WHY BOATS ARE MORE EXPENSIVE, OR ARE THEY?
Mid November I visited my native country, the Netherlands. My one week visit was to attend the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, the METS. The show is located at the RAI complex and consisted of 13 halls with 1,358 companies from 46 different countries showing a diverse range of marine equipment. A total of 21,086 marine trade people attended and you can quickly understand why, when you see the introduction of the latest products at the show.What makes this show so interesting is that every major marine manufacturer will introduce new products,
even if they don’t become available for another model year. The highlight of the show is the prestigious DAME award, which is given to the most innovative product introduced at the show. What impressed me most about the show was the range of products that I had not seen displayed at any other show. This show is really geared to the yacht designers, the custom mega yacht builders, the production boat builders and purchasing agents.
It is at this show that I came to realize why boats are getting so expensive. The main reason on the unscientific poll I took was that today’s customers want to make their boat as easy to use as possible. Today’s new power boat might have Pod Drives (Volvo-Penta IPS, MerCruiser Cummins ZEUS and ZF Marine), a hydraulic transom lift, a help station that even an F16 fighter pilot would envy, bow thruster, at least one flat screen, complete video interface viewed from the helm, an induction stove top, etc. . You don’t use a wheel; you use a joy stick and can dock the boat almost as easy as a car.
Today’s new sailboats may have electric or hydraulic winches, sail drives, bow thrusters, furling booms, the latest in electronics at the helm and nav station, induction stove in the galley along with refrigeration, freezer, flat screen TVs, full spring mattresses, etc.. We are seeing more sail drives installed on new boats, which gives 15% more thrust for the same horsepower and you can even get the Dock and Go system that links the bow thruster with the engine so that you can dock the boat with a joystick and makes it very easy in close quarters.
When you look back on your first boat, it was probably very simple. I remember when we did not have self tailing winches, you got ice for your icebox, your electrical panel was maybe 5 circuits with glass fuses, if you had a Loran, you had to dial-in the numbers as you watched the peaks in the 3” tube and you felt great if you got within a mile of your mark. This just lets you know how old I am.
Boating is much easier today and the industry is making it more user friendly every day. What is also important to know is that many of the above items can also be installed on your existing boat and you can justify it if you love the boat you have and plan to keep it for a length of time. So, as you go through the boat show season, take a look at all that is out there. If you make your boat easier to use and comfortable, you can justify the cost!