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Old 10-15-2019, 02:43 PM   #1
LFODMatt
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Default Fresh water premium

Hi All,
I've been reading Forums for about a year and have a question I hope you can help with.

We are in the market for boat. I have waited until the end of the season to get as much of a discount as I can. It seems there are few to be had unless I buy new (not such a deal) or buy a boat that has been used in the ocean.

I have heard "RUN away as fast as you can" from some and I have heard from folks that have been using an ocean/saltwater boat on the lake for years without incident.

So my question is about the discount I should expect for a saltwater boat. or if you want to look at it from the other standpoint, how much of a premium should I expect to pay for a freshwater boat?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LFODMatt View Post
Hi All,
I've been reading Forums for about a year and have a question I hope you can help with.

We are in the market for boat. I have waited until the end of the season to get as much of a discount as I can. It seems there are few to be had unless I buy new (not such a deal) or buy a boat that has been used in the ocean.

I have heard "RUN away as fast as you can" from some and I have heard from folks that have been using an ocean/saltwater boat on the lake for years without incident.

So my question is about the discount I should expect for a saltwater boat. or if you want to look at it from the other standpoint, how much of a premium should I expect to pay for a freshwater boat?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.
It might be useful to post the type and size of boat you're looking for. Also, welcome to the forum!

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Old 10-15-2019, 03:24 PM   #3
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Default Fresh water vs salt

Go fresh and go now when people want to sell before storage costs.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #4
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Default Fresh water premium

There is nothing inherently wrong with a saltwater boat, but they do require substantially more on-going maintenance, particularly washing down after every use, and paying attention to all the little nooks and crannies. Salt water seems to be a natural corrosive, so metal, electrical, and upholstery seem to be victims. However, a thorough washdown after each use will go a long way to prevent damage. If a saltwater boat comes to the Lake and is well maintained I would suspect that there would be little difference in the longevity of such boat compared to a life-time Lake boat. All boats, saltwater or freshwater, need lots of tender love and care throughout there life - it is just a fact of boating. Of course, if you are looking at a saltwater boat you want to look very carefully at exposed areas of wiring, and ask about flushing the engine block and also the steering harness controls.

Good Luck.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #5
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It is a very tough question to answer, as you will rarely find the exact same boat for comparison purposes. I mean beyond the same engine/hull combo, but other things like saltwater boats are likely to have better electronics packages (radar, MFDs, CHIRP, etc.) that a lake boat would likely not have (or really need for the most part).

Saltwater boats would probably also have higher hours, which diminishes the value in terms of depleting "useful lifespan" of the engines, which is not directly related to the saltwater usage, but more of a side-effect.

Thus you might see two similar hull/engine combos where one was a lakeboat and one was a saltwater boat, that might have a 20% price delta, or nearly a 0% price difference, owing to things like hours, electronics, etc.

If you are new to boating, I would probably stay away from any Inboard powered (including I/O) boats. Higher likelihood of hidden issues and unexpected maintenance (particularly for an I/O). Any sort of major engine work or re-power is going to be more expensive and complex. If it is an outboard powered boat, you should be able to value it accordingly, and if the entire outboard, or just the powerhead, needs to be overhauled or replaced, it is a much easier procedure.

Salt exposure will tend to corrode or dull metals a bit more, but for the most part won't have much effect on a FRP hull, so it is mostly a matter of the hit on the engine(s) than the hull, IMO.

I see plenty of 30+ year old boats in FL that have spent all their time in salt water, and have been much more exposed to the elements than a boat in a seasonal area, and they are holding up and running just fine, assuming proper maintenance. If you are handy, and get a good marine survey, there is no reason to NOT buy a saltwater boat if the price is right.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:31 PM   #6
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I would just go freshwater. Much less risk. And if you are looking at boats online or otherwise you're not going to see some flashy ads like "end of season used boat discount!". People rarely take time to update pricing on ads I've found.

We bought ours a few years ago in the fall. It's a great time to buy as mentioned earlier. No one wants to eat winter storage costs.

Also it just so happened we were shopping a popular model. That helps too. A few marinas on the lake had the same model with a similar set up and hour range so we were able to use that to our advantage to negotiate the one we really wanted and we saved quite a bit.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:50 PM   #7
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Default Cliff's note version

Quote:
Originally Posted by brk-lnt View Post
...get a good marine survey, there is no reason to NOT buy a saltwater boat if the price is right.
Key point is to KNOW what you are getting. I would be hyper vigilant looking at ALL fittings on a salty boat. If I or the marine surveyor cant directly view & eval all fittings I am walking away.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:22 AM   #8
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Stay with a fresh water boat unless you have some money to throw in it. Salt is hard on engines and even just the salt air is tough on anything electronic. Donít limit your search to local. Many good used boats come out of the Great Lakes area.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:42 AM   #9
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I don't know a whole lot about boats--I pick mine up at the marina in spring and drop it back off in fall--but I do know one thing: the boating season in NH is so short, I need my vessels always at the ready. That's worth money to me, so the moment Boatie Two becomes unreliable, it's gone for a new/nearly new one.

Reading these comments makes me think I'd avoid salt water boats at any cost.

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Old 10-16-2019, 07:01 AM   #10
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If you are looking at stern drive boats, expect a massive discount on one that was kept in salt water. Stern drives and salt water are a horrible combination, IMO, unless the boat is trailer or rack stored. I would avoid any raw water cooled stern drive engine that was used extensively in salt water, unless you are OK with an engine swap (which really is not all that difficult if you have the facility to do one).

If you are looking at outboard powered boats, salt water is not that big a deal since the engine(s) would typically be tilted out of the water and drained after every use.

Inboard boats (except for most ski/wake surf/wakeboard boats) are truly built for salt water use and would typically have closed cooling so the engine(s) should be fine if the pencil anodes were maintained and leaks were addressed properly. The props, shafts, struts and rudders should be fine if they were properly cared for (anodes again...).

Salt water is tough on anything metal, so factor that into the inspection. High quality exterior metal parts and hardware made of 316 stainless steel or bronze are a must in salt water. Plastic is excellent too, for many things.

My current boat and last boat were purchased in the great lakes area because I prefer super-clean used boats and the selection out there is huge. I paid a roughly 25% premium (I'd guess, based on asking prices) for both, but it was worth it.

My last boat was a raw water cooled stern drive that was trailer kept. I used it in salt water now and then. It was always thoroughly rinsed, flushed and cleaned after each salt water trip and never showed any salt water damage. I got a very good price when I sold it after 14 years of ownership and the new owners are thrilled with it.

My current boat is inboard powered and has closed cooling. It was built for salt water and is slipped in salt water. 26 years of great lakes use (except for a 7 month trip to the Bahamas) and meticulous maintenance before I got it left it pristine. I'm keeping it that way, but it's a lot of work and expense.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:29 AM   #11
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Default Fresh fresh fresh!

IMHO.... Fresh water!! Every day all day! You can expect to pay a little more +15% to +25% depending on the the boat/the location/the condition. Like Dave R said, look out toward MI and the Great Lakes, even upstate NY (although I think NY prices are little high). Lots of fresh water selection, usually reasonably priced.

That being said.... if you are buying a used boat... GET. A. SURVEY! This is as non negotiable as buying a fresh water boat.

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Old 10-16-2019, 09:38 AM   #12
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I've got to admit there's not much out there in New England for used boats. With the good economy it looks like a sellers market.
I sold my boat late spring and got top dollar. I was going to wait until winter to buy another but I found a deal mid summer and I'm glad I did because I still look and there's not much out there.
But to get back to the salt water issue, I would stay away from a salt water boat unless it was fairly new and had an out board motor. Like someone said, most outboards are raised and flushed after every use but if they have been on a mooring then probably not.
Stay away from IO's that have been in saltwater.
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:30 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the responses. In the used market I am encountering the same thing Bigd mentioned with limited supply. When I focus that further to get to only the freshwater boats it gets downright discouraging.

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LFODMatt View Post
Thanks for all the responses. In the used market I am encountering the same thing Bigd mentioned with limited supply. When I focus that further to get to only the freshwater boats it gets downright discouraging.

Thanks again for the help!
What type of boat are you looking for?
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:39 PM   #15
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Don't give up so easily!

Try Craigslist: Lake of the Ozarks, include nearby areas too. A lot of decent deals for freshwater boats.

https://loz.craigslist.org/d/boats/search/boo

There are new 2018 and 2019 boats advertised now at less than invoice because they have been sitting at the dealers too long and newer models are available. The manufacturers are getting involved in the discounts so their dealers will take delivery of the new models.

Go on Boatrader, Boats.com, Iboat and the rest. Do a search within 500 miles of Chicago (60606). Plenty of freshwater boats, and remember, the farther north you search the less the boats probably got used because the boating season get shorter.

I would never buy a used saltwater boat because there are plenty of great used freshwater boats. You just have to be patient and look. That is what New Hampshire winters are for (from what I remember)
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LFODMatt View Post
Thanks for all the responses. In the used market I am encountering the same thing Bigd mentioned with limited supply. When I focus that further to get to only the freshwater boats it gets downright discouraging.

Thanks again for the help!
My first boat, a 2007 Four Winns V278, used on the lake for 3 years was a saltwater boat it's entire life (8 years) before I took ownership of it. Yes, it needed a little extra TLC to bring it up to my spec's (i.e. anal retentive OCD) but I can't tell you how many folks at the marina thought it was a new boat. A well cared for 'saltwater' boat is better than a neglected freshwater boat, period.

My current/new-to-me boat, at 2006 Formula 37PC (12 years old when I purchased it) is a 'saltwater boat' used in guess what? Saltwater. Well taken care of it's entire life (indoor heated storage during the winter) and I can't tell you how any people at my marina complimented it this season and thought it was only 1-2 years old....my aunt thought it was brand new. One dock mate looked at my engine room and said it was so clean he could eat off the floor of the bilge. I just pulled it from the ocean yesterday and put it into heated indoor storage (see pic).

The point I'm trying to make is DO NOT limit your search to just freshwater boats.....I don't care what anyone tells you. Hire a surveyor, do your due diligence, and you will not be disappointed. There are some good bargains to be had out there due to the perception that 'saltwater' boats are inferior. Most of the big-boy boats are made for the ocean and built/designed accordingly.

Feel free to ask me any questions! Good luck!

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