What to Look for When Buying a Used Boat
Posted in Wednesday, May 25, 2022

What’s more stressful than trying to buy a used boat? There are so many unknowns and it’s easy for a misinformed buyer to walk into a trap and waste a boatload of money. No pun intended.

In this guide, we’ll explain what to look for when buying a used boat. By using this information, you can help avoid a scam and ensure you only buy the perfect boat for your needs.

How the Used Boat Buying Process Works

Buying a used boat all starts with picking the right type of boat. You’ll have to consider what activities you want to do, how fast you want to go, and how many guests you want to bring on the boat with you.

From there, you’ll need to narrow it down to a few boats for sale. You’ll either be buying directly from a private seller or a boat dealer.

It’s a good idea to limit where you’re looking for a boat. Shipping and inspecting a boat isn’t cheap, especially if you’re buying a boat hundreds of miles away.

When you find the right boat, you’ll need to make an offer. It’s standard to have the deal contingent on a sea trial and survey before handing over the cash. The last thing you want to do is buy a lemon of a boat.

Once you meet with the seller, take a close look at the boat. Bring a surveyor with you to look over the boat. Depending on their recommendation, it’s up to you to accept or deny the vessel.

Finally, it’s time to shake hands and smile. You just bought a used boat! Determine what type of delivery you want and wait excitedly for your new vessel.

Red Flags to Look for

While you’re doing the inspection with a surveyor, keep an eye out for some red flags. The exterior will be your first clue. If the boat is messy, falling apart, and has unmaintained wood, then you might be looking at a waste of money.

Windows and ports need to be properly sealed. Take a look at the rub rails and see how much damage they show. Excessive damage shows that the boat was rammed into docks or other boats at least once. Any cracks along the exterior are a major red flag.

The interior should also be checked. If the floorboards are old, there’s moisture around the hatches, and there are leaks in the engine room, you need to turn around and walk away from the deal. These are indicative of larger issues that mean you’ll waste a ton of time and money on this boat.


Remember, some people are selling their boat because something is horribly wrong with it. If they’re a bad person, they won’t disclose this information in an attempt to scam you into a purchase.

Advantages of Buying Used

Buying a brand-new boat might be enticing, but a lot of people prefer to get it used, instead. Why? The big reason is the price.

In extreme cases, you could be saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. In an everyday scenario, you’ll save a big percentage on the purchase of a used boat.

This money goes right into your pocket. It’s similar to buying a used car, but the depreciation is a little steeper for some boats.

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