Tips for Buying a Used Boat

Tips for Buying a Used Boat

Owning a boat is within your grasp when you look at used boats. Most people can’t afford to shell out the dough to cover the high price of a new boat. But thanks to depreciation, used boats come at a sliver of the cost! When you shop strategically, you can find a well-maintained boat that is almost like new. It’ll be new to you but for a much more affordable cost! We gathered up our top tips for buying a used boat below. If you have any questions, or want to check out some used boats, visit Master Marine Boating Center. We proudly serve those in Seattle and Tacoma Washington.

Build Your Budget

What happens if you shop for used boats without knowing your limit? You’ll likely end up falling in love with a fancy model or getting persuaded by a charismatic salesperson…and blow through your savings. When you make a budget before you start shopping, you eliminate those out-of-reach options from consideration.

Keep in mind that your budget should include more than the boat’s sticker price. Price out any gear you’ll need (like life jackets), boat slip rental, fuel, and insurance. Remember that used boats will likely be out of warranty, so repairs will be an out-of-pocket cost.

Research, Research, Research

It’s hard to hit the bull eye’s if you don’t know what the target looks like. Similarly, it’s tough to find quality used boats if you don’t know what you are looking for. Start by deciding what type of boat you want. Are you looking for a specialized fishing boat or a versatile vessel capable of towing your kids on an inner tube? Narrow your options by boat type to make research more feasible.

As you start to look at used boats, think about how many people you anticipate taking with you. This will need to be within the boat’s maximum weight and number of occupants. If you want to regularly take 8 people on the water, your boat needs to have that potential. Be sure to also check that none of the models you are considering were ever recalled.

Inspect the Boat

Once you found a potential option, take the time to thoroughly inspect it. Anyone can make a boat appear great, but that doesn’t mean it runs great. Look at the boat’s exterior. Cracks in the gelboat that are longer than two inches could suggest issues. Examine all metal and wood surfaces for signs of corrosion. Some exterior issues could be simply cosmetic, but they can also suggest a lack of maintenance and problems beneath the surface.

You’ll also need to inspect the interior of the boat. Look underneath flooring materials for any discoloration or moss as those signal the boat wasn’t properly maintained. Check all electronic equipment and ensure they run smoothly. Keep in mind that mechanical issues on a boat tends to cost much more to fix than mechanical issues on a car.

It’s good to consider hiring a surveyor to inspect the used boats you’re considering. They bring expert knowledge on everything from potential structural issues to the boat’s electrical systems. They can catch issues you miss. This could save you from buying a boat that later needs expensive repairs.

During the inspection of a used boat is a good time to ask for the proper paperwork. A used boat must come with a clean title! You can also ask to see any paperwork for repairs and maintenance. A responsible boat owner will have these handy.

Take a Test Drive

Any used boat can look like a great deal when it’s docked. But looks can be deceptive. Always take a boat out on the water before buying it. You’ll want to get behind the wheel to see how it feels and handles, both in general and for you!

While you drive it, run a few tests. See how the boat functions at different speeds and when idling. Test the brakes. Look for anything out of the ordinary with how the boat runs such as delays, odd vibrations, or odd sounds. If the used boat runs well and is within your budget, you found a winner!

Ready to check out used boats? Visit Master Marine. We offer a range of boats, making it easy to find one within your budget. We proudly serve those in Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, Washington as well as Alaska.