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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Storm Deals

Most of you have seen pictures and video of the recent hurricane destruction. One really dramatic visual is of all the boats damaged by the storms. Ever wonder what that does to the second hand market?

While I don't want to sound like a vulture, it's a fact of life that wide scale disasters affect markets. The used boat market happens to be one of the more visible ones.

There's two things that most people think of. One is that there should be a lot of handyman specials out there. The second common thought is that with all those boats out of action, demand for boats should be high.

While there are some amazing deals for damaged boats, you have to be really careful. Make sure you have the skills, time, and place to work on a boat. Storm damaged boats are not like other older boats in need of repair. Boats that age through normal use have common and well documented issues. A buyer can research the problems areas and keep an eye out for them. A boat that's been picked off a house with a crane will have issues that are out of the ordinary. Close and in-depth inspections are in order. Many “free” boats will be too expensive to fix.

What about prices going up because so many boats were destroyed? It's not that straight forward. Many boat owners, who's boats were nowhere near the storms, suddenly decided to put their boats on the market. The once vague notion that hurricanes might be an issue becomes a pressing worry. Many are scared of being caught on their boat in a storm. Others don't want to worry about finding a safe place to store their boat during storm season. Insurance increases can also be a factor.

Then there are market forces that have nothing to do with hurricanes. This time of year, here in New England, the boat market has a lot of good deals. The boating season is quickly coming to an end. Boats will need to be pulled out of the water and put in storage. Owners are often willing to make a deal so that weatherization is someone else's problem.

While I'm at it, beware of used cars that were in the flood zone. They may look like a good deal. Then the electrical systems start to fail soon after you buy them. They can also rust in odd places because water gets trapped where it normally doesn't get into.



  1. In Hurricane Prepper country, finding a used generator in pawn shops can find some real deals. Many of them purchased when hurricane appeared to be coming, then changed course. The original store will take back if still NIB but with restocking fee, many choose to sell to pawn shop instead.

  2. I had heard a good bit bout the issue with storm damaged cars, and I wondered about storm damaged aircraft. Never thought about the boats until now. Does seem like a person with the right skill set and know how could get a nice deal.

    1. Pennies on the dollar. Sometimes they can get one for the price of hauling it away. Of course, that can be a challenge.