A careful decision at the outset can provide years of boating pleasure
It’s hard not to let your emotions take over when you’re buying a boat. After all, catching that trophy salmon is a lot more fun to think about than fiberglass separation, corrosion, and dry rot!
These tips will ensure you set “sale” in the right direction.
- Know the type and model of boat you want before you start shopping. That way, you’ll know its standard features, options, maintenance costs, procedures, etc., before you’re face-to-face with a salesperson. Also, check out magazines like Boating, Sea, and Powerboat to read test-result ratings of watercraft and engines.
- Talk with owners of similar models to learn about potential problems. Discuss your prospective purchase with service shops, too. That will give you an idea of parts availability and cost.
- Check the boat’s stress points. Cracks or lines in the hull or bubbles or layer separation in fiberglass can tip you off to poor construction or maintenance.
- If you’re buying a used boat, ask to see the owner’s maintenance records. Deferred maintenance or repeated repairs can be signs of a defect, hard usage, or an aging boat. If the boat is being sold by a dealer, ask for the previous owner’s phone number so you can ask about problems.
- Get an out-of-water marine survey for any older or frequently used boat. A confident seller won’t object.
- Be wary of quick deals, very low prices, or cash-only deals. The boat could be stolen. Don’t buy a boat if the hull identification number has been altered or removed. If it was manufactured after 1972, a 12-character identification number must appear. It’s usually on the upper-right section of the transom.
- Ask for proof of ownership from the seller – that means a registration certificate, bill of sale, or legal title. Require that the seller show you some personal ID, too.
- Check the boat’s insurability. Older wooden boats and high-powered boats, for example, may not qualify for PEMCO coverage.