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Old 10-02-2019, 12:13   #76
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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Now is the time to buy a older boat.
When we were looking for a sail boat in the thirty foot area, three years ago, there was a lot to choose from that were in very good shape. We purchased a 1977 Bristol 29.9 put a bunch of work into it, including a new engine and came out 50% less cash outlay than buying a new sail boat of the same size, equally equiped. We are presently in the Bahamas 🇧🇸 cruiseing. So do not let anyone tell you that older boats are to far gone to purchase, fix up and sail, it is simply not true.

Fair winds,
There will not be a better time in the future to buy a used boat.

In the late 90's and early 2000's, there were a lot of great used boats on the market, that were built in the late 70's and early 80's (before the oil crisis, FPR cost cutting, and staggering inflation driving new boat prices astronomically).

This was the hay day of boat production.

Everyone wanted a boat, and they were being built like crazy.

Within 10 years or less, those boaters either retired from sailing, (meaning a slightly used boat, full of great stuff), or were moving up, (meaning a boat that had been owned, maintained, improved by an avid sailor, but where some stuff would be transferred to the new boat, but the sell was "motivated" not be carrying two boats).

These boats, being well maintained and upgraded, held their purchase price, as the price of new boats, from the mid 80s onward, escalated dramatically in price, and soon, the original value retention rule was lost.

Since the mid 80's, the ability of the general population to purchase a significant new vessel has declined (per capita).

What this means is that fewer and fewer "middle-class" vessels have been manufactured each year.

As the classic plastic on the market has aged and value declined (along with their now 3, 4, or 5 serial owners) a few have been maintained and upgraded very well, but many have been let go.

So what is happening today, is that what once was a $40K boat, ($100K+ in todays' dollars), was last sold to it's 5th owner for $15K.

That owner, often doesn't even bother with a survey, performs some very shoddy work (if any) and the boat loses whatever value it had left.

So today, there are a few very well cared for 70's to mid 80's boats left, and the numbers are declining daily.

We recently had a 90's Pearson 323 come up for sail in our area (very rare), and were intrigued by the walkthrough transom, and incredible centre island V-berth.

So I went to have a look.

Saturated decks (and likely the balsa cored hull too) but what was so disappointing besides this, was the lack of quality construction.

I believe most higher volume production boats faced the same issue.

As quality boat builders were going out of business left, right, and centre, the remainders stayed viable by cost reduction measures, and increasing production to fill the void.

It was a disaster with respect to boat quality.

Now, these late 80's early 90's boats are on the market, and many are far worse off than their 70's and early 80's predecessors, if the latter had been maintained at all.

By the time we hit 2000, the builders were being forced still forced to cost cut, but with increasing demand to correct the atrocious quality of the 90's.

They did so with cheaper materials (plastic veneered particle board) but with more advanced manufacturing technologies (integrated grid structure and vacuum bagging / infusion), capable of producing a decent boat, and with ongoing price escalation to ridiculous but not totally obscene.

As this occurred, things like "Charter Programs" and low interest rates, enabled some middle-class to afford boats.

The charter program boats were put through rigorous service, and most survived surprisingly well, being put out to pasture, hopefully, before too far gone.

So here we are approaching 2020. The number of "middle-class" boats being built is at an all time low, because frankly, their is no such thing anymore.

So as "middle-class" boat production has continuously fallen, and the "quality used fleet" becomes more aged, the opportunity for good value in used boats, will progressively diminish.

Today is the best day to buy a used boat. Tomorrow will be either more deteriorated good old boats, or the much higher cost, quality newer boats, but that are way smaller in numbers.
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Old 10-02-2019, 15:42   #77
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

RamblinRod, Are you referring only to sailboats?
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Old 10-02-2019, 16:32   #78
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

I'll listen to Rod ramble any day. That was brilliant!
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Old 10-02-2019, 22:10   #79
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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RamblinRod, Are you referring only to sailboats?
Sail is what my experience is in.

Should have also indicated this is based on my experience in the North American market.

For power, I suspect a little different as so much value is in the engine and gas will depreciate much faster than a diesel.

Would be interested in hearing from those with experience in power how much their findings deviate from mine in sail.
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Old 10-02-2019, 22:38   #80
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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That's actually part of the problem, there isn't a market for "volume". Not only are the boat builders competing with each other, they are competing with 40 years of used boats that are ,at least, right now still usable

That's why I think, over time, the market for used boats will become more expensive and not the other way around.
Not just any old used boats but the ones that survive the shreder and keel smelter.

Kind of like the used horse market in the automobile age.
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Old 11-02-2019, 06:34   #81
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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For power, I suspect a little different as so much value is in the engine and gas will depreciate much faster than a diesel.
The power boat market is also facing it's own evolution. Besides sailboats, I owned a couple of cabin type powerboats in the 28' range. The type of boats you would spend the weekend on, but not really live on. Typically those boats came with twin I/O gas motors. The next step up was actual cruisers that were typically over 30' long and probably had diesel inboards.

Today, that segment of powerboats is very different. There are less "weekenders" available. Of the ones that are new, they are now equipped with multiple outboard motors. Even larger cruisers are coming with multiple outboard motors. The gasoline I/O powered boats will be going the way of 8-track tapes..........

As someone pointed out, think ramblinrod pointed out, the value is in the motor. It either works or it doesn't. If it doesn't, the boat has almost no value at all. Sailboats are slightly different. Their systems can be in all state of repair. Standing rigging, running rigging, the actual sails and of course the motor can all be in different conditions. Leading to boats that have wildly different values.................
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:05   #82
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Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
Sail is what my experience is in.



Should have also indicated this is based on my experience in the North American market.



For power, I suspect a little different as so much value is in the engine and gas will depreciate much faster than a diesel.



Would be interested in hearing from those with experience in power how much their findings deviate from mine in sail.


I often disagree with you, but agree with your earlier post.

My experience is with power boats, and they often with a few exceptions donít hold their value as well as a good quality sailboat.
Largely due to operating expense.
To actually fish a long weekend in a decent sized Sportfisherman, your looking at a couple brand fuel bill for one weekend, then to maintain those motors isnít cheap, and the type that owns one is still employed or very well off as a retiree.
They donít want an old boat, and the people that can afford to operate a large power boat, donít want an old boat, they can afford new or close to new.
The exception is for a few that want one of the classics, and they can be very expensive to both buy and to maintain.
By the time a larger power boat has decreased in value to say $50,000, they are often pieces of junk.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:01   #83
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

A question came to mind after reading ramblinrod's comments surrounding the loss of "middle-class" boats that were more available from mfgs. in the 70's, 80's & 90's, and perhaps more affordable due to better economic conditions in the same era. I'm mainly focused on sailboats, but my question doesn't necessarily exclude powerboats.

As discussed, we're all aware of the glut of boats on the market and why, and the resulting buyer's market that's been the norm for awhile now. In the case of my own boat, I have what I believe to be some pretty reliable estimates from surveyors and others of what it would cost to mfg. my boat in today's dollars. But is there any way to determine how much older used boats may have sold for when new? Perhaps this could then be easily translated into today's dollars, and we could better determine how they compare to modern boats. I've never purchased nor shopped for new boats, but I imagine they're not exactly sold with MSRP "sticker prices" affixed. Does anyone know how to research this, or maybe recollects what, for e.g., a new Pearson 323 may have sold for back in the day?
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Old 11-02-2019, 13:49   #84
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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Originally Posted by Exile View Post
A question came to mind after reading ramblinrod's comments surrounding the loss of "middle-class" boats that were more available from mfgs. in the 70's, 80's & 90's, and perhaps more affordable due to better economic conditions in the same era. I'm mainly focused on sailboats, but my question doesn't necessarily exclude powerboats.

As discussed, we're all aware of the glut of boats on the market and why, and the resulting buyer's market that's been the norm for awhile now. In the case of my own boat, I have what I believe to be some pretty reliable estimates from surveyors and others of what it would cost to mfg. my boat in today's dollars. But is there any way to determine how much older used boats may have sold for when new? Perhaps this could then be easily translated into today's dollars, and we could better determine how they compare to modern boats. I've never purchased nor shopped for new boats, but I imagine they're not exactly sold with MSRP "sticker prices" affixed. Does anyone know how to research this, or maybe recollects what, for e.g., a new Pearson 323 may have sold for back in the day?
I kinda disagree with the statement that we are in a "buyers" market.

I hear this a lot (mostly from inexperienced buyers).

I think if anything we are in a "scroungers" market.

There is currently a large supply of low value / low quality used boats, that experienced owners don't want.

To buy these and bring them up to snuff, is more expensive (time and money) than to buy a high quality, well maintained used boat.

Many newbies buy these for a seemingly small amount and think they scored a "deal-of-a-lifetime".

When in reality, the owner should have paid the newbie to take it off their hands.

It is very rare to get a spectacular deal on an old, high quality, well maintained boat, as anything decent gets snapped up pretty quick for an appropriate price, by experienced boaters who are constantly watching the used market.

Once one gets up to the 30 ft = $30K+, 35 ft = 50K+, and 40 ft = $80K+, sailboat, if they are priced appropriate based on original quality, age, and current condition, the seller doesn't really have to flex on selling price.

As always, one pretty much gets what they pay for.

Exception: Substantially over-priced boats (for what they are).

So lets assume one loves to work on boats instead of sail them, and completely disregard time spent working on it....

Lets set a baseline of "Pristine", meaning spectacular, flawless appearance, no repairs or deferred maintenance, fresh repower, new sails, new upholstery, fast/fresh bottom, new electronics, completely up to date maintenance logs recorded from day 1, many new enhancements over original (windlass, solar, wind, stack pack, etc, etc, etc.)

Lets compare the venerable 1980 Catalina 30.

In "Pristine Condition", this should sell for about $40K.

If one buys one for $30K, it likely needs $12K worth of work to be as good. ($42K+ total)

For $25K, it likely needs $20K ($45K+)

For $20K, it needs $28K ($48K+)

For $15K, it needs $35K ($50K+)

...and so on.

Now I understand that not everyone needs or even wants their boat to be "pristine", but it is pretty much always lower cost to buy a boat already in your desired standard, than to buy one and "fix it up" to that same standard.

Tell us how you can you be so sure RamblinRod?

Because, every piece of equipment or maintenance product the previous owner put on that boat, lost value the instant they did so (and all of their time spent putting it in or on); whereas you will have to buy everything brand new. (If you buy used products, the value increase decreases with age to the point where the used part addition adds no real value.)

It is almost always (very rare exception) impossible to buy a boat and fix it up for lower cost than it could have been purchased in that condition in the first place.

Based on what RamblinRod?

I consult boaters on this very thing, almost every day, and have to talk them through the "holy $%%&" moment, when they learn how much it will be (in materials alone) to change the boat from what they bought to what they want.

If it weren't true, lots of people would quit their day job, buy up these old boats and fix them up for profit, leaving all boats on the used market in "pristine" condition.

Nobody is and very, very, very few of them are.

This is the "proof in the puddin'." ;-)
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:08   #85
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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A question came to mind after reading ramblinrod's comments surrounding the loss of "middle-class" boats that were more available from mfgs. in the 70's, 80's & 90's, and perhaps more affordable due to better economic conditions in the same era. I'm mainly focused on sailboats, but my question doesn't necessarily exclude powerboats.
Middle class boats of the 70s and 80s didn't have GPS and all the extras that have priced new boats out of the market. Boats were basic and ppl read maps. I just saw a new 31 foot center console (grady- white or boston whaler) listed for $400K USD. That's nuts. I'm sort of surprised that the Chinese haven't disrupted the boating market with basic, affordable boats like so many other aspects of the economy. I'd blame the manufacturers for the lack of middle class boats. Or maybe younger generations are more into the club scene, maybe more get their adventure from portable electronics, maybe single parenthood, maybe student loan debt, maybe values have changed, but not for lack of jobs.
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:25   #86
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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Middle class boats of the 70s and 80s didn't have GPS and all the extras that have priced new boats out of the market. Boats were basic and ppl read maps. I just saw a new 31 foot center console (grady- white or boston whaler) listed for $400K USD. That's nuts. I'm sort of surprised that the Chinese haven't disrupted the boating market with basic, affordable boats like so many other aspects of the economy. I'd blame the manufacturers for the lack of middle class boats.

It's not the electronics really... it's labour to make a boat. I am friends with a Canadian maker of small fiberglass boats, and the costs to make even a decent 16' dinghy are prohibitive. He's finally packed it in.


I also wonder why the Chinese or other low wage countries haven't got into large-scale boatbuilding. I know for example that Thailand factories have been producing top quality windsurfers and stand-up boards for over 20 years, which have a lot of labour and fine finishing. I think it's because the global market for any kind of sailboat is simply too small. Now if the Chinese people themselves were to take up sailing... that would be a different story.


The millenials I know are saddled with student debt, and struggling to get into the housing market. They have even less disposable cash than their parents and grandparents.
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:40   #87
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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It's not the electronics really... it's labour to make a boat. I am friends with a Canadian maker of small fiberglass boats, and the costs to make even a decent 16' dinghy are prohibitive. He's finally packed it in.
Agree. I think electronics adds very little to the cost, or the value, of a boat. I certainly discount or ignore pretty much any reference to them when boat buying. At least this is the case for sail. I donít have any experience with power.

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I also wonder why the Chinese or other low wage countries haven't got into large-scale boatbuilding. I know for example that Thailand factories have been producing top quality windsurfers and stand-up boards for over 20 years, which have a lot of labour and fine finishing. I think it's because the global market for any kind of sailboat is simply too small. Now if the Chinese people themselves were to take up sailing... that would be a different story.
In the 70s, and maybe into the 80s, there was a whole raft of boats built in Taiwanese yards. Many of the well known high quality ďblue waterĒ boat of that era were built there, and many of those are still plying the oceans blue ó mine being one. Iíve always assumed it was the conjunction of cheap, quality labour, along with access to raw materials like teak.

I wonder why this stopped Ö or has it?

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The millenials I know are saddled with student debt, and struggling to get into the housing market. They have even less disposable cash than their parents and grandparents.
Yup. Itís not because millennial are lazy, or would rather play with their iThings. The core reason they are not getting into the cruising boat market is basic economics. This is the first generation which is clearly poorer than their parents (Gen-X might fit have been the first, but is too small to know for sure).
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Old 11-02-2019, 19:51   #88
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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It's not the electronics really... it's labour to make a boat.
Power boats have more electronics and SAT TVs than sail, but yes, I should have said that the cost of labor is too expensive. And labor for repairs too. Too many mechanics recovering from addiction and the temptations of island time doesn't help the used boat market either.
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Old 11-02-2019, 20:02   #89
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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, but new boat prices just keep getting more outrageous. ..... Certainly not younger people.

If you think the price of new boats is high you should have seen in the mid 80's. I saw the C&C builders file on a 1988 C&C 38 I owned. The dealer price was 115K US if I recall. In 2006 I could buy at 36 ft Catalina brand new for 160 CDN. Keep in mind that that is 1988 wholesale to 2006 retail. Inflation should have pushed that Catalina into the 200's... But they make the hulls thinner and everything is CNC now...



Now given that most younger people are paid a pittance it should be no surprise that they will not be buying our boats from us.
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Old 11-02-2019, 20:48   #90
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Re: Will there be a glut of boats for sale once Baby Boomers retire from boating?

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What I remember from my first trip to Key West was the surprising number of cheap old boats in what Iím certain was insanely expensive Marinaís, and they had obviously been sitting there for awhile, unoccupied. I mean to me $200 a night for a 40 ft Boat is insane, but I bought one night to let the Wife rest. We had a bad night before.
This always surprises me too. The rents on our shiny new marina are pretty good value (compared with other locations in this country and other countries I've been in). But I guess that at least half of the boats moored here are worth less than a couple of years' mooring fees. Since it's only been open less than a year this can't be because of historical anomalies -- everyone here has opted to book a berth and pay monthly for it within the last year.
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