Is buying a used boat the same as buying a used car? While there are similarities, boats often last far longer than their land-based companions, and they can also be far more costly to repair when something goes wrong. Buying used can be an excellent way to save money, but you need to know what you're getting into before heading down to your nearest dealer.
Why Should You Buy Used?
If you're deciding between new and used, there are plenty of reasons to consider a used watercraft. In addition to saving some money, you may also be able to purchase a broader range of models. Just as with cars, you'll be able to stretch your budget further when buying a used boat. This freedom may allow you to purchase a larger craft or one with more substantial capabilities.
Your long-term costs may be lower, as well. If you purchase a reliable and well-maintained craft, you may not spend any more on maintenance and upkeep than you would with a new boat. You may also enjoy lower insurance costs and easier, cheaper parts availability. These advantages can add up to a less costly ownership experience over the long run.
What Should You Look for In Used Boats?
Buying a used boat is primarily about looking for signs that the previous owners cared for the craft and kept up with routine maintenance. It's always good to start by buying from a dealer, but that doesn't mean you should ignore further inspections because you trust the seller. You always want to examine the boat's interior, exterior, outboard drive, and engine compartments.
In general, look for a boat that doesn't show any significant signs of poor care by prior owners. For example, damage on the rub rail can indicate a history of hitting docks. Damage to the skeg below the propellor may be a sign of running shallow water or carelessness when launching or recovering the boat. These issues don't make the boat a poor purchase, but you should be aware of them.
You should also ask about service and maintenance records. These items may not be available, especially on older boats, but they can help understand how the previous owners cared for the craft. If you don't have good service records for your new boat, you should plan to perform some essential preventative maintenance shortly after purchasing it.
Ultimately, buying a used boat doesn't need to be challenging. By working with a reputable dealer and performing a thorough inspection, you can get a boat that will provide you with years of fun on the water for a fraction of the price of a new craft.
Contact boat dealers near you to learn more.