Used Boat Buying Guide
Do you live on or near Lake or the Ocean and and are looking to buy a boat? We hope this article help you make a better decision.
Buying a used pontoon or boat can be a great way to get into boating, while letting someone else take the big depreciation hit on the new boat. However, before you buy a used pontoon or boat, you need to understand the opportunities and the risks. Unfortunately, many buyers have learned the hard way and have had expensive lessons by not knowing exactly what to look for. We have listed below five key questions you should ask before you buy a used pontoon or boat.
It has been said the two happiest days in a boat owners life are the day they buy their boat, and the day they sell their boat. If you are looking for a used pontoon or boat, you need to be aware that the current boat owner wants to get rid of that boat for some reason.
1. What should a used boat to cost?
Boats depreciate a lot. When you buy a used boat, you are letting someone else take the hit, and as long as you do your due-diligence and check the boat out thoroughly, it is a great way to go. Used boat values can vary greatly – as a rule of thumb, a 5 year-old boat or pontoon wil have lost 50% of its original value if well maintained. One of the best tools around before buying a used boat is the NADA used boat guide. Look up anything you are considering purchasing there, and make sure you are an informed buyer! It is also a good idea to shop on boat trader and craigslist. There you can find many used boats and compare prices.
2. Where are the maintenance records?
This is crucial. If this is a 10 year boat and the owner didn’t bother to winterize it over the last winter – then that boat may be dead in the water the first time you start it. Inspect the engine and prop and make sure they are in good shape. Inspect the hull and make sure the fiberglass is in good shape, or in the case of a pontoon – that the tubes and fittings are all in good shape. You can get a good sense of how well a boat has been “loved” by a quick visual inspection. Always ask to see the last receipt for repairs and maintenance.
3. Always test drive before you buy a used boat.
If you are are buying from an individual, you should insist that they meet you at your favorite marina, launch the boat, and let you take it for a test-drive. Getting a boat on the water will clue you in to lots of potential problems. How does the engine run? does it handle well? If you buy a boat from someone’s front yard, don’t be surprised if you find yourself stranded the first time you take it out on the lake. A test drive is a must for this reason. If the seller resists, that is a good clue that the boat is a big headache and they just want to get rid of it. Also, never buy a boat without seeing it out of the water!
4. Check with your local boat dealers?
Buying a boat is a lot like buying a car, and dealers will often take used boats in on trade. Buying a used boat from a dealer is a great way to ensure that you can test-drive the boat, and also have it inspected by their service department before any transaction takes place. They should also be there to help you after the sale. We suggest you talk to past customer, read online reviews, and ask them what you should expect from them post sale!
5. Check that hour meter!!! (aka. miles)
A Boats age depends on the number of hours … not the numver of miles (there is no odometer). Boat usage is measured in hours. Basically – a boat with 1000 hours on it is much like a car with 100,000 miles on it. Checking the usage on the boat will give you leverage in determining the value.
So, is buying a used boat right for me?
If you do your homework and ask the right questions, buying a used boat can be a fantastic way to get into boating without taking out a second mortgage on your home. However, if after reading through these questions you are scared to death of the prospect of buying a used boat, you might want to explore some other options.