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10 Tips When Purchasing A Boat

So you are looking at buying a new or used boat, maybe this is your first adventure into the boating world or you are seasoned boater with years of experience, you still need to do your due diligence when purchasing the boat. It is amazing how many people will make a big purchase such as a boat and not even have the unit inspected or bother to go through it themselves before buying, and then end up surprised when issues start cropping up.

Below are 10 quick tips to help you know what to look for when looking for your perfect boat. It is still highly recommended to have a marine service facility do a thorough inspection of the boat or engine prior to signing on the dotted line.

1. Inspect the hull. Whether is it a fiberglass boat or aluminum you need to thoroughly examine the hull for any major damage or previously repaired areas that may be covered up. Look for cracked welds or missing rivets on aluminum boats. On fiberglass hulls look for damage through the gel-coat that is into the fiberglass, especially around the keel and very bottom of the boat.

2. Check all the upholstery. Allot of older boats have very faded or stained upholstery. Have a good look at all the cushions and sun pads and look for ripped stitching or stains that will be hard to remove. Make sure the captain's chairs are solid and there very little movement in them.

3. Check all the boat accessories. Everything from the bilge pump to the navigation lights. Make sure the battery is installed and flip on all the switches. Make sure you can hear the blower and bilge pump working and you walk around to all the lights and speakers. Anything not working now will just cost you more money down the line.

4. Visually inspect the engine. On outboards remove the cowl and look for oil or gas leaks. Check the skeg and propeller for any damage. On inboards get a flashlight and look around at the motor mounts and belts making sure they are tight.

5. Check all fluids. Check all the fluids on the motor, gear oil, engine oil, steering fluid, etc. Ask the seller when the last time they were done and if its something that he does himself or maybe his mechanic does.

6. Do a lake test. Now, this is not always an option, you may have to settle for running the engine up on a garden hose, but whenever available to you nothing beats taking the boat onto the water and seeing how it performs. Does it handle as you thought? Are there any running issues? This will all come out during the water test.

7. Inspect the steering. Give the steering wheel a crank. Crank the engine hard to port and then over to starboard. Make sure the cable feels free and it's not difficult to move.

8. Shift the engine into gear. While the motor is running be sure to shift the engine into forward and reverse to eliminate any cable or shifting issues.

9. Ask about the water pump. Water pumps are critical in boats and need to be replaced every 3-5 years. Ask the seller when the last time he was done and plan on doing it if it has been more then the allotted time.

10. Inspect the trailer. Check all the trailer lights, look at the bunks and rollers and make they’re not broken. Have a look at the tires for wear.

There are many other items that are more carefully inspected when the boat is taken into a service shop of inspections but these will greatly help you in inspecting the boat for yourself. Checking over these items will give you more confidence in your purchase and hopefully save you from any big surprises a little later down the road.

If you are looking at purchasing a boat and have any questions feel free to call us anytime, or if you want the pros to look at it we can book it in for you.

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