Some tips for buying a boat at the boat show

Some tips for buying a boat at the boat show

Don Gassaway is a fellow outdoor writer from southern Illinois and often has his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in one of the most beautiful parts of our state.

We’re at the doorstep of the outdoor boat show season.  Most of us who have boats have already put them away for the year.  Some of us are considering a new boat for 2012.

Don wrote up a good piece that help those who are in the market for getting a new boat.  He offers some great ideas and things to consider so that you get the most for your hard earned dollars.

Shopping for a boat just got easier in southern Illinois with this year’s addition of the Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show at The Pavilion, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL.  The show on February 3 - 5, 2012 provides the family in search of a boat, a chance to view all the different models and makes in one place.  It is comparison shopping for the boat buyer.

Boat buying tips such as those that follow can help shoppers find just the right craft for your family.  Approach your shopping trip to the show with an open mind.  Do not rule out a certain kind of boat because of something you once heard about that type of construction or model.

Boat builders are all turning out quality products.  They want your business and strive to produce a quality boat at the best price possible.  It is wise to pay particular attention to the materials and construction of the boat, motor and trailer.

Most modern boats have an assortment of compartments for storage and electronics.  Are they water tight?  Do they open and close with a minimum of noise?  Are they large enough for your needs?

Turning to the carpets, it is important that it will be fade resistant and clean up easily.

Check the safety features of any boat you consider purchasing.  When looking at the engine there is a rule of thumb for horsepower ratings of boats.  A 16-foot boat runs best with a 90-hp engine.  115-hp engines work well with 17-foot craft.  Moving up to the 18-foot boat usually means moving to a 150-hp engine and the 19-foot boat works well with a 200-hp motor.

Generally speaking, for every increase in horsepower one gains about one or 2 miles per hour of speed.  One can save money on engine price and fuel costs by decreasing your demand for horsepower.  There really does not seem to be much change in performance in either event.

New models of engines have moved to 4-stroke engines.  They are quieter, more ecologically sound and save on fuel.  Fuel savings can be as much as 30 to 40 percent.  However, initial price will be higher.

Before signing on the bottom line, it is important to take into consideration the warranty on the boat, engine and trailer.  The purchase of a new boat is an exciting experience that involves significant outlay of money.  Be realistic in your expectations and it will pay dividends for your family for years to come.

As you comparison shop, remember to view all the boats you can at the Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show.  The dealers will be happy to answer all your questions.  They also will have answers to the questions you did not think to ask.

Admission to the show is free and in addition to the boats, there will be displays of fishing tackle and seminars.

The show is produced by Williamson County Tourism Bureau and Youth Outdoor Education Foundation.   For vendor information contact Dwight Hoffard at John A. Logan College, 618-985-2828 extension 8208.

Free information regarding motel accommodations and points of interest is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, Illinois 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99.  Information is also available online at:, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website.  The e-mail address is:


The Southern Illinois Boat & Fishing Show  is not a sponsor of Illinois Outdoors.

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