What to Look for When Buying Used Boats


If those used boats for sale signs have piqued your interest enough to make you want to buy a used boat, then there are a couple of things you might want to know first.

Buying a boat, especially a used one is no walk in the park. Getting the perfect boat at the right price is a dream come true for most folks, but a tiny mistake can quickly turn a perfect dream into a costly nightmare. To prevent this from happening, here are a few extremely handy tips for any boat lover in the market for a used boat, so that you get your money’s worth.

Tips to Buying a Used Boat

There are many companies or listings with used boats for sale, and if you’ve been itching to get your hands on one, then you’ll be likely to jump on the first great offer. While that’s understandable here are a few things you might want to do first.

1. Inspect the Boat for Damage Signs

Buying a damaged boat beats logic, but it’s easy to overlook some hard-to-spot cracks, mold, and flexing. These tiny damages which are difficult to see on casual perusal may spell lots of costly repair problems for you later. It is therefore important to do a thorough inspection of the boat for any signs of damage including any moisture in the fiberglass, rot, and even delamination of the plywood.

2. Check for Wobbly Seats

A used boat may have wobbly seats for two reasons. First, the floor may have started to rot, which is an immediate deal-breaker, or the bolts may have come loose because of strain from leaning back while sitting. Thankfully, a professional can fix loose seat bolts in a short time.

3. Check the Belts

When it comes to belts, anything worn, thin or slightly cut is a bad sign. You can, however, replace the belts easily and they’re also inexpensive. Check the alternator and power steering belts for the signs discussed above. Belts should be replaced after 100 hours of use so damaged belts could indicate carelessness and lax on the seller’s part, and underscore other problems within the boat.

4. Inspect for Mildew

Check for mildew on the seats, carpet and boat top since they may indicate damage on the boat floor. You can clean mildew from the upholstery and seat covers, or even replace them, but remember spores from mold and mildew spread easily and may reach other parts of the boat and cause problems underneath. Mold is mostly found in fishing boats and pontoon boats, so take extra care heed when purchasing them

5. Make Sure Electronic Components Functions

Most folks with used boats for sale may go out of their way to ensure all electronic components in the boat are in working condition, but not all of them. It is, therefore, important to ensure electronic components are functional. Check for any burned wires, signs of overheating or missing labels and insulation. It is worth noting that too many faulty devices could indicate serious wiring issues that are expensive to repair.

6. Start the Engine

The noise a used boat’s engine makes when starting up will give you a rough idea of the boat’s condition. Does the engine start roughly or does it slip on ignition? Does it start very noisily or does it vibrate excessively? Is there too much smoke on starting the engine? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re better of settling for a new one or looking for a new boat somewhere else. Major engine problems are very costly to repair and not worth the trouble.

Remember, there’s more to a good boat than just the looks. Make sure you inspect the boat thoroughly and have a glance over the boat records too. If you’re stuck somewhere or need help, you can always call in professionals to help you make the right decision. Hopefully, these tips will give you confidence the next time you see used boats for sale signs.

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