Navigating Your Boat Purchase: Boat Show Pros and Cons

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Learn more about the pros and cons of purchasing a boat at a boat show. Should you wait and do more research, or take the jump?

Boat shows are huge productions, giving buyers the amazing opportunity to shop a large variety of boat options, all in one place! For example, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) which takes place annually in late October spanning five-days. As one of the world’s largest boat and yacht events, FLIBS allows viewers to explore different types of watercraft to determine the right fit for each situation, including the renowned Carolina Skiff lineup. The show also offers several educational programs, both on-water and in the classroom, that are beneficial to both new and seasoned boat owners.


Boat Show Buying Perks

FLIBS brings a competitive environment for dealers, which buyers can take advantage of. With a lot of traffic, many dealers are authorized to make “show-only” deals while on the exhibit hall floor. This could allow you to score a great discount on the vessel you’ve been eying at FLIBS 2023 or take advantage of exclusive offers!

The varied options and the sheer number of dealers at FLIBS allow you to thoroughly explore your choices and find the right fit for your specific needs. Boat shows, like FLIBS, provide a great in-person experience, letting you experience seating arrangements and see different amenities up close and in action.

FLIBS 2023 also offers on-water experiences. The show will be held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center and several other iconic locations in Fort Lauderdale. The family-friendly programming at FLIBS will allow you to explore boats on the floor and see them in full action on the water.


Boat Show Buying Drawbacks

You won’t see many used boats at a boat show like FLIBS, so it might be difficult to compare models if you aren’t in the market for something new. With a used boat, you can often get more for your money and secure some upgrades that you might not be able to afford in a new vessel. There’s some peace of mind that comes with knowing you aren’t going to put the first scratch on your boat, and some of the initial quirks could be worked out before you’re the one to place the boat on the water.

At a lot of shows, sea trials are impossible. But this fact is changing for some shows, such as FLIBS 2023. There is nothing like experiencing a boat in action, so impulse buying at a show without on-water access can be a big downfall.

A new boat purchase is a very personal experience, and there are no right or wrong ways to go about it. For some, seeing so many options is exhilarating and helps with a purchase; for others, the size and options presented in a boat show like FLIBS can be overwhelming.


Tips for Buying at a Boat Show

Before you head onto the show floor, set a laser focus on your needs. Know your budget and the brands that you want to see in person, and take the time to chat with dealers to learn more about any special offers they might be able to give as a “show-only” deal at FLIBS 2023.

Make sure you have a good idea of the type of water your boat will be on and discuss this openly with the dealers so your needs are met. Don’t get caught up in the excitement; remember the details.

It is imperative that you remember your needs for your boat trailer, not just the vessel itself, making sure it is a good fit for both your vehicle and the boat. While this might seem like an afterthought on the show floor, it is a huge part of the delivery process and should be discussed upfront.

Boat show timing is usually set to show off the newest models, so head to shows earlier in the season if you can. The first quarter of the new year usually brings a good stock of boats, so you’ll get delivery sooner and have better access to upgrades and features that might delay delivery later in the year.

If you aren’t able to purchase at FLIBS 2023, a boat show experience will help you build a direct relationship with a dealer for a future purchase. Make sure you collect cards and exchange information.

A line-up of Sea Chaser and Carolina Skiff boats will be on display at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) from October 25-29, 2023. Our knowledgeable dealers will be on the floor and fully available to answer your questions. Come see all the new models and take advantage of special pricing offers so that you are ready to hit the water at the beginning of the season. On-water training, classroom education, and VIP experiences are all available, so get your tickets!

At Carolina Skiff, building one of the best quality boats for a great price has always been our goal. Whether you’re looking for a pleasure boat, fishing boat, runabout, or commercial/work boat, Carolina Skiff delivers the most in value, quality, and style. Find a Carolina Skiff dealer near you today or visit Carolina Skiff’s website to learn more.