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Data Tracker: Price-range searches for popular boats

Of more than 27 million internal searches on BoatTrader.com in 2010, the most common boat types selected by visitors indicated a preference for vessels that were good vehicles for entertainment, excitement and serious fishing. At the top of the list were pontoon boats and deckboats, personal watercraft and saltwater fishing boats.

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Within those most-searched categories, we focused this month on the price ranges that many shoppers set when conducting a search, and we've chosen to publish the median low and high prices entered as most representative of a typical search. (Average prices, we noted, were skewed by anomalous entries, particularly at the high end.)

Comparing new-boat prices to the median price ranges drawn from our database, it was evident that most visitors are in the market for a deal on a used boat. That's not too surprising, given that the National Marine Manufacturers Association recently reported that more than 80 percent of boats sold in recent years were used.

More often than not, the low end of a search starts at $5,000, and in only half of the categories does it extend beyond $20,000. Where performance matters - either for speed or the ability to run offshore - price ranges searched extended higher. Examples are saltwater fishing and high-performance boats, with median highs of $30,000 and $35,000, respectively. The same holds true for ski boats and wakeboard boats ($25,000) and boats with accommodations, such as houseboats ($50,000). Although not represented in the top 10, the high end of the price ranges searched for motoryachts, trawlers and sailing catamarans extended to, or close to, $100,000.

This article originally appeared in the April 2011 issue.

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