What to look for when buying a boat – 15 Tips – Used Boating Market

If you have decided you want to buy a boat here is what to look for when buying one. Generally, when you arrive to view a boat for sale you can tell fairly quickly if the boat has been looking after.

what to look for when buying a boat 15 tips

1. Has the boat been repaired?

Look for any repair work that may have been done on the boat. This may include welding repairs on Aluminium boats or fibreglass work on fibreglass boats.

2. Is there cracking or corrosion on an aluminium hull

Search around the boat and check for any corrosion or any cracking around an Aluminium hull.

3. Inspect hull for any Cracks

Aluminium, Timber or Fibreglass it doesn’t matter. Make sure there are no cracks on the hull.

Areas to look for is around the stern and under the hull where the curve of the bow starts.

Check for cracks around the surface where there are any bolts, screws or any other fittings.

If you are buying a fibreglass boat look for very thin black stress fractures.

4. Check the floor and Transom for any Water Damage

Also check the floor.  Does the floor feel solid as you walk over it or does it sink in a little when walking over it?

If the floor is not solid the boat may be due for a new floor. It could be possible you may need to replace the stringers.

If you are keen on buying the boat and the floor is not solid seek professional consultation.

Take a good look under the hull, especially on larger and super faster boats.

5. Is the Outboard Motor in Working Condition

Does it start straight away?  Is it a smooth first shot start?

Does the motor idle correctly? Have you considered having a professional Boat Mechanic inspect the Boat engine?

6. Test the Engine Oil

Check the oil in your 4 strokes or diesel outboard for any blown gasket related issues.

If you unscrew the cap take a look inside the cap. is it plain oil or is there a milky white residue?

If there is there could be a blown gasket issue with your engine.

7. Is the water pump working as it should?

What is the compression of the engine like? A simple compression test can answer this question.

If the engine is an inboard what condition is the engine bay. Are there any signs of leakage?

Is the motor regularly serviced?

8. Make sure the boat electronics are in working condition?

Take a look around at the wiring harness.

How neat and tidy are the wiring looms? Does everything work as it should?

9. Does the safety lights work?

This includes ignition, lights, navigational and communication equipment.

If the wiring loom is not in good order this is a telltale sign that maybe the wiring needs to be replaced.

The last thing you need is to go out boating and due to bad wiring, your boat engine fails or worse still you can not use your onboard radio to call for help.

10. Are all gauges and switches working?

Make sure these are all working otherwise issues may arise such as a flat battery.

11. Check your boat interior for any mildew

Boats that have carpets check how damp these are?

Can you spot any mildew?

If there are signs of dampness on carpets then you need to check under the carpet for more water-related damage.

12. Are you buying the right boat type?

Is the boat going to be used for fishing? If it is Look for a boat where you have ample walk around space that has a small wheelhouse with easy access to launching the anchor.

If you are considering getting a half cabin ask yourself is it really needed?

A half cabin will take up a good portion of your boat space which leaves you very little room to fish.

My emphasis when buying a boat is to buy a great boat hull with a crappy motor. Remove the motor and replace it with new one.

If for example, you are considering a new 175HP consider adding twin 80 or 90 horsepower motors instead.

If one fails you still have the 2nd to get you home.

Boat Safety Equipment is a priority. Make sure you have plenty of rope, EPIRB, Life vests etc

Make sure you have working communication radios.

13. Check the condition of the battery

What condition is the battery in? Will it need replacing?

14. Does the trailer have rust?

If you are buying a trailer boat check the trailer for any rust. Also, check the wheel bearings as these might need to be replaced.

15. Check the condition of all Deck Fittings

Watch out for any rusted parts that may need to be replaced that hold vital components such as a boat canopy.

Conclusion on my 15 tips on what to look for when buying a boat

Another tip I would like to share with you is to pay close attention to the person you are buying the boat from.

A 50-year-old boat owner, for example, would have less tendency to hoon around or fly over small waves of water. a boat launch off a small wave with 300hp launches the boat a metre plus off the waterline.

This overtime may cause stress fractures to the hull. I have seen people with 5-metre boats with a whopping 300hp fly over small waves of water with every opportunity they can get.

Let’s imagine If this occurs 10 times per outing and they go boating 20 times a year. That’s 200 times a year this person’s boat hull is being put under pressure.

Seek professional help when needing any rewiring or mechanical repairs. If you buy the right boat and set it up properly boating can be fun. The best part about boating is that you can share the experience with your family.

What to look for when buying a boat is made simple when you learn a few tricks. My advice is to take someone experienced with boats with you when buying a boat.

Also, make sure your boat is registered and update your boat registration stickers if you need to.

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