How to Buy a Used Boat: Tips for a First Time Buyers

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How to Buy a Used Boat: Tips for a First Time Buyers

Checking out a used boat? Look for signs of overall maintenance. Even lifejackets, lines, and fenders can be clues to how much love a boat has had. Here’s a list of other things to watch for.

Inspect for signs of damage

If your viewing a boat and notice signs of flexing, cracking, mould, and moisture in fibreglass and wooden areas, such as the hull and floor – this is a bad sign! These can indicate rot in the stringers or delamination of plywood. If you see this, you should probably walk away.

Check for loose seats

Make sure that you inspect the floor area by the seats. The floor may be rotten, or it could just be that the bolts are stripped. (Sitting on the seat back as you drive strains the bolts.)

Look for mildew

Covers and upholstery can be either cleaned or replaced, but extensive mould inside the seats is a terrible sign. Don’t let this factor alone deter you from purchasing the boat of your dreams because this is an easy fix. You can replace the seats with UES Int boat seats which are top of the line, heavy duty and premium quality. Also, look out for mould as it spreads quickly, mould on thee surface could mean that there is mould in the wooden parts too.

Make sure the electronics work

Seized bilge pumps or burned-out bulbs are straightforward and affordable fixes. Several faulty devices could mean a defective battery or bad wiring —again, not a big deal. Take a good look and check to see if any of the labels on the engine have peeled up or if the insulation on the wires has melted, signs of engine overheating—and trouble.

Check the belts

Are the power-steering belts or alternator worn, cracked or thin? Belts should be changed after every 100 hours of use. Your initial service may cover it, but damaged belts hint at poor maintenance.

Start the engine

Does the engine slip or start rough, smoke, make excessive noise or vibrate? Old gas or too much oil are easily fixed during your first tune-up. But, these symptoms can signify a much bigger problem, like a low compression in the cylinders which is an expensive engine overhaul.

Test the oil

Does the engine oil feel gritty between your fingers? The grit is metal filings, which could indicate severe engine wear. If a mechanic confirms this, abandon ship before you get in too deep. If milky oil is present in the engine or lower unit, this generally means that water is somehow getting inside the engine.


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