Originally Posted by eeyorebob
If you don't have anyone with boat knowledge when you are looking to buy your boat, I'd suggest you definatly DON'T go second hand, but go to a boat dealer who is local to you, they offer guarantees and usually are on hand for repairs etc, it would be difficult to transport a broken boat back to another dealership/yard outside of your local area. Do not feel pressured into buying a boat at a boat show (may be a good idea to leave your credit card behind at home!) as often you will come across high pressure selling and you could get talked into something you really regret
I don't believe there is a lemon law with boats. Whether it be an individual or dealer Caveat Emptor is the name of the game. Only on brand new boats is there any type of warranty and while you get that new boat smell, it comes at a great price. If you are buying used pay a surveyor to inspect it first, unless it is something like a catalina 22.
Your best bet is to join a club, meet some people, play on their boats, before making a jump into ownership. My club in San Diego, cost me $149 to join for $249 they would include the first sailing class you need to take out the smaller boats. The cost is $30/month but that applies to your rental each month. So for about a $600 investment you get 12 months of seeing if boating is right for you, then you can take your credit card to the boat show. However the last boat show had boat starting at around $135,00, which greatly exceeds my credit card limit. The boat shows are not time share demos where they turn on the pressure cooker at the end to get you to commit. I don't think many people buy $250,000 boats as an impulse buy it is more a place to see what you could do with your money if you were to win the lottery.