5 Tips for Buying a Used Boat That Will Last

July 20, 2021

I love nothing more than being out on the water, whether it’s the ocean and a lake. There’s something so relaxing about water, a serenity that is hard to find elsewhere. Most of my favorite sports are on the water, too, such as paddleboarding, wakeboarding and fishing. Owning a boat will mean that your weekends and holidays are transformed, into days jam packed with fun activities and plenty of vitamin D. If you want to buy an excellent quality used boat without sinking your budget, read on to learn more.

1. Set a Budget
This is the most important step, as your budget will determine a lot of things about the boat you end up choosing. Like cars, boats depreciate quite rapidly, meaning buying a used boat is a wonderful way to get something with a lot of bells and whistles, without spending the full ticket price. Setting a maximum budget will allow you to see what size boat you can afford, as well as how new or old you’ll need to go. If you don’t have the full amount in cash for your boat, you can look for financing options through your bank or marine lenders, allowing you extra cushion to start the buying process.

2. Rent a Boat First
If you have friends or family with a boat that you can borrow to try out, all the better. If not, rent one. Renting one for a weekend is a great way to try it out before spending your money. It’s also a good way to test out what size boat you really need. You might be surprised to learn that you’re actually quite comfortable on a smaller boat than you were originally interested in. Or you might find that actually, for your family size, you need something a tad bigger. A boat is a considerable investment so taking the time to take one for a spin can ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

3. Pay the Professionals
Unless you have years of experience in the boating industry, you’re going to want to fork out for a professional appraisal for your boat. They’ll take a thorough look over the potential boat you might buy, and they will be able to alert you to any big issues such as mold, the wiring, the condition of the hull and so forth. While these inspections come at a price, it is so much more expensive if you end up with a boat that needs considerable work done.

4. Ask About the Boat’s History

One of the most important things to learn about your potential new boat, is the history. How many owners has it had? Has it had any major structural damage? What maintenance has been done on the boat and how often? While the professional inspection report will shed light on most of the major issues, knowing more about the owners and boat’s history will allow you to make a more informed decision as to whether this boat may have potential issues or be something that’s been well looked after.

5. Don’t Buy at the Beginning of the Season
If you’re hunting for a bargain, the worst time of year to purchase a boat is exactly when you’re most likely to want to use it. It can be hard to plan so far in advance, or potentially miss out on the best weather of the year, but doing so can literally shave thousands off your purchase price. This is a decision you’ll have to make for you and your family, but if you are trying to snag the best deal possible, generally the poorer the weather the better the price. In saying that, with all the uncertainty that CO-VID19 is creating right now, there’s a decent chance that many people will have to sell right now due to other financial commitments which could work in your favour.

Owning a boat is a wonderful hobby, an excellent way to meet new people and special activity you can enjoy with loved ones. If you’ve not owned one before, you might be surprised by how much excitement and adventure it can add to your life. No matter how much you spend, buying a boat is a big commitment so I hope these tips help ensure you find yourself with a used boat that will last your family for years. Happy shopping!