In the sixth and final part of our series on buying a center console boat, we asked our panel of experts about what to look for when it comes to warranties. Here’s what they had to say:
John Caballero, SeaVee Boats
“A factory warranty protects the buyer from manufacturing defects. Make certain that you have received a written copy of the warranty and understand its terms and conditions before finalizing your boat purchase.
“Most boat builders will warranty their products to be free of structural defects due to substandard materials and/or workmanship. Look for a minimum of five years of boat hull coverage to ensure that any hidden defect has the time to make its presence known, so it can be properly repaired without financial consequence to the boat owner.
“The boat’s engines, as well as the accessory items typically installed on a boat, will usually have separate warranty terms depending upon the item’s manufacturer. Sometimes, extended warranties can be negotiated into the boat purchase and even obtained free of charge as part of a sales promotion at a boat show or other event.
“SeaVee Boats warrants each hull to be free from structural defects for a period of ten years. The warranty protects the original buyer and the resale value of his boat, as the warranty is transferrable if the boat is certified prior to resale. Factory service personnel perform any warrantable repairs for all customers throughout southeast Florida. Otherwise, we use a certified independent service network for repairs practically anywhere in the world.”
Joan Maxwell, Regulator Marine
“A customer will want to consider the length of the warranty coverage, what is covered, what is excluded, and whether or not the warranty is transferable.
“Also, does the company have a reputation for standing behind its products? If there’s a problem, how quickly does the company resolve the issue? Social media and blogs can be sources of information on any resolved issues. In addition, the customer can look at a company’s CSI (customer satisfaction index) scores. If the company has low CSI scores, there’s a strong possibility it has higher warranty claims.
“It’s critical that the buyer register his boat with the manufacturer to activate the warranty. He should further understand how and to whom he should report any possible warranty issues, and what activities could void the warranty.
“Regulator has a one-year, stem-to-stern warranty and a five-year structural hull warranty. We are also a multi-year recipient of the National Marine Manufacturers Association CSI Award representing the highest level of customer satisfaction.”
Dennis Tilden, Boston Whaler
“A buyer should look for the following: What is the length of the structural warranty on the hull, and is it prorated? What is the length of the component parts warranty, and does it cover parts and labor? Is the warranty transferable to a new owner?
“The buyer should also consider the exclusions to the warranties. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure that all service timetables are met, and to make sure to have authorized dealerships do the repairs. Or does the manufacturer require the customer to bring or ship the boat back to the factory for repairs instead of having the work done at a local dealer?
“Keeping accurate records of repair work done, and keeping and maintaining the boat well will help with any warranty claims.
“Boston Whaler has a ten-year structural hull warranty that is transferable to new buyers as long as the new buyer registers the boat with us. We have a three-year component warranty that covers parts and labor on items installed at the factory.”
Alan Lang, Scout Boats
“A structural hull warranty is very important, but what’s more important is the company behind it. A buyer should ask himself: Is this company a strong financial company and will it be around when and if I need their warranty assistance?
“What is this company’s reputation? Everyone has issues. It’s how the boat builder stands behind those issues that define it. Never be scared to ask about the company’s financial stability or do your own research to find out about how they’ve handled past situations. There will always be extremists on either side; it’s the overall consensus that a consumer should consider.
“Also, beware of ‘lifetime warranties’, as most of them mean nothing. You don’t find fine automobiles with lifetime warranties. There’s usually fine print within these warranties that make them less valuable than most others out there.
“Scout boats come with a limited, three-year, stem-to-stern warranty that covers everything on the boat for three years – parts and labor for the first year, and parts for the second and third years.”
Without expert input from the following manufacturers, we could not have produced the six informative articles in our center console series. Next time you’re in the market for a boat, please reach out to them and let them know you found them in All At Sea magazine.
THANKS TO OUR EXPERTS!