Wholesale dealer & bank boats
Dealer auctions like www.manheim.com and www.adesa.com sell hundreds of boats every week at wholesale prices. Access to the auctions is limited to licensed dealers, who buy boats for resale or to fill orders from their customers. Ability to inspect the boat prior to purchase is limited, although auction provide photos and a basic condition report.
Banks use dealer auctions to sell boats repossessed from customers, who failed to make payments on bank financed new boats. Bank repossessed boats are usually newer models with low hours. Such boats are usually purchased by used boat dealers for resale.
Boat clubs, boat rental and boat charter companies also sell at boat dealer auctions. Their boats have very high hours and excessive wear, but are good mechanically with all maintenance up to date. Exporters and foreign buyers bid on such boats, attracted by very low prices.
New boat dealers sell used boats, they got on trade from customers, who buy new boats and trade in their older boats. Some boaters change boats every couple years in this manner. Such boats usually sell somewhere between wholesale and retail price, as new boat dealers have the option of selling traded in used boats at their dealership at full retail prices.
If you can handle minor mechanical and cosmetic work and are not afraid of bidding on a “cat in a bag” - you can save about 25% off retail in the summer, or as much as 50% during a snowstorm sometime between Christmas and New Year holidays. I got my Auction Access card in 2006 and speak from experience.