Warranties on boats and related equipment are getting longer as manufacturers find better ways and materials to make their products. The standard "one year and out" policies of the past are giving way to more extensive coverages and longer terms as producers improve quality and need to compete with others offering stronger protection. It's becoming more common to see five to seven year warranties on boat hulls and three to five year warranties on engines. That's encouraging for buyers, but it remains rare to find "blanket" coverage that will warrant a boat from stem to stern plus all the components that make it "go." Incidences of problems are being reduced, though it should be no surprise that a needed repair on something as simple as a bilge pump could keep a boat in dry dock for days or longer.
Buyers of new boats will find that literally everything from the hull to systems contained within in it and products attached to it is covered by some form of limited warranty. They will also find that the various components and pieces are warranted separately. Unlike autos, where separate warranties are typically divided between A, all working car parts and B, the tires, boat warranties will include one for the hull and deck, another for the engine, and others for such systems as electronics, sanitation, galley and as many "add ons" that have been installed, whether at the factory or by the dealer.
For used boats, warranties are not easily defined. Some transfer entirely for the time remaining "under warranty" to the new owner while others simply do not. Or some coverages may transfer while others don't. Transfers can be free or may require a fee. In some cases, if the boat (or component) is under warranty, the coverage period may be extended by paying for it; though extensions are generally not available if warranty has lapsed.
For those planning to keep a boat longer than the warranty period, extended warranty plans are generally available at marine dealerships or can be found on the Internet. Those who feel the costs of these extensions are fair often add them when buying a new boat. An important feature of extended coverage is the ability for the purchaser to pass it on to the next buyer. Of course, the underlying vitality of the extended warranty entity and its relationship with the servicer will determine how well and quickly the repair process is handled.
The challenge in getting whatever needs fixing repaired will depend largely on the interest and ability of the selling dealer or servicer, and often the owner needs to get involved in the process. Knowing that, savvy boat buyers place more emphasis on finding qualified dealers and ordering products or systems that have good reputations for reliability and service.
In worst case situations, where neither the manufacturer or dealer is willing to repair or service the boat based upon a warranty consideration, the owner should be prepared to intervene. In some situations, the amount offered by the manufacturer to the dealer to make the repair is insufficient; here the owner may want to offer to make up the difference. In cases where the repair fault is in question (i.e., was the damage caused by owner, dealer or factory?) getting an impartial third party, perhaps an arbitrator, may expedite the situation. In any event, all parties involved understand the need for resolution, since an unusable boat, especially "in season," is an aggravation for the owner and unacceptable customer relations for builder and seller.