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Should You Buy a New or Second Hand Boat?


If you ‘need’ to buy a boat, then you’ll most likely want a brand new, sparkly boat… but the budget says second-hand. So when do you splurge on a brand new vessel, or should you be sensible with a second hand boat?

There are a number of factors that will influence your decision making. What works for other people wont necessarily work for your situation, so work through this list and make a choice for you.

Benefits of buying a brand new boat

It’s not second hand

You’ll never know a boat’s full history when you buy second-hand. While you can inspect it for wear and tear, note down water damage and take it for a spin, there is no way of knowing the previous life of the boat. When you buy new, you’re writing the on-water biography – there are no surprises.


A new boat will have a warranty, so for a few years you know there will be no unexpected expenses or worries with the safety of your new vessel. There will also be low maintenance costs as a result of this; aside from oil changes and general maintenance, there should be no extra costs.

Beware though, or any changes you may want to make to the boat or tinkering away on the engine may void part or all of the warranty.

Get exactly what you want

If you are getting a boat built for you, then you can get exactly what you want. If you’re into fishing, you’ll want it decked out with rod holders and a fish-finder. If you’re into hooning around a lake with skiers or kneeboarders behind you, you’ll get the right rig for that. You can set up your boat exactly the way you want it. The design, style and features are all there for you to choose from.

That said, if you get a boat custom-made, you might be waiting for a while for it to be built, tested and shipped… can you wait?

The latest technology

The technology used on boats is constantly evolving. When you buy new, you know you’re getting the brand-new stuff that will make other boat owners green with envy.

Benefits of buying a second-hand boat


A second hand boat is going to be cheaper. Usually, a lot cheaper. You’ll get more bang for your buck- whether that means a bigger boat or more gear, it’s a chance to step up.

It’s fully kitted out already

When you buy new, everything is an add-on. When you buy used, the gear is already there and you’re not paying extra for it. With a new boat, getting all the additional items you need for fishing, watersports or safety are going to cost you extra- often, a LOT extra.

Peace of mind

Imagine you purchased a brand new boat. She’s spotless, inside and out. Every time you take her out, put her back on the trailer or park her somewhere, there’s that ever- present fear of being the first to damage her. That first scratch or dent hurts. With a second hand boat, that fear and guilt evaporates.

You know what works

All the technology on the boat works- and if it doesn’t, you can simply Google it and see if others had problems. A brand new boat can have untested motors or gear that fails. A second-hand boat has been through rigorous use and you know it’s all going to work when it counts.

Huge variety to choose from

Because you’re buying second-hand, there’s ten years of models and styles to buy from- not to mention you can buy from Turners or other auction houses, individuals on TradeMe or other auction sites and even trade-ins from a dealer. This gives you a huge range of options.

Boats aren’t cheap

BOAT stands for ‘break out another thousand’. Owning a boat is not going to save you money, ever- with registration, insurance, fuel, maintenance and upgrades, this is a passion purchase, not a logical one. As a result, many expert boaties recommend buying a second hand boat that’s only a few years old- that way you get all of the benefits of a newish boat, but with a much reduced purchase price. However, there’s something about the smell of a brand-new boat… immaculate upholstery and gleaming hull, that makes it hard to resist. And, boat-buying is, after all, often devoid of logic, so… what’s stopping you?

If you do decide to buy second hand, always take it out for a spin first. Listen to the engine, check all the technology is working. Inspect the boat thoroughly, especially for water damage- wetness underfoot may mean rotten or damaged stringers. Consider paying an expert to check the boat over- this may cost a little up front but save you thousands in the future.

For both old and new boats, divide the price by the weight. This gives you an idea of a per kilo build cost/ buy price and may make it easier to compare options.

And if you’re unsure and want to speak to the experts, contact Marine Services. With reputable contacts all across New Zealand, you can be assured they’ll know the right person to sell you the perfect boat.


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