This past hurricane season was particularly hard on boat owners in both the Caribbean and the Florida and Gulf coasts, thanks to Harvey, Irma and Maria. BoatUS has estimated that more than 64,000 boats were damaged in the United States alone. While for many boat owners these storms have meant a loss, for others, they represented a possible opportunity.

In fact, before Irma had even cleared the coast, many bargain hunters were already looking for deals. But be warned: while this might seem like a great way to get a nice boat at a bargain price, some caution and common sense are needed to avoid purchasing a proverbial hole in the water where your money vanishes faster than light into a black hole.

First and foremost, before rushing off to a hurricane zone to find the perfect boat, it is best to take your time. The better deals on damaged boats will come from insurance sales—since these boats tend to have been worth more prior to a loss than an uninsured boat—and it often takes weeks or even months for the insurance companies to evaluate and arrange for salvage of the boats they insure. As a result, the good deals will not be goneing often results in better deals as there will be more selection in general for buyers.

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