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Boat shows can provide you with an excellent opportunity to compare many different makes and models, all in one location. However, at large boat shows, it can be easy to get distracted by the myriad of new boating products and dealers. Have a plan in place so that you can accomplish your goal of finding the best boat for you and your family.

Check out these boat show tips that can help you save a considerable amount of time and money.

1. Do your research. Research pricing on any boat makes and models that you are interested in before you attend. Many boat manufacturer’s offer boat show specials. Although to feel confident about whether or not you’re getting a good deal, you should know the manufacturer’s suggested retail price in advance of heading to the show.

2. Make a list of questions to bring along. Find out about rebates, warranties, delivery dates, service, training, and any other beneficial features or services.

3. Plan your time wisely. Check the boat show website to see if there is an exhibitor list or floor plan to help you maximize your time. Remember that the best time to have more meaningful conversations with dealers will be as soon as the show opens or late in the afternoon.

4. Call a boat insurance company before making a purchase. Have the insurance company provide you with a quote on the models you are most interested in before making any decisions. Getting a boat insurance quote will help you allocate your finances and plan accordingly.

5. Ask about a sea trial or test drive. Once you narrow down your options, don’t skip the opportunity to take them for a test drive. A test drive will give you first-hand experience with the feel of the different models and how they each handle on the water

6. Dress appropriately and wear a comfortable pair of shoes with non-marking soles, bringing along a sweater or jacket as an extra layer, and wearing clothes that allow for plenty of movement so that you can board boats and open or close hatches. If there is an outdoor in-water boat demo or display, be sure to bring along your sunblock or sunscreen.

7. Find out what your parking options are before you go. If you’re attending a boat show in a city like Miami or Chicago, it can save you a great deal stress and money. Many boat shows offer remote parking areas at more affordable rates and then have shuttles that can bring you right to the doors of the venue.

Attending an upcoming boat show can be an educational and fun experience for your family. If you have kids, include them in the process while teaching them about the responsibilities of boat ownership and maintenance. Ahoy!

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