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Budgeting for future 4788 purchase

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    Boats do not depreciate like cars, but this is a common misconception among folks entering the used boat marketplace for the first time.

    We bought our 4788 28 months ago for $206K and last week we turned down an unsolicited offer for $215K. For that matter...we'd have turned down $225K. What makes you think there should be a 7% straight-line depreciation on these boats?

    We bought our 2003 Mainship 390 for $143K in early 2014 and sold it last month (5 & 1/2 years later) for $139K. With issues. It was in a charter fleet for five years.

    Once do NOT depreciate like cars. Everything depends on the desirability of the model, market demand, maintenence history and condition.

    A 4788 is a 'classic'. There is nothing like it in the (used or new) market for anywhere near the price. If a 4788 or a 490PH is well maintained, has the most desirable options and electronics etc. are kept current, you should expect it will hold it's value or (more likely) appreciate somewhat.

    I think you should expect to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $225K for a 'very nice' 4788 or 490PH in 2020 and adjust upward for inflation over the years going forward.


      I lean towards PCPETE and CENTERLINE. If you are handy and can do the repairs, I prefer buying a boat that has a good hull, engines and transmissions, but needs a lot of system and some interior work at a good price. Rocket science is not needed to work on the systems in boats. Once you have repaired all the systems, not only are you very familiar with your boat, but you have the added bonus of having all NEW systems. Why spend more money on a boat with everything working, their systems are old and will probably fail in the near future. However, if you need to hire a mechanic to do the repairs, the latter would be better.
      Hino W06
      St. Louis, MO
      ”It’s A Wonderful Life”


        I have seen the price for a well found 4788 on the west coast hover around $200K or there abouts for several years.

        Frankly I do not see the price going down any time soon.

        New boats are not going down in price, they are going up. This makes the 4788 a very competitive boat all things considered.

        Regarding what to buy, IE a fixer upper at a bargain price or a well found boat at a significantly higher price, I can tell you that the boats that I have seen, and I bought a true fixer upper do not represent a “value” in the marketplace unless you have the skills and the thousands of labor hours to bring a 4788 from a neglected state to a 100% state. You still are not getting a “bargain” you are trading literally thousands of labor hours for a cheaper price. In my opinion you’d be financially better off buying a more expensive example and using your time at what you are good at, to make money to pay for the more expensive boat.

        Having been through it, If I were in the market for a 4788 today I would find the Very Best maintained and equipped example I could find, negotiate my best deal, and walk away a happy buyer. You can never replicate the hours and dollars put into a boat by a caring owner who does not consider cost as part of the maintenance equation.

        where are we right now​​​​​​???​


          I am a fixer as well.

          Don't get delusional about price being stable, we have had one hell of a run on the economy and old boats do have a tipping point.

          When I bought our 38xx prices we pretty flat at $60-80K I bought a repo needing a bunch of work well below the low point. I did all sorts of repairs and made the boat a very good 38xx. I did a word of mouth sale and was well under my material costs for the time of ownership and still did better than many 38xx on the market at the end of the summer.

          There is depreciation and if the economy isn't strong it is very high and people want to unload the ongoing costs associated with larger boats.
          1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
          1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
          Nobody gets out alive.


            It seems to me that over the next few years there are going to be more people exiting the market than entering it. Baby boomers are aging out of boating and younger people just aren't buying. In the next 5-10 years I expect that there will be a lot of good older (large) boats like the 4788 going on the market and a shortage of people willing or able to afford the annual costs involved in owning them. I can't see how this won't lower prices, but I've been wrong before.

            1998 Bayliner 2858
            7.4L MPI / Bravo III
            Harbour Village Marina - Kenmore WA


            • kwb
              kwb commented
              Editing a comment
              Also another good point coupled with the fact that moorage is becoming more scarce and driving costs up to put even more pressure on the situation.