Buying Used – Where to Start

Buying a used boat is appealing to those who are looking for their very first boat investment or even for the experienced boater that wants to upgrade, or just have a second boat. Buying a used boat is a wonderful option, but there are some factors that need to be considered when looking for your used boat investment.

Buying from a private seller

Buying a used boat from a private seller runs a high risk even though, at times, it can seem like a better ‘deal’. Most private sellers do not allow you to test drive the boat that you are interested in purchasing. Most private sellers also don’t stand behind the boat sale or offer mechanical and other help should a problem arise once the boat is yours.

Also See: Marine Warranties

Should you find that you have completely fallen in love with a boat from a private seller, be sure you are very careful and look over the boat very thoroughly.  Look for scratches, dents, cracks – open all doors and cabinets. Check the cables and steering. In fact, you should consider hiring a qualified professional boat surveyor to look over the boat and to do a complete certified inspection. 

Even if the used boat from a private seller seems perfect and receives a wonderful inspection, you should try to get some background check information on the boat and the seller. Yes, there are good deals out there, and yes, there are plenty of amazing boat owners looking to legally sell their used boat – but fraud runs rampant, and stolen boats are constantly being sold throughout the country. Always make sure that you’re working with a well known, local, and highly recommended seller. 

It’s best to stay away from long distance online sales. You may end up spending more money in traveling expenses, only to come back home with a broken boat or even worse, not coming home with a boat at all! Never, ever, buy a boat online without inspecting it first, or hire a certified professional to inspect it.

Buying from a dealer

Buying a used boat from a dealer can certainly take care of most of those headaches and extra costs for you that might come along with buying from a private seller. If at all possible, you should try to buy your used boat from a trusted boat dealer (like us). Boat dealers inspect every used boat that they have so that it is ready and waiting for you to inspect it yourself. Want to take it for a test drive? – Certainly! Quality boat dealers allow their clients to test drive their boats before final purchase. Just like a car, you want to know every detail of what you’re about to invest into – boat’s aren’t that different than purchasing your next new dream car. 

Buying from a well-known and highly regarded boat dealer or broker can ensure that you aren’t getting yourself into a fraudulent deal. Next thing you know, instead of spending money on fishing bait for you, and a new boat grill for your other half, you’ll be spending money on finding a lawyer and trying to get yourself out of this “amazing deal” that you had to have. 

Boat dealers stand behind their boats (as they should, since they inspected them), and even offer special servicing and maintenance. You can take comfort in knowing that you can take your used boat back to the same dealership that sold the boat to you for tune ups and servicing, and have it treated like the ‘baby’ you know it is – after all, they took care of it before you ever did. 

While there are pros and cons to both buying from a private seller and a dealership, the bottom line is that you want to make sure you have the boat properly inspected before making the purchase and you should always ask questions about the boat no matter where you purchase it from (previous owners, any accidents, etc). Make sure you are comfortable with your dealer or seller – it will help if you buy local or from someone that you know can be trusted. And if you feel like something is too good to be true, do some background snooping and make sure you’re not about to be ‘conned’.

Now, go find that perfect boat and enjoy the second half of summer out on the water. Happy Boating!!