When you are ready to step up your fishing game, it will be time to buy a boat and get out to deeper water, and all those places you just cant get on foot. The biggest question when wanting to do this is, how much does a bass boat actually cost?
There are so many different types of boats out there, how do you know which one you can actually afford to get. Should you buy a used one, or one right off the showroom floor?
Buying a new boat sounds good, but do you get a trailer with it, and are there any hidden fees attached. If it’s your first boat, should you buy a used one, and is the price a used one better than buying a brand new one.
All these questions can start popping up, so we are going to take a look at how much a new bass boat might cost and give you a few examples of what they typically go for at a dealership.
So, How Much Does a New Bass Boat Cost?
Your typical brand new bass boat will run you anywhere from $17,000 dollars to $70,000 dollars at a dealership. I know this sounds like a big gap, but you have to remember that it all depends on the length, size, and brand.
If you are starting out and just need something for you and a few of your buddies to go out to your local lake to fish, you might get away with a nice 18-foot Tracker boat, which costs around if you are going to be out on bigger lakes, with four to six of your friends or family, you might need to step up to a 21-foot bass boat with a bigger motor, running you into the 40-50 thousand dollar mark.
It really all depends on what your needs are, and how many people you plan to fish with, but plan on spending that range on a new boat.
Approximate Prices of Various Bass Boats
Here are some examples of new bass boats, so you can get an idea of the cost for what they have in them.
Keep in mind that these examples are for your basic bass boat, with no buttons and bells added on, just what you would get off the showroom floor. The main brands are Tracker, Nitro and Ranger:
- 2021 Nitro Z17: This boat is 17 feet 4 inches in length and starts $27,995. Capacity is up to four people.
- 2021 Nitro Z18 Pro: This boat is 18 feet 8 inches in length and starts $36,995. Capacity is up to four people.
- 2021 Ranger Z519: This boat is 19 feet 9 inches in length and starts $53,000. Capacity is up to five people.
- 2021 Ranger Z518: This boat is 18 feet 10 inches in length and starts $42,995. Capacity is up to four people.
As you can see, there are some options out there that are a wide range on the market, but will give you an idea of how much a few of each brand will run you.
Take a look at a few of them and see if any of them fit your options, and if you are really after one, go to the build your own section and add as many features that you want into it and see the final price tag.
Buying a Used Bass Boat
Buying a used boat can be a good option for you if you do not want to take on a brand new boat. If you can afford to pay cash, you will probably get a much better deal than if you have to finance one.
You can usually get used boats for more than ten thousand dollars or more less if you can find the right deal, but there can be some pitfalls to getting them. Keep in mind if you see a boat that is normally fifty thousand dollars, and you see it for twenty, there may be some red flags that should pop up because it might have some serious issues.
Here are few things to consider, and questions to ask if you really want to buy a used boat:
- Engine Hours: The first thing you want to look at is how many hours the engine has on it. If it has 5000 hours on it, and he used it every weekend, you may need to get the engine overhauled at some point which can be costly.
- Hull Damage: Walk the boat and look for any hull damage that might have occurred. Remember that people do hit floating debris, or run over rocks, that can scratch, gouge, and dent the hull which may have to be fixed, and fiberglass work is expensive.
- Maintenance Records: Ask to see maintenance records, and check to see how they actually kept their boat. If they did all the work themselves, check over the engine for any leaks or damage that may have occurred.
- Trailer Damage: Towing a boat can be difficult if you live in an area with lots of traffic, so checkout the trailer and tires to make sure there is no dents, or issues that may have happened to the wheels and tires.
- Check The Internet: when you go look at a boat, make sure you have at least checked the internet for what people are selling them for. I can guarantee that there is more than one boat you are looking for online for sale. take an average of what you find, so you have a good idea of how much to haggle for.
- Test Drive: Most people who are serious boat owners will be willing to meet you out on a lake to test drive the boat, especially if you live near a body of water. Ask the seller to take you out on it to see how it runs.
Make sure that if you are going to buy a used boat, you do a little homework on them so you know what to look for and you actually get a good deal and not hosed. The hull and engine can be the most expensive parts, so always check them out. Remember, if it looks to good to be true, it probably is.
Other Cost Considerations When Buying a Bass Boat
Unfortunately, the price of a bass boat does not stop at the price of the actual boat. There are many other initial and ongoing costs to consider when buying a boat. The costs mentioned below will often increase with the size or the price of the boat you purchase. Keep these things in mind when making a purchasing decision.
Tax Considerations When Buying a Boat
If you are buying a new or used boat from a dealer, you will have to pay sales tax, period. Make sure you check with your city or county on what your tax rate is, and if you are traveling further than where you live, make sure you check with that cities tax.
The dealer will usually tack sales tax onto your loan which will make your payment go up, so be aware of what you are paying! If you are buying a boat in a different state than your own you will not pay the taxes in that state, but once you go to register your boat, you will pay your local tax rate.
If your state has a 7% tax rate and you buy a $20,000 boat you will be paying $1,400 in taxes.
You will have to pay for licensing at the time of your purchase, and every year that you have the boat in your name in many states. Make sure you check with your local DMV office to find out at least a ball park of how much licensing will cost you.
The more expensive the boat, the more in fees you will have to pay. This goes for how new it is as well in many cases. A 2021 boat will cost you more per year to license, than buying a used 2005 boat.
Insurance is a MUST, and even though you could go without having it, you will regret it in the end. Accidents happen all the time, whether it be on the road, or on the lake or river, so you really do not want to chance having something happen to your boat if it breaks.
Some states require you to have insurance on your vehicles, so that is another thing to check with your local DMV.Try to factor in insurance before you buy, and you can get a quick quote from your insurance office, or online as well.
Sometimes insurance companies will give a discount on “bundling” both vehicle and boat insurances, so it might not cost that much money. It is often much cheaper than what you are paying on your personal vehicle.
If you do not have a garage or area to park the boat when it is not being used then you will have to pay for storage. Obviously, a covered climate-controlled space is preferred during the offseason, but that comes a premium compared to storing the boat in an outdoor lot. Prices can vary greatly depending on the geographic region you are located in.
This cost will be a minimum of $150 to $200 per month for covered storage. The better the storage option and the larger the boat will drive the price up even higher.
What Time of the Year is the Best Time to Buy a Bass Boat?
You can buy a boat in the spring or summer, but you will pay more for it. The optimal time to buy a boat is fall or winter. Most boat dealers begin to sell their stock at discount prices in September or October.
What this means is you’ll be able to get a good deal on a newer boat. Dealers are trying to clear out room for new models, and they’re in a rush to get the most profit before the end of the year.If you’re buying used, many owners prefer to sell in the fall and winter, as they are done using their boats during the prime season.
There are different reasons owners decide to sell their watercraft, and most of the time, those reasons will work in your favor. Owners are more willing to negotiate the price when they face the costs of having to store a boat for an extended time.
And if they’re not on the water, as they would be in the spring and summer, they’ll have less resistance to parting with their fun toy – for a reasonable price, of course.
If you are serious about buying a boat, you may have to do a little homework, and a lot of searching before you find the right one. If you are buying a new boat, be prepared to spend around $18,000 to $40,000 or more for a standard boat. If you are buying a used one, while they may be thousands cheaper, can come with a lot more headaches.
Keep in mind that there are always additional costs like licensing and insurance, so make a few calls ahead of time, so you know how much more it will cost you per month than just the boat loan. If you do these things, you will get into the boat that you want, for the price you can afford, and will be enjoying tons of time on the lake with your family and friends.