Dealer or private seller?
This argument just may have been going on as long as the debate of which came first, the chicken or the egg. Buying from each has its pros and cons. The going dealer commission rate on used boats is 10% whereas a private seller doesn't charge a commission. On the other hand, a dealer may provide after-sale service or even a warranty and might be able to help with a loan if you need to finance the boat.
Whether you end up buying from a dealer or from a private seller, I recommend, "Buy local."
In fact, consider it your mantra when looking for a boat.
You will come across all kinds of beautiful boats online or in boat classifieds; however, if you are in Albany, NY, and the seller is in Disco, WI, you can't just hop in the car and take a look at the boat without taking some major time off from work.
Also, if the dealer is five hours away and the boat develops problems, you aren't going to be happy having to drive back and forth to the dealer, wasting precious boating hours.
Local boaters know local dealers.
Your fellow boaters are good sources of information about how dealers treat their customers.
But before you buy, do your research.
"Dig up the Dirt."
Obviously, no boat is defect-free.
There are some models that are known to have problems.
But where can you find out this information?
Recalls on boats and engines can be found on the U.S. Coast Guard's website: www.uscgboating.org/.