Buying a boat can be thrilling. Knowing the best time to buy a boat is another matter.  Buying boats is something most of us do only sometimes, after all. You can’t deny the excitement of purchasing a new boat, but you want to be smart about jumping into your new hobby. There is much more to consider than just a price tag. With that in mind, let’s dive into how to determine the best time to buy a new boat.

Is There a “Best” Time to Buy a Boat?

What do we mean by the best time to buy a boat? The best time to buy a boat means your ideal time to buy a boat. That will be influenced by factors aside from the price of the boat!

Because the fact is that there are a lot more factors to consider in buying a new pontoon boat or fishing boat than just price. You also have to consider which boats are available, what the boat market looks like, how many used vs. new boats are available, whether any trade shows are scheduled, what financing options are offered, and much more.

Seasonal Guide to Buying a Boat

It’s a lot to consider, but we want to simplify it. So we’ll start by looking at the main differentiating factors associated with boat buying at different times of the year:

Early Spring/Summer

Spring and Summer are prevalent times for boat buying. There are a couple of reasons for this. 

  • You can immediately buy your new boat and hit the water! After all, who doesn’t want to use their new toys immediately?
  • It’s on everyone’s mind, which increases excitement and perceived entertainment value.

Because of these factors, Spring and Summer might be the best time to buy a new boat. That said, there are also drawbacks.

  • But remember that great minds think alike, and boat dealerships are packed so much in the early Spring that you might find yourself on a waitlist. 
  • Also, boat dealerships know it’s a seller’s market, so don’t expect any great deals in early Spring or Summer.


How about buying a boat right after boating season? And hey, if you don’t mind the slight nip in the air, Fall is still a great time for boating!

  • Buying a product in its “off-season” often leads to the biggest deals, and boats are no exception. 
  • Dealerships know the Fall is their slow season, so they provide discounts and financial incentives to get you in the door. If you’re looking for a bang for your buck, consider buying a boat in the Fall. Check out dealerships in your area to see which offer the best deals.

Like Spring and Summer, Fall has downsides as well.

  • With the season ending, you will have less time to use the boat.
  • You may also get less enjoyment from your boat with worsening weather and colder temperatures.


Most people start to get the boating season on their minds in winter. 

  • Boat manufacturers know winter is the kick-off in many people’s minds who plan ahead, so most popular manufacturers release new line-ups in the winter. So if you’re looking for the hottest new models on the market, Winter is a great time to look.
  • Most boating trade shows are held in the Winter, which are large conventions where you can compare all the newest models. You can sometimes even score some great deals at these boat shows.

And even though winter isn’t usually considered a great time for boating, that Spring thaw is just around the corner!

Tips for Boat Buying

Now that we’ve examined the differences in boat buying related to the seasons let’s look at some more general advice for buying a boat.


As we examined above, boat buying is all about timing. Look through each time of year, and decide which benefits align with what you want from a boat. Whether you want the best deal or the hottest new boat technology, each season offers distinct advantages. Generally speaking, the further you buy from the start of “boat season,” the better the deal!

Check out regional boat shows

As mentioned above, boat shows can be a great opportunity to buy a new boat. Boat shows are filled with different vendors that are forced to compete with each other, which often results in a lower price for you. They’re also a great opportunity to compare all the newest boats and boat technology in one place, which gives you a better chance to figure out what you want.

Shop local but take your time

There’s no need to go out of your way to buy a new boat. There are likely several dealers in your area. Consider buying locally to test the boat out yourself (ice permitting). This also allows you to visit several dealerships to compare prices and put your haggling skills to the test!

Should you finance your boat?

Finally, you might be wondering whether you should finance your boat. This decision rests primarily on your personal budgetary and financial concerns. It also depends on the terms you can secure for financing. We recommend you shop around and look for an appropriate financing plan. Financing is generally going to be more expensive in total but has the benefit of spreading your payments over a longer area of time.

The Bottom Line

Thanks for checking out our guide to boat buying! As you can see, the “best” time to buy a boat is a very loaded question! It depends wholly on what you are looking for and your priorities. That being said, we believe we have given you all the resources you need to decide!

Consider all the factors mentioned above, and we are confident you can buy the best boat at the ideal time!