When looking to purchase a boat, there are certain things to keep in mind. A used boat's looks, comfort, and price are only where the shopping begins.
The purchase of a used boat involves inspecting many compartments and systems. There are so many accessories that are important but may be difficult to see. They must be examined. These are things that could lead to serious problems in the future unless detected prior to purchase. In most situations, the size and cost of a used boat are not worth the money involved with hiring a professional to inspect it. There are certain things someone needs to consider when they are looking to buy a used boat. Paying attention to the details prior to a purchase can make buying a used boat a positive experience.
Red Flags To Avoid
There are certain things that indicate a need for repair work or indicate possible serious problems in the future.
- Fiberglass Cracks - Check for these above and below the waterline. Small cracks in specific areas are not a big problem. They may be near the gunwales, windshields or other places. These cracks usually don't get worse if not repaired. Cracks below the waterline or cracks of more than 2” could be a problem. These are often covered with gel coat patches. It's important to know if the boat's been in a collision or had previous repair work.
- Bent Or Twisted Rub Rail - Hull and deck joint separation is a serious problem. This is a challenge to detect. A rub rail is usually bent or twisted because the boat hit something very hard stressing the hull or deck joint. This could be a serious problem.
- Stringers Damage - If these are damaged, it could result in serious trouble in the future. Stringers could be located in a tight hatch or a bilge. It's important to do what is necessary to do a good visual inspection of them. Any type of damage or visual separation could be a serious problem.
- Leaking Lower Units - These may be a challenge to spot, but they are important to discover. They could be an indication of a hairline crack or a faulty seal enabling water to get into the boat. Leaking lower units are often spotted by running the lower units and noticing if there is a milky appearance in the lower oil unit..
Best Places To Search for Used Boats Online
The majority of boats purchased are used boats. The best way to start the process is online. One of the favorite sites to visit is YachtWorld. This is a good place to start. It can accommodate people who know the exact make and model of the used boat they want to buy or are just browsing. It provides the listings of over 100,000 boats at any given time. The YachtWorld site is known for providing significant amounts of information as well as qualify photos of each used boat they list.
Another popular site with people looking to purchase a used boat is BoatTrader. People who go here can see listings for a large number of used boats and can search for them using various criteria. This is also the place to go if a person is looking for a used boat that is a fixer-upper from a liquidator.
When looking to purchase a used boat from an individual, many people have had success looking on Craigslist and eBay websites. Looking online for regional listings of boat owner groups providing sales is also effective. It's a way to locate a good used boat from a knowledgeable seller.
What To Look For When Testing a Used Boat
There are certain things to look for when testing a used boat prior to purchase. A key safety issue for a used boat is its ability to turn. This testing should be done when nobody else is onboard and a trip switch in place. At about 30 mph on open water, the wheel should be turned sharply one way and then the other. The boat should easily power through the turns.
When powering in reverse, it's important to know if a used boat can easily change direction. Driving a used boat over a wave and listening for squeaking when landing will indicate hull integrity.
It's also important to put the wheel at center and go at a low speed. Once this is done, the wheel should be let free. The boat will either track straight or always be correcting. The constant correction could become a really aggravating problem.
The bilge pump should be checked to make sure it is properly jettisoning water. All the gauges on a used boat should be checked. Courtesy lights, as well as running lights, should be checked. The fresh and raw water should be checked and a toilet should be flushed to see if it is operating properly and more.
There are hundreds of thousands of used boats available for sale. This means the chances of someone getting a used boat that meets their specific needs and desires is pretty high. When carefully researched and evaluated, a used boat can be more cost effective and provide a better deal than many new boats.