your area of quality service, a manufacturer that has an outstanding reputation to ensure you’ll be taken care of over the long-haul. Many boat buyers regret their decision to save a few thousand dollars in price only to find out;

-The boat was built cheaply, didn’t stand up to the normal wear and tear over time which lead to disappointing resale value.

-The dealer was never heard from again after the final check was cut, leaving them hung out to dry on basic warranty items and service work.

Most boaters in the southeast Michigan area will keep their boat for 5, 10 even 15 years or more. If that’s you, doesn’t it make sense to invest a little more upfront to ensure you enjoy a life-time of reliable and fun boating. If you follow these 9 keys questions while buying your next boat, you will come away with a great experience during and especially after your purchase!

We offer a special ‘Boat Show’ every 2nd Saturday of the month. Give us a call or text to confirm you’ll attend so we can sit down and talk boats during the event. 810-629- 2800


Here’s to a fantastic boating season,


Jeff Nichols President

Aqua Sports Marine and Boat Specialists


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