Careful planning and research is needed if you’re going to buy a used boat, motor, or trailer.
Well of course most boat sellers are honest, but being cautious is a must in order to protect yourself from illegitimate transactions. Below, we’re going to provide you boat buying tips for a smooth transaction.
Boat Buying Tips
Before getting that fishing rod and boat equipment you have prepared, it’s good to sit down with your family first and discuss what type of boat you actually need along with some maintenance concerns that should be addressed if you need to buy any boat parts or accessories for your boat during its ownership.
- In what way are you going to use the boat?
- Boats can be used in many ways like fishing, water skiing, and cruising. However, if you want to use the boat for fishing only, you can grab a smaller boat with lower HP motor. If you’re unto water skiing and weekend cruising, then a bigger boat with a heavier HP engine is the ideal boat to get.
- Where are you going to use the boat?
- An aluminum boat is advisable if you’re going for a lake with rocky shorelines and endless submerged reefs. But if you’re going for a deep water lake with a sandy bottom and shorelines, then a fiberglass boat is the one for you.
- Think about the boat capacity
- If you plan to have a bigger boat so that you can use it for parties and load it up with supplies, then a larger boat with a bigger motor is the one you need.
- How often are you going to use the boat?
- If you’re planning to use the boats only on weekends or any special occasion, you can just get an older boat as long as it is still in good condition.
- Think of your budget
- Now that you’re ready to get a boat, you have to sum up all the costs. The price of the boat, motor, and trailer is just the start. Depending on what size and age of the boat you’ll choose, think of how much the maintenance will cost too as it will be as high as 15% of the value of the boat. Some of the boat costs factors include: Purchase cost, Sales Taxes, Insurance, Docking fees, Winter Storage, Maintenance and Repairs, Safety Equipment, and Fuel costs.
- Should you buy a new one? Or a used one?
- If you’re going for a cheaper and affordable setup, then a used boat is ideal for you, but the maintenance can be costly. Newer boats on the other hand, are more reliable and requires much less maintenance. If you’re going to use the boat for a long time, then save up a little bit more and get a new one instead.
Used Boat Buying Tips
If you’re still going for a used boat, then it is important to know what are the key factors and things to check on considering one. Below, we’re going to take a look on what things to do before buying a used boat.
Inspect the boat for Problems
It’s ideal to check a used boat for problems so that you’ll know if it’s worth the money. Here are the key things to look at when inspecting a used boat:
- Check the propeller for damages such as dents, bents, kicks.
- Check for rusted cables.
- Damaged steering wheel and shift level.
- Hull damage such as recent paintings or different paint tones.
- Rotten wood on the deck or flooring
- Loose, broken, missing rails, snaps, rope guides.
- Windshield condition.
- Bimini Top covering condition – check for rips, zippers, stripped screw threads.
- Broken navigation lights on the front and the back.
- Open the hatches to any storage compartments and check for leaks.
- Check the license number if it matches the seller’s documents.
- Marine radio, antenna, depth finder, and stereo work.
- Battery Age.
- Upholstery condition, check if the seats are ripped, torn, loose stitching.
- Condition of safety equipment such as anchor and line, paddles, life jackets.
Now that you’re done checking, take the boat for a test run. Make sure that the owner of the boat is with you. It’s also advisable to bring a friend that has knowledge about boats. Below, here are the key factors and things to look at while taking the boat for a test ride.
- Check if the boat sits evenly in the water.
- Check if the starter works properly.
- Boat gets up on plane quickly and easily.
- Check the motor if it trims up and down properly and smoothly.
- See if the boat reacts quickly to sharp turns of the steering wheel to both sides.
- Check if the boat doesn’t rattle and shake.
- Check if the Bilge pump works properly.
Bring a Certified Professional to Inspect the Used Boat
Either you’re buying a used boat from a private person or from a broker such as a marina, it is ideal to bring a professional boat inspector to check the boat. These certified inspectors are also known as marine surveyors. Your insurance company can provide you with a list of accredited surveyors to choose from. Also make sure that the surveyor is a certified member of an accrediting agency.
Having one is worth the money especially if you know little to nothing about boats. If you can’t have one, then it is critical to make it a condition in your offer. If the seller of the boat is aware of the boat’s problems, he’ll likely own-up or stop it from selling once you have inspected the boat.
But it the boat runs well and you only see minor damages during your inspection, you can definitely adjust your offer and get the boat.