Used Boat Buying Guide

When you’re beginning your search for a used boat, it is important to follow a few basic steps. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your dollar. Regardless of where you purchase your pre-owned boat, there are a variety of things that you must know going into the process and items to pay close attention to for wear and tear. Don’t rush into anything and take your time to find out all of the facts first.

1. The Boat Maintenance’s History – you need to ask for the used boat’s maintenance history in order for you to know what work has been completed on the boat in the past. In addition, it allows you to be aware if its past owner has continued to care for it.
 
2. Inspect the Boat – have a maritime mechanic carry out an inspection on the boat prior to purchasing it. Boat inspections can be costly, but it could save you time, headaches and money in the future. 

3. Hull Condition – inspecting the hull’s condition is extremely important in buying a used boat. You must examine for holes, dry rot, gel blisters and mismatched paint. You need to walk around the boat and tap the hull throughout to ensure that the materials used are solid.

4. Propeller – examine the propeller and look for any nicks or cracks, or if it is warped or bent. All of these can have an impact on the propeller’s efficiency and the condition of the lower-end unit.

5. Upholstery – search for fading colors, marks and ripped seams. The protective coating will start to wear on older boats and it can be costly to replace the cushions. Make sure there are no signs of foam damage. It’s much cheaper to replace the vinyl covers of the cushions than to replace the foam.

6. Storage of the Boat – you need to check if the boat you will be purchasing was stored when not in use. The ideal storage for the used boat is a dry dock, but it is also acceptable if it was kept outdoors and covered up.

7. Boat Accessories – always be sure to ask if there are other items included with this pre-owned boat. Many times, the previous owner will have items like personal flotation devices, sound producing devices and fire extinguishers available.  This will save you time and money since these items are required to be on your boat. 

8. Boat Evaluation Guides – use guides such as NADA or BUCValue to determine the present market value for the boat you are interested in purchasing. These will show you the suggested list price, the low retail price and the average retail price of a comparable boat.

9. Boat Trailer– make sure to check the leaf springs on the trailer’s suspension. The other item that will start wearing will be the electronics and the turn signals. Make sure the wheel bearings have been packed with grease and the trailer has been rinsed regularly. Ask if it’s been sitting outside near salt water for extended periods of time. The salt in the air is very corrosive to trailers.

Unless you are experienced in buying boats, as a general rule, we don’t recommend buying from private sellers. A reputable boat dealership with a great track record can walk you through the boat buying process and give you great words of advice. We would love to help you with your next purchase! Please call any one of our three Ingman Marine Central Florida locations for a sales representative to help you with any of your questions. We have many major boat manufacturers in stock, including (but not limited to): Pathfinder, Maverick, Sea Hunt, Bennington Marine platform boats, Cobia, Grady-White and many more of your favorite Center-Console Bay Boats and Flats Boats.

Now that you know a few more things to look out for when buying your next used or pre-owned boat, what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy boating on our beautiful Florida waters!

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