Boating Tips


Posted 5/8/2009

Buying a new outboard (or boat/motor/trailer package) requires a financial commitment that can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. Whether your investment is in a small boat or a multi-outboard offshore rig, you want to get the most for your money by taking advantage of every promotion, sale, deal, rebate or warranty—anything that can ultimately save you money.

Max Value
In your quest to find the best deal, the lowest price doesn't necessarily equate to the best value. For example, if your local dealer's pricing is a tad higher than some out-of-state company's, it's probably a better value to spend a little more with the dealer who will be there to service the outboard and help you if you need it.

Another point to consider is the long-term costs of owning an outboard; things like longevity, customer satisfaction ratings, the service and maintenance charges, fuel economy, and potential resale value all factor into the equation.

Look beyond the price tag and down the road a ways to keep things in perspective.

Shop 'Til You Drop
Do your due diligence; shop around. Research the manufacturers' web sites to see what they're willing to do to get your business. Compare incentives on the outboards in which you're interested, and try to be open-minded when you're shopping. For instance, if you're looking for a 50 hp outboard, but a 60 or 75 hp is available for the same or less money (and the engine is compatible with your boat), then you might consider something slightly different than what you thought you wanted.

Also, make sure to check out the local classified ads to see if local dealers are having any sales. If you don't see any ads, pick up the phone and call around.

Remember: if you don't ask, you won't know.

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch – Or Is There?
By buying an eligible product during a specific time frame, you really can get a lot of value for your money. Many manufacturers offer sales incentives to manage inventories and introduce new products. Consumers can benefit by way of discounts, rebates, additional warranties, and other "freebies".

Make sure you read and understand every word of the fine print; missing one detail could negate the entire promotion. Some key points to look for include:

Participating Dealer: Just because the outboard manufacturer is offering a promotion, it doesn't mean the dealer must participate. A dealer may choose not to be involved in the promotion. The key words in the fine print usually read something to the effect of "see participating dealer/retailer for details".

Eligible Product: Is the engine you're buying the exact model specified to qualify for the good- guy deal?

Timing: Promotions/incentives/rebates have definitive beginning and ending dates, and often require that the product is sold, delivered to the customer, and the warranty registered with the factory within a relatively narrow timeframe. Before you break out your checkbook, ensure that the dealership can meet all the criteria of the promotion.

Extended Warranties: A new outboard has a factory limited warranty, which is a good thing, but for only a few bucks more, you can purchase an Extended Service Contract (commonly called an Extended Warranty) to protect your investment long after the manufacturer's limited warranty has expired.

Be warned—not all extended warranties are created equal. Some require a deductible for warranty repairs and others provide declining levels of protection as the years go by—or frequently, a combination of both.

Take the time to read the extended service contracts from the various manufacturers (and third-party providers), and do an apples-to-apples comparison of what each warranty covers and which is best for you. Hypothetically, a three-year extended warranty from one manufacturer might be a better value than a four-year warranty from another manufacturer. Yes, warranties are a dull read, but you owe it to yourself to go through the details to make sure your boat is on the water for as long as possible.
Obtain a copy of any promotion/rebate/incentive and extended warranty to save for future reference; keep these documents in a safe place along with your boat's other important papers.

Trust is Good, but Get It in Writing
The dealer might be a neighbor, fishing buddy, or a complete stranger. Whatever the case, business is business, so get everything in writing, particularly information regarding pricing, promotions, factory warranties and extended service contracts.

Have each detail as a line item on the bill of sale (i.e. Free 3-Year Yamaha Extended Service Contract per the Yamaha "Two Ways to Save Sales Event" Retail Promotion). Anything discussed and promised should be clearly stated in writing to avoid misunderstandings later.

We're Willing to Work With You
Yeah, things are tough out there, but companies like Yamaha know how important time on the water is – we're boaters, too – so keep checking with us at for updates on the latest products, boating news, and ways to save money on new Yamaha outboards.