Tips for buying a used boat

Author: Stuart Buckingham   Date Posted:23 March 2017 

Blog Tips for buying a used boatIt's hard not to be excited about buying a new boat. You've just seen a bargain on the side of the road and as you make the U-turn to get a closer look your head fills with images of large snapper, kingfish and sunny days out on the water with the family. This is exactly what boating is about but, be wary that your boating dream doesn't become your boating nightmare!

Buying a boat is an investment whether you're spending $3,000 or $100,000 and it is astonishing how a lot of used boat buyers are willing to hand over their hard earned cash without having the boat, engine or trailer checked by a reputable outboard technician. It seems crazy, but this happens all too often and buyers are left with hefty repair bills to get their new pride and joy on the water.

Below are some of our tips for buying a used boat:

1. Take the emotion out of it

Yes you're excited, yes you think it's a bargain, but unlike Jack and the beanstalk your magic beans may just be ordinary old beans and you've just traded your cow for nothing. 

2. Take photos & ask questions

Sellers like to stretch the truth and sometimes they really don't know the age of the boat they are selling. Use the camera on your phone to take photos of the I.D plates on the boat, motor and trailer. You can then check the age of the vessel when you get home by looking up the details online or by calling a marine centre.

3. Check the service history

You’ll want to make sure that what you are buying has been well maintained and asking for documented service history should achieve this. Don't fall for the old line of ‘my mates a mechanic and he services it for me’, whilst in some cases, this may be true it's probably more likely that his mate did work experience at a boat yard 30 years ago and owns a spanner.

4. Clear title

Ask the seller if they have any finance owing on the boat. This can be checked with your States RTA by quoting the trailer registration number.

5. Registration

Just because the trailer has a number plate on it and the boat has registration stickers doesn't mean that it is currently registered. Ask the seller to supply current registration paperwork and if they can't provide that then contact your RTA with the registration numbers to check if the vessel and trailer are in current registration. If the seller can provide registration paperwork then you can also check whether they are the lawful owner.

6. Pre-purchase inspection

So you've done all the above and you think you want to go ahead with the purchase. But wait, there's more! Next is to organise a pre-purchase inspection by a qualified outboard technician. The cost of employing the services of an expert can vary and I understand it has to be relative to the purchase price, you don't want to spend $500 on an inspection on a boat that is only advertised at $2,000. Making a few calls and finding a business that fits your budget and will come out to make sure that the engine and boat you're looking at isn't a lemon is the smartest decision you'll make in your boating purchase.

Following our tips will hopefully save you the emotional and financial pain of buying a boat that could cost you thousands to repair. If your pre-purchase inspection reveals major problems that need repair then obviously negotiate this with the seller for a price that both parties are comfortable with. As my father says, ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’ and this couldn't be more applicable when buying a boat.

Comments (1)

good insight

By: on 22 April 2017
My husband wants to invest in a boat with an outboard motor. However, I don't like rushing into an investment without doing some research. I learned the hard way that this is totally right that you need to keep your emotions in check when making an investment.

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