2015 Toronto Boat Show

Today in Boater’s Chat we start laying the foundation for bowrider boats, pontoon boats and fishing boats information you should consider before taking that leap on that next boat purchase.

The Toronto International Boat Show is just round the corner opening for real business on January 10 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto and yes I will be there for the 29th year In a row…I am one of the old guard! Approximately 80,000 people will attend this show for the love of and excitement boating! In a good year 1000 of you you will strike a deal to buy a new boat at the show….some of you will end up with not so great value for the dollar, some will overpay for the actual quality and performance they receive and yes some of you will do well! Which one of these will you be?

The Toronto Boat Show is one of the most successful boat retail shows in North America and can present a real opportunity to examine perhaps 1800 boats of all types and sizes on display under one roof. All these boats will be all shined up, have exciting display and surrounded by smiling trained salespersons eager to get your business.

Now lets get the basic truths out of the way!

  • All new boats are not created equal…yes I said that!
  • All boats brands retailed with exactly the same engine are not the same when it comes to construction therefore it should follow that retail pricing should also not be the same across all brands.
  • All new boats should float ( with all the plugs in place) and run down the lake and last for years and if you have not had the opportunity to actually water test more than a couple of boats you may not in fact not know if the ride and performance you purchased are best in class or that the ride actually meets your needs.
  • All boats of the same size do not perform underway with the same traits with respect to turning, on plane time and rough water ride.

More than one type of boat can perform the required task for your family…some types better than others on certain days depending on location and intent of activity. The overall average water conditions for say waves should figure prominently in your decision.
There is a factual difference in quality between brands which is normally reflected in pricing. High price does not necessarily mean good or best quality but in order for a boat builder to lower a price point something must be taken away. More for less does not exists in the marine business when it comes to boats regardless of the marketing spin or what that salesperson is selling.

Rough water operation presents challenges to operation and the enjoyment of boating. Not all boats handle rough water well and one of the key factors in boating enjoyment is ride underway!

At the Toronto Boat Show essentially all salespeople are on commission…no real surprise there. Many of the salespeople are hiredguns just hired strictly for the show by various dealers as sometimes they need more staff for the show. The naked truth is that as a commissioned salesperson “you only eat what you kill”. Blunt statement but this was actually used at the TIBS in the pre show meeting by a major marina to its sales staff not long ago. Salespeople are paid to sell their brand say Brand X and to make sure you buy Brand X and not Brand Y. If you are a dealer of only one line of boats…that is what they must sell you…they have on choice. Most boat dealers have a sales target to achieve at the show and a sales manager looking over their back all the time plus the bank account may be getting low as chances are they have not sold a boat in months . Some are good citizens and will point you elsewhere when they cannot meet your needs and…some need a meal!

The Toronto Boat Show costs lots of dough for dealers. Huntsville Marine for example will spend in excess of $45,000 to be at this show. All the dealers are there for one thing only…to sell boats! The management of The Toronto Boat Show wants to keep the name as a show….dealers are not there to show boats it is just too expensive for that.

In the retail boat business there are three types of sales: More for less ( does not actually exist at any real dollar amount ), less for less ( absolutely) and value for the dollar….which can be where low quality with reduced features powered by low horsepower with appropriate asking price or where the received quality, features and horsepower are on even keel.

A boat purchase should be considered a long-term purchase in terms of ownership and perhaps the setup of the relationship with the dealer for service and storage. You may only do this one to three times so it is imperative that you are satisfied with your decision….no buyer’s remorse!