Buying a Used Boat?

There are lots of things to look at when purchasing a used boat.  Remember the old adage, "Let the buyer beware!" Although we would like to think of all fellow anglers as honest, let's be realistic and understand that some are not as honest as we would like them to be.  This means that we should attempt to protect ourselves from a bad deal as much as possible.  DETERMINE THE BEST BOAT FOR YOUR PURPOSES.

Time spent in evaluating just why you want a boat, will go a long way toward satisfaction with any boat purchased.  How and where are you going to use the boat?  What type of water will you be navigating?  Are you going to fish, waterski, party, etc.  Each type of activity puts a little different spin on the things necessary in a boat.  Now that you have determined just what kind of boat you are looking for, here are some things that should be considered when looking for that used boat:

1. Check the hull.  Not just the sides, but the running surface, transom and bow eye. This give you an indication of how the boat was used.  Check for stress cracks on each side of the transom. Check for imperfections on the exterior of the hull, which might indicate repair.

2. Have a QUALIFIED outboard mechanic check out the engine, to include compression test and viewing the interior of the cylinder walls.

3. Check the bilge for evidence of water having been left in the boat.  This is an indication of whether there are any leaks and whether the boat has been kept outside.

4. Check the wear on the carpet, particularly under the console.

5. Check the storage comparments for musty odor, which would indicate wet, rather than dry, storage.

6. Remove bow panel and check condition of trolling motor plug. This gives a good indication of any electrical problems in trolling motor wiring, as this plug will show signs of burning anytime a short happens.

7. Check livewells for cracks and discoloration, which might conceal cracks or leaks.

8. Check trailer condition. Rust, bunks, guide-ons, strap, jack, wheels, tires, safety chains, etc.

9. Check the skeg and propeller on the engine. They will generally give an indication of how the boat was used, while the condition of the sacrificial anode will give an indication of how much the boat was used.

10. Get up on the bow seat or pro pole and attempt to rock it. This will indicate the condition of the support and forward deck. Do the same on the rear deck. Make sure that you stand on all compartment lids.

As long as the hull is sound, it doesn't matter about the age of the boat.  The outboard is another matter. A sound used hull, outboard motor and trailer, at the proper price, is a very sound investment.  Don't concern yourself with trolling motor, electronics or batteries.  Plan on replacing these and build it into your price offer. With a sound hull, a good engine, new electronics, trolling motor and batteries, and perhaps new carpeting, you might as well have a new a fraction of the cost.