Dive into Boating

Steering Buyers into Calmer Waters

By Kelly Louiseize

Border lockdowns and province-wide restrictions leave the closest body of water to escape to, and people are coming in droves to purchase their first boat or scale up, says Cole Ritchie, owner of North American Yachts.

The St. Catherines broker sells sailboats and cruisers worth as much as (CAD) $1.5 Million down to runabouts worth (CAD) $30,000 to Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and even California residents.

“It’s like the housing market right now and most of the big stuff is being bought in Canada,” Ritchie says.

The stronger dollar is bringing back memories of 2014, when people north of the border were receiving more for their boat from American buyers, he says.

“Since COVID-19, sales have been strong.”

A Few Pointers for Newbies

To keep boat buying enjoyable, he suggested a few pointers for newbies wading into the sport.

  • First, he suggests looking at price points. “You don’t want to overpay in a market like this. It could change in a year.” Do your homework and research the kind of boat you are purchasing. Find out what it sold for and compare it against your seller’s asking price.
  • Second, he suggested evaluating what works for you. If you are buying a 35-footer with the intentions of moving up in five years “I guarantee that is going to come sooner than you think.”
  • Third, where you are boating, and the type of activities onboard can determine your selection. So too can gas; it’s a huge consideration. On top of registration, docking fees, spring open and winterizing, the sport can be expensive.


Yet, it hasn’t deterred the wave of 30-something-year-olds from purchasing their first boat.

“I’m glad to see the sport isn’t lost.”

Ritchie has also sold of few coast guard vessels for charter businesses. It is up to the new owners to comply with regulations from Transportation Canada that require installation of chart display information by October 2021, and bridge navigation watch alarm by January 2022, along with ample life jackets.

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