Boat sellers are eager to get rid of their boats. Boat buyers are eager to get on the water and have some fun. This is a perfect equation for a common boat buying bust – purchasing a used vessel and getting in over your head. Here are some things to watch out for to make sure you aren’t taken advantage of in the used boat market.
Don’t Buy Sight Unseen
Looks can be deceiving, especially when someone is trying to sell a piece of junk. Always check out a boat in-person before making the purchase. If you are unable to see the boat in-person, ask a friend. There are even people you can hire to see if the boat is as good as advertised.
Sign a Contract
Whatever deal you make, get it in writing. If the deal is too good to be true after the purchase, and you don’t have a contract, you’re plain out of luck. Always have a document signed by both parties in the deal to assure the agreed-on terms are followed.
Hire a Marine Surveyor
Almost all boat-buyers who encounter problems with their newly-purchased used vessels did not have the boat surveyed or sea trialed. It costs a little bit more to have a boat surveyed, but it is significantly cheaper than having to fix any problems that might occur after the sale. Also, a great boating experience and peace of mind are priceless.
This one kind of seems like common sense. However, how do you actually know if the seller if over-valuing the boat? You can have a used boat valued at BoatU.S. for free if you are a member. You can also research if the boat or engine you are interested in has a history of problems.
Record the Boats HIN
The HIN is found on the upper part of the transom on the starboard side. It should match the title and registration. Now you can check if the records on the boat are legitimate and if the owner is legally allowed to sell it.
Ask About Problems
Obviously, you should ask the owner if they know about any problems with the vessel. Unfortunately, they might play dumb to get you on your way. When you ask the owner about any problems with the boat, no matter what their answer is, get it in writing with a signature. The seller will be more truthful if there is documentation of what they say. Also, inquire about the boat’s past. There are some instances where sellers aren’t legally obligated to inform the buyers of all the boat’s issues unless the buyer asks.
Buying a used boat can be scary, but it can be a great way to save money and get on the water. Follow these steps to make sure you don’t get duped. Joining a boat club can be an even better option, as you don’t have to worry about being tricked or any of the hassles of boating. Have you ever purchased a used boat? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear about your experiences!