Boat Shopping: Patience is a Virtue

We live in a time when there so many choices available to us every day that we often don’t have the “mental bandwidth” to process it all. The condition could apply to anything, from the choice of Internet service providers to wireless telephone companies, carpet cleaners, financial services — you name it.

No matter how tempting a boat dealer makes thes the view, you owe it to yourself to be patient and look at the deal with a clear perspective. Doug Logan photo.

No matter how tempting a boat dealer makes thes the view, you owe it to yourself to be patient and look at the deal from a clear perspective. Doug Logan photo.

As a result we often take shortcuts because we simply can’t process all the information. The form and pace of modern life is not allowing us to render fully thought-out decisions, even on big-ticket items like a new television, a car, or a even a boat.

Yes, even in passion-driven industries such as boating, people are making decisions without taking into account all the information needed to make the right choice.

For example, say you were looking for a nice new tube for towing the kids behind the boat. This is a simplified example, but stay with me here. If you had a choice among five different tubes, you might be tempted to go with the most expensive one because here in America we’re brought up to believe that you get what you pay for. However, if you had paid closer attention, and read the labels and spent five more minutes shopping, you’d have realized the one that costs $50 less than the most expensive one was made by the same company, was of the same quality, but sold as a privately labeled product for a more value-oriented store brand.

“You get what you pay for” is a form of mental shortcut we make when we’re faced with a decision. These shortcuts have a clinical name: judgmental heuristics. They can be good for us because they save us time in our very busy lives, but they can be detrimental when used to make the certain decisions.

The lesson here, and one I’ve been covering in Waterblogged for the last several months, is that you need to realize all the factors at work when buying a used boat. For example, we’ve talked about the scarcity and authority principles, the “sudden buddy” salesperson, reciprocity, rejection-retreat-revision, social proof and commitment-consistency. Those topics are all tools of influence that have everything to do with getting you to buy a boat, but little to do with whether it’s the right boat for you.

So when you find yourself faced with a salesman you think is a good guy or the notion that there aren’t many of the boat you are considering available, ask yourself if you’re being patient — and wise — enough to consider all the factors involved with this purchase. Realize that the only people you need to make happy are yourself and your family. You are going to own this boat for a long time, most likely, and if you signed on the bottom line for the wrong reason, that boat won’t do you as much good as one bought after patient and careful consideration.


Boat Trader has plenty of  Buying and Selling advice, but also check out the hundreds of articles in the Boating section, with tips on everything from seamanship to maintenance, how-to, where to find replacement parts, and much more.