Best State To Buy A Boat | LakeWizard

Key Takeaways

  • Consider the boat's purpose and your budget when choosing a state to buy from.
  • Research online, attend a boat show, and consult with experts to find the right boat.
  • Compare prices, negotiate, and factor in maintenance and insurance costs.
  • Follow boating safety rules, wear a life jacket, and check equipment before each trip.

If you're in the market for a boat, the state you buy it in matters. Let's take a look at some top contenders for the best state to buy a boat!

Florida and Michigan are both popular options, offering plenty of access to waterways and a thriving boating culture. California and Texas also have a lot to offer in terms of boating opportunities, so it all depends on what you're looking for.

I have invaluable knowledge on what makes a great boat and how to navigate the waters safely. From reading industry publications to attending conferences and boat shows, I know where to find the best expert knowledge to stay on top of the latest trends and innovations in the boating world. Let me share my knowledge and enthusiasm with you!

Table of contents


What are the best states for purchasing boats

Choosing the right state to buy a boat can make all the difference. That's why I've put together this guide of boating states ranked best to help you find the best state to acquire a boat in the US. Let's take a closer look at some of the top contenders for people owning boats:

Florida: The boating capital of the US

Florida is one of the best states to buy a boat due to its vast coast, warm weather, and abundance of marinas and boat dealerships. Florida's thriving boating industry offers many new and used boats, from sailboats to luxury a yacht and a boat.

There's no boat sales tax in Florida, making it a popular choice for boat owners who want to save on sales tax. Whether you're looking for a boat to cruise along the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, Florida has plenty of options to suit your needs.

With no off season in the Florida sea, you can enjoy your new boat anytime you want. However, keep in mind that Florida's popularity as a boating destination may also mean higher demand and prices and sales tax. It's essential to do your research, compare boat prices, and negotiate to get the best deal possible.

Michigan: A boater's paradise in the great lakes

It is a popular state for boat owners to buy a boat and prospective buyers. It boasts more than 3,200 miles of shoreline along the largest lake, and numerous inland and waterways. The state has a long history of boat manufacturing, making it a great place to find many new and old boats at competitive prices.

Some of the top boat manufacturers based in Michigan include Beneteau, New Mexico, Chris-Craft, and Tiara Yacht. Additionally, It has a thriving boating community, with many marinas, boat clubs, and events throughout the year.

The state also offers easy access to other cities in the Midwest and Canada. Whether you're looking for a fishing boat, pontoon, or yacht, Michigan is definitely a state worth considering for your boat purchase.

California: From surfing to sailing

California is an excellent state to buy a boat for several reasons. It offers a vast range of options, from luxurious yachts to affordable fishing boats, and has a thriving boating culture with plenty of marinas, boat ramps, sailing and fish spots for most boats.

Additionally, California has a favorable climate for boating, with sunny weather and warm temperatures for most of the year. This state also has numerous boat dealerships and brokers, which means you'll have plenty of choices and competitive prices.

Moreover, California has some of the most scenic waterways in the country, such as Tampa Bay, Lake Tahoe and the Sacramento Delta, making it an ideal place for recreational boating.

Texas: Big boating on big waterways

Everything's bigger in Texas, and that includes boating. With over 3,700 miles of shoreline, Texas offers plenty of opportunities for boat ownership. Plus, with its central location, matter Texas is a great place to start if you're planning on exploring other parts of the US by boat with less property taxes.

South Carolina: Boater’s paradise

South Carolina is a boater's paradise, offering over 187 square miles of coast line and numerous rivers. The state is home to popular boating destinations such as Lake Murray and Charleston Harbor and might be cheaper.

Boaters in South Carolina can enjoy many activities, from fishing and water sports to cruising and sightseeing. It has a strong boating community and plenty of marinas and boatyards to choose from, making it a great place to buy and own a boat.

State Key Features
Florida Boating capital of the US, warm weather year-round, diverse boating options, competitive prices than other states with more people
Michigan The Great Lakes state, numerous lakes and waterways, boat-friendly culture, reasonable prices
California High-end boating options, diverse boating locations, beautiful coastline, large second-hand boat market
Texas Chesapeake Bay, rich boating history, excellent marinas and boatyards, competitive prices matter
South Carolina Beautiful coastline, rich boating culture, numerous marinas and boatyards, affordable prices for boat buying, and cheaper.

Factors to consider when buying a boat

Here are some key example to keep in mind when buying a boat


Determine your budget and stick to it when buying a boat. Consider not just the initial purchase price, but also ongoing costs such as maintenance, fuel, and storage to buy boats.

Intended use

Think about how you plan to use the boat - fishing, cruising, watersports, or a mix of activities? This will help you choose the right type and size of boat for your needs among most boats.

New vs. used

Decide whether you want to buy a new or used boat. New boats come with warranties and the latest features, but may cost more money. Old boats are generally more affordable, but may require more maintenance.


Boats require regular maintenance to keep them in good working order before you buy boats. Consider whether you have the time and resources to properly care for your boat, or whether you'll expect to hire a professional to help.

How to get a boat to buy in a given state

Here are some steps to help you find and purchase your dream boat from national marine manufacturers association:

Research boat dealers

Start by searching for boat dealers in the state where you want to buy your boat. Look for dealers who specialize in the type of boat you're interested in, and check their inventory online for a better deal in Florida.

Attend boat shows

Boat shows are a great way to see a wide range of boats in one place. Look for shows in the state where you want to buy, and attend to see the latest models and talk to experts in the industry.

Check online listings

Websites such as Boat Trader, Yacht World, facebook marketplace, and Craigslist can be great resources for finding boats for sale in a specific state. Narrow down your search by location, boat type, and price range for a good deal of registered boats.

Consideration Explanation
Financing Consider your financing options. You can either pay in cash, finance the boat through a bank or credit union, or use a marine lender. Shop around for the best interest rates and terms and pay taxes on registered boats.
Inspection and Survey Before making an offer on a boat, have it inspected and surveyed by a professional. This can help identify any issues that may affect the boat's value or safety of registered boats taxes.
Negotiation Once you've found boat yards you're interested in, negotiate with the seller to get the best price possible as a good indicator.

Boating safety tips for a fun and safe experience

Boating is a fun and exciting activity, but it's important to stay safe on the registered watercraft. Here are some boating safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear a Life Jacket: Always wear a properly fitting and approved life jacket. It could save your life in case of an accident.
  • Check the Weather: Check the weather forecast before heading out and avoid bloating during storms or strong winds.
  • Bring Necessary Equipment: Ensure that you have all the necessary safety equipment on board, including a fire extinguisher, flares, and a first aid kit approved by the census bureau.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Always be aware of your surroundings and keep a lookout for other boats, obstacles, and changing conditions.
  • Don't Drink and Boat: Alcohol impairs your judgment and slows your reaction time. Avoid drinking while boating.
  • Learn Navigation Rules: Familiarize yourself with boating rules and regulations in your area. Follow them to avoid accidents and potential legal issues.
  • Check the Boat's Condition: Before setting out, check the boat's condition, including the engine, fuel, and electrical systems.
  • Follow Capacity Limits: Don't overload the boat with too many people or too much gear. Follow the boat's capacity limits to ensure stability and safety.
  • Take a Boating Safety Course: Consider taking a boating safety course to learn more about safe boating practices.