Buying A Good Boat Means Avoiding Red Flags

Feb 07, 2021

Being the captain of your own vessel appeals to many different people. If you’re going to do this, you need your own boat. Thousands of years ago, you need to make your own. These days, you’re probably going to have to buy a boat. That concept can be a bit daunting. The world is littered with people who have horror stories of their boat purchase. The word “money pit” comes up surprisingly often. There’s a reason this has occurred. They didn’t properly do their research! The necessary interactions with water mean that boats need more maintenance and care than other vehicles. If it never gets this preventative maintenance, then there are likely more issues hidden away in a boat than you may realize. When you go to buy the boat, you need be very thorough and search for all of the potential red flags. Only when it passes these inspections will your boat be ready to go. The lakes, rivers and seas await you and your boat. Don’t ignore the call. 

Popular Boat Types

For most people, the thought of owning a billionaire’s mega yacht is not feasible. Most people look for smaller and simpler boats. Some of the more popular purchase options include: 

  • Cabin Cruisers - These boats are rather luxurious and allow you to take it out on the water. 
  • Jet Boats - These work off of jet propulsion rather than a propeller. They are great options for people just looking to have fun. 
  • Pontoon Boats - Most people use pontoon boats as a way to get together with their family and friends. Water parties have been common, but they can be used for more than that. 
  • Sailboats - There’s a huge variety of sizes for sailboats. Sailing is an incredible skill to learn and has been passed down through the ages. It’s good to start small with a sailboat to ensure you learn the basics first. 
  • PWC - PWC stands for personal watercraft. These are small sporty boats that turn on a dime and can provide for some great fun on the water. 
  • Wake Boats - These boats work to provide strong wake to allow for wakeboarders and water skiers to have more fun when they are getting towed behind. 
  • Bowriders - A bowrider provides seating in the bow and is a great option for families with children who want to get out on the water and have some fun. There’s enough power to tow a tube and enough space so you don’t feel crowded. 
  • Fishing Boats - These all purpose boats are designed to allow you to fish off of any section of the boat, thus ensuring you’re never going to miss your catch. 

These are only a small subsection of boats that are available. The right type of boat is an important start to having fun out on the water. 

Warning Signs When Buying a Boat

Once you’re ready to buy, it’s time to inspect the boats you are considering. If you’re buying new, then you’re probably going to be in a much better place technically speaking. New boats have warranties just as cars do, so they can be more of a sure thing. The financial outlay for a brand new boat is far too high. 

When looking at buying a boat, you need to perform your own inspection to begin. You want to start with the overall appearance. If a person keeps their boat clean and tidy, that’s at least a good start to how they have hopefully taken care of it. Check the condition of the topsides, cabin and deck. Make sure the dock lines lift easily and are stored properly when not in use. If it’s a sailboat, inspect the sails and find out how old they are. Look at all exterior wood and the kind of condition it is in. One minor thing is check out the sealing around windows or ports. This is a minor detail that can often show how a boat has been treated. Check the hull and the deck very carefully for cracks or excessive stress lines. Once you enter the interior, check the bilge and ensure it’s fairly clean. Check the condition of any floorboards on the interior of a boat. This can suggest if there is water leaking where it shouldn’t. Inspect all electronics on the boat and that they are working well. Check the wiring to make sure it’s up to code. Finally, check the engine and ensure that it’s running well. Run it at maximum output to see how well it handles the stress. 

If a boat passes your inspection and you want to buy, then you need to get a professional survey before buying. This is one step that too many people skip over. Surveyors have access to tools that you don’t. They will use their Moisture Meter to determine if water has actually seeped into the deck, hull or cabin beyond what can be expected.  They will also use a device call Phenolic Hammer. This will look for soft spots that might have weakened structure. Surveyors will also take a look at the engine at wide open throttle. They can ensure that the boat isn’t running at too few or too many rpm and there’s no serious issues. If everything passes the surveyor’s report, then it’s time to close the deal and hit the water! 

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