Boats ‘n Bros: The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Used Boat

Are you thinking about buying a brand-new boat right now? It’s going to cost you a pretty penny.

Even if you purchase a relatively basic speedboat without all the bells and whistles, you’re going to end up paying upwards of $20,000 for it. It’s also going to cost you a lot of money to get insurance for a new boat.

Rather than taking this approach to boat ownership, how about buying a used boat instead? It’ll cost just a fraction of what a new boat does, and it’ll serve the same exact purpose once you get it out on the water.

Before you go about buying a used boat, there are different steps that you’re going to want to take to ensure you get the best boat possible. Here is how you should work your way through the process of purchasing a used boat.

Begin by Deciding What You’re Going to Do With Your Used Boat

After buying a used boat, what exactly are you going to do with it? That’s the first question you should ask yourself before you even think about purchasing a boat.

Are you going to:

  • Fish on the boat?

  • Use the boat to participate in watersports?

  • Cruise around on the boat?

  • Race the boat?

  • Party on the boat?

By deciding what you’re going to use your used boat for sale, you can make sure that you’re able to find a boat that will fit your specific needs. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money on a boat that isn’t equipped to do what you need it to do out on the water.

It might be a good idea to sit and compile a list of things you imagine yourself doing on your boat. It’ll help you later on when you’re checking out different boats.

Come Up With a Budget for Buying a Used Boat

How much can you afford to spend on a used boat? That’s another question that you’re going to want to think about prior to looking at a single boat.

As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t have to pay anywhere close to what you would pay for a new boat when buying a used boat. However, there are certainly some boats out there that can cost tens of thousands of dollars despite being used.

Crunch the numbers to find out what you think you can afford to pay for your used boat. Doing this will make it so much easier to narrow down your options once you start shopping for boats.

Take a Look Around at the Used Boats for Sale in Your Area

New boat sales have been on the rise in recent years. There are more than 250,000 new boats being sold each year at this point.

This is great news for those interested in buying a used boat. Since a lot of the people who are buying boats are buying them new, it’s leaving more used boats on the open market and giving people plenty of options if they don’t mind going with a used boat.

Take a look around at some of the used boats that are currently for sale in your city or town. You can find them by searching through your local newspaper or looking at one of the many online marketplaces that are out there.

You should be able to start to compile a list of used boats that you like by checking out your options. There will be a few used boats that start to pull away from the pack and look better than your other choices.

Arrange to See Several of the Used Boats You Like Best

After you’ve looked around at the used boats that are for sale in local newspapers and online, you can go ahead and start setting up showings for the used boats that you like the most.

Reach out to the buyers for the used boats and let them know that you’re thinking about potentially buying their boat. Try not to sound too overeager when you call or email them since that could hurt you at the negotiating table later.

Set up times and places to see each boat you’re considering. If possible, it would be great if you could see the boats out of the water before putting the boats into the water to take them for a spin.

Inspect the Used Boats You Like From Top to Bottom

Once you’ve arranged to see a handful of different used boats, head out and check each one of them out. When you arrive at a boat, be prepared to inspect it from top to bottom to see what kind of condition it’s in.

During a boat inspection, you should:

  • Check to see if there are any obvious cracks in the boat

  • Look around for any other signs of possible damage

  • See if you spot any mold or mildew growing in or on the boat

  • Start the boat up and see how it sounds

  • Test out the oil in the boat

You should also take a good, long look at the boat’s propeller. If it looks like it needs to be replaced, you’re going to need to learn how to choose a boat propeller if you buy it. Make sure you’re up for that challenge.

Read Up on the Used Boat You’re Thinking About Buying

After you’ve had the chance to check out all of the used boats that interest you the most, take a step back and think about which one you like best. Then, read up on that boat as much as you can so that you know everything there is to know about it.

Try to find out things like:

  • How much the boat is worth in its current condition

  • How long you can expect the boat to last

  • What common issues people have with the boat

  • What you’ll need to do to maintain the boat

  • How much insurance is going to cost for the boat

You want to know that you’re making the right decision when buying a used boat.

Make Sure You Have a Good Place to Keep a Used Boat

Do you have somewhere you can keep the used boat you’re thinking about buying? Don’t forget to ask yourself that question at some point in time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on keeping the boat at a dock or taking the boat out of the water when you’re done using it. You need to have someplace to put your boat at all times.

Figure out where that place is going to be and make sure it’ll fit there based on how large the boat is. You don’t want to buy a used boat only to realize that you don’t have the slightest clue where to store it.

Negotiate the Price of a Used Boat Down as Much as You Can

At the end of all this, you should be ready to put in an offer on the used boat that you want. You should also be prepared to enter into negotiations with the seller of the used boat until you’re happy with the price.

Selling a used boat is a lot different than selling a used car. There is a much smaller market for used boats, and you should take full advantage of that. You should attempt to drive a hard bargain and get the used boat you want at a low price.

Don’t be afraid to go back and forth with a used boat seller several times until you land on a price that makes both of you happy. It might take some work on your part, but you should be able to get a great deal when buying a used boat.

Buy Your Used Boat and Start Using It Right Away

After the seller of a used boat has accepted your final offer, you’re free to take their boat off their hands and register it in your name. You’re also free to put it right into the water and start driving it around, provided you have a boating license.

You should begin using it for its intended purpose right from the beginning and make the most of owning a boat. You’ll have a blast in your used boat and love everything about being a boat owner.

Buying a Used Boat Will Be One of the Best Decisions You Ever Make

If you’ve always dreamed about buying a boat, what are you waiting for? There are so many boats out there that are just waiting for a buyer.

Instead of buying a brand-new boat, think about buying a used boat that will get you out on the water without breaking the bank. You’ll be so glad that you took that approach to buying a boat once you see how much money you’re able to save.

You’ll also love spending as much time as you can fishing, taking part in watersports, or doing whatever else you plan to do on your boat. You’ll wonder why you didn’t think to buy a boat sooner.

Would you like to read more about buying boats? Browse through the articles on our blog to learn all about purchasing new and used boats.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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