Dealing with every boater’s worst fear when they upgrade boats: owning a second boat before your first boat is sold

owner two boatsWhenever you hear boaters talking about upgrading or stepping up to a new boat, you inevitably hear them say:

I just don’t want to be a two boat owner.

But in today’s boat market, chances are good that there will be a period of time you’ll be forced to own two boats at the same time when you buy another boat.

Being a two boat owner can be exhausting – both financially and physically. At times it can feel like you are literally rafted up with your old boat.

Here are some tips to deal with the two boat owner blues and potential problems that can come with owning two boats at the same time.

Make sure you get a good deal on the new boat. If you got a really good deal on your new boat – such as a repo boat deal – then it won’t seem as financially risky to buy another boat before the first boat is sold. Sure your old boat will continue to cost you on storage and maintenance, but you can keep reminding yourself how much money you saved on the new one.

Be prepared financially to be a two boat owner. Work through all the numbers to be sure you can afford two boats for a period of time – consider the worse case scenario of 6-12 months (or more). Some lenders may want you to pay off the first boat loan before lending for a second boat. Make sure you can afford to put out some cash and not recoup it for awhile. Consider all the additional expenses that may occur with owning two boats like boat payments, insurance, slip rentals, winter storage, winterizing, oil changes and other maintenance.

Consider aggressive pricing on your boat. Check out your local boat market and be realistic when pricing your boat for sale. If you want your boat to sell fast, undercut comparable boats to give yourself the edge on competition. Be sure you know your boat’s current resale value. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you paid or how much YOU think your boat is worth – the market will tell you what you are going to get. Be willing to accept an offer lower than your asking price to avoid further expenses of owning the boat (like another year of winter storage).

List your boat for sale at another marina. Out of sight, out of mind… at least as much as possible. If your old boat is sitting right at your marina it is a constant reminder that it has not sold yet and limits your enjoyment of your new boat. You will be tempted to go over to the boat often to check on it, clean it and maintain it. Owning two boats can really start to take the pleasure out of pleasure boating.

Pay someone else to do the maintenance. Let someone else take care of the minor maintenance issues that may come up with your old boat while it sits on the market. Even if you are the kind of boater that never lets someone else handle oil changes or engine winterizing (you know who you are captains), resist the urge to do it all. Otherwise you’ll be spending all your time maintaining two boats.

Maximize your traffic to the old boat. If your old boat is sitting on the market longer than expected, make sure it is at a marina that sells a lot of boats. If you live in a cold climate, don’t plan to have it shrink wrapped for the winter. Ask them if it can stay in the water at their docks. This way it will stay available to show throughout the winter and give you a jump on the busy spring boat selling season.

Although it may be a huge hassle to be a two boat owner, stay focused on minimizing the impact of the first boat and spending time enjoying the new boat as much as possible. The two boat owner blues will not last forever. It may just seem like it.

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Diane Seltzer

Founder & Editor at My Boat Life
Diane is the founder of MyBoatLife.com as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids BoaterKids.com. She is also active in the boating industry, serving as the marketing director for a marine sunshade product, SureShade, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

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