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Buying a second-hand boat

Hints & Tips

When buying your second hand boat, make sure that you give it a full and thorough check over and always request a test run, even if it means getting the current owner to take the boat to water for you. You wouldn't purchase a car without doing a test drive, so don't purchase your boat without doing the same. Take someone with you when you are looking at the boat, they are more likely to spot damages and potential issues as you may be blinded by the excitement of making your purchase.

Things to check when taking a look at your potential new boat:

  • Engine
  • Bilge
  • Steering and Throttle controls
  • Electrical components
  • Floors and Sidings
  • Propeller
  • Deck Hardware
  • Fuel Tanks
  • Batteries
  • Rigging, hardware and sails
  • Condition of Hull
  • Propeller Shaft
  • Upholstery
  • Kitchen and Sleeping areas
  • Mildew
  • Rot
  • Age of boat and hours logged
  • Maintenance history
  • Storage history
  • Warranty

It may be worthwhile taking a checklist with you so that you don't miss anything. Ask as many questions as you feel necessary so that you have all information to hand to make the best decision possible. Check if anything is wrong, not as you expected or falsely stated in the advertising literature. If there are any imperfections, then attempt to negotiate a discount if you still want to go ahead with the purchase, or ask the current owner to repair any damages as a condition of the sale. Bearing all of this information in mind, remember that you may not be buying a new boat, so everything will not be pristine, consider wear and tear against the age and mileage of the boat.

It is important to (especially with older boats, rare models and limited editions) do research into how much replacement parts will cost you. It may be that you are purchasing an older boat to be more cost effective, yet you may end up paying out considerably more than you intended in the long run because parts are not readily accessible.