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Fall Boat BuyingÖ Really?
By Wayne Ek


By the time late October rolls around a high percentage of anglers are probably thinking of winterizing their boats or hunting.  Making a fall purchase of a new boat just does not seem practical at this time of year, or so I thought.

During the 2006 Minnesota ďUltimate Bass ChallengeĒ sponsored by Ranger Boats, I had a chance to sit down and talk with George Liddle Jr. and Kent Sheel.  George is a representative for Ranger Boats and Kent is the Crystal-Pierz Marine line-leader for Ranger and Stratos boats.

George and Kent brought up a couple of points that made me change my mind about the best time to purchase a new boat.  We talked about the natural rise in material costs after January.  Letís use the fall of 2006 as an example.  We are already seeing a huge increase in the cost of aluminum.  Petroleum based materials like plastics are also increasing in price.  If you ordered a new boat late in the year, October for example, you would still be ordering off the 2006 price sheets, but the boat would be a 2007 model.  If new options became available once the 2007 product line went into production, you would probably not have those on the rig you ordered, but the boat would be a 2007 model.  George also said it was a great time of the year to take advantage of any dealershipís stock reduction sales.  These are new boats that the dealership ordered for one reason or another and have not yet sold.  Most dealerships like to reduce the current year inventory by winter, as the spring boat show circuit starts around February, and they will be taking possession of the next yearís models around that time.

Kent talked about the need for inventory reduction on the part of the dealership.  He said a buyer could sometimes find a really good deal on non-current model boats.  I understood this to be a brand new boat the dealer had purchased that the manufacturer (say Ranger) has now taken out of production or replaced with a different model. 

Kent also mentioned that boat shows are fun for the buyer and you can see a lot of different types, models and makes of boats at a show, but there is the additional cost of tickets, parking, and the all important hot dog and Coke.  On the other hand you can stop in at any Crystal-Pierz dealership this fall (or any time of the year) and they can bring up every boat in the system for you to look at, even if itís not at that particular store. 

George also mentioned that a lot of Ranger Pro-staff boats and dealership demo boats become available in the fall.  Kent said the FLW/ Ranger Cup packages that become available are usually marketed at a better price than you could get if you walked into a dealership and ordered the same boat/motor with the same options.  Now thatís something I have first hand knowledge of.  My current boat is a 2004 Ranger 520 Comanche VX, powered by a 225 Yamaha.  I purchased this boat from Crystal-Pierz at a considerable savings.  The boat was an FLW boat loaded with all kinds of options and only had 10 hours on the motor.  This is my 3rd Ranger boat.  The first two were muti-species (Fisherman Series) boats, even though Iím currently running a bass-style boat I think the Fisherman Series boats are some of the greatest family friendly boats made.  Kent indicated that a lot of the Ranger Boats Field-staff and most of Crystal-Pierz Pro-staff list their boats on the Crystal-Pierz web-site (

Both George and Kent agreed that glass and aluminum boats are holding their value pretty much equally.  Kent indicated that the extended financing and better rates are giving buyers much more purchasing power, allowing them to look at the higher end boats that they had never considered before. 

In closing our discussion, Kent brought up a good point.  He feels that itís not the dollar amount you spend, or if you want a glass or aluminum boat.   Itís about what you will use it for, how you will use it, and how much you will use it.  Kent feels itís far more important to find a boat that fits the customers needs than to compromise those needs to fit an available boat.

If youíre thinking of a new boat or a first boat, maybe the fall is a better time to buy than the spring.  We know that a new boat ordered or purchased in the fall will certainly be there for you in the spring.  There will be no waiting and gnashing of teeth, hoping your new boat arrives prior to the first planned outing.  Have a safe fall and we hope to see you on the water.

The author, Wayne Ek is a fishing guide, writer and tournament angler from Alexandria Minnesota. For more information you can reach Wayne at