What to Look for When Buying a Used Boat

According to the National Marine Manufactures Association (NMMA), sixty percent of first-time boaters buy a used boat. Among the chief benefits of buying a used boat is that it has been tried and tested by a previous boat owner. And it is a great way for up and coming boaters to get their feet wet for less than the cost of buying a new boat.

However, it is important to know what to look for when buying a used boat to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. Otherwise, you may spend more time and money making costly repairs instead of enjoying fishing on the lake or cruising the Intracoastal Waterway.

What is the Boat Designed to Do

There are different types of boats such as recreational boats, speed boats and bass boats. Aside from operating best in different types of waters, these boats have different uses. For instance, while bass boats are used for fishing in freshwater lakes, recreational boats and speed boats are mainly used in saltwater for recreational and sports activities, respectively. The design of a boat matters because it helps determine the water application best suited for that type of boat.

Inspect for Cracks

A used boat may have tiny cracks, like spider webs in localized areas both above and below the water line. These cracks are mostly cosmetic and have a tendency of appearing near screws, which have not been countersunk properly around gunwales, windshields, and handles. Despite the sizes, these cracks may get worse if not fixed. Cracks greater than two inches suggest bigger problems underneath. Besides looking for signs such as patches and gel coats, which indicate extensive repairs, inquire whether the boat has been in a collision to avoid surprises and unexpected repairs.

Check the Seats

Used boats, especially bass boats tend to have loose seats due to their frequent use (fishing) could strip the bolts. Ideally, a used speed boat or recreational boat may have loosened seats given that they are mainly used in saltwater, which can cause floor rot and rusty screws. Ensure that the boat owner repairs these mishaps before buying a used boat.

Test the Engine Oil

The best way to do this is to rub the engine oil between your fingers. If it feels gritty (the grit is metal filings), abandon the boat. According to mechanics, the grit indicates serious engine wear. Consequently, if the lower unit or engine has milky oil, it implies that water is getting in. Although it is possible to straighten a bent prop shaft and replace a blown or worn seal, the impact from this kind of damage is likely to cause adverse effects to the gear. It can also let water inside the engine; thus, corroding it.

Start the Engine

Before buying a boat, ensure that you start the engine and listen carefully to hear if it slips when starting or has a rough start. Also pay attention to the noise, vibration or smoke. Starting the engine is important, especially if you want to buy a speed boat where a good engine is vital. Worn-out engines make excessive noise and produce a lot of smoke. Although it is easy to fix the old gas and too much oil produced by such engines, it is advisable to abandon the boat because such symptoms are an indication of a bigger problem like low compression in the cylinders that require a costly engine overhaul.

If you live in Florida and are looking for a quality used boat for fishing, recreation or any other type of sport, contact the experts at Florida’s Family Marine today at 386-873-4610. Not only do they have a large inventory of used boats for sale that you can choose from, they also have the years of experience and insight necessary to help guide you in your decision making as to what to look for in a salt-water environment or a fresh-water environment.