For some people, the call of the sea is strong. For others, the call of a relaxing day driving around a lake is just as good! No matter what your level of aquatic affinity, owning a boat can be a great experience. The freedom it provides is unlike any other kind of recreational vehicle. There’s one downside to boat ownership however. That’s the huge cost to get into it! Quite simply, boats are expensive.
Boats are expensive to buy and they are expensive to maintain. Not everyone can really afford to spend tens or hundreds of thousands on a new boat. That’s where used boats come into play! Used boats often offer excellent watercraft at prices that most people can afford. Finding the right used boat will mean the chance to get out and be the captain you’ve always wanted to be!
General Buying Information
When you’re decided on a used boat, you first need to decide which type of boat you are interested in. There’s a huge variety out there. The sheer number of different types of powerboats makes choosing a boat difficult. Some boats to consider include:
- Houseboats – Slow boats with living quarters for you to relax on.
- Bowrider – These powerboats have extra seats in front of the helm and are a good all around family boat or for beginners.
- Cruiser – These are larger powerboats which have a cabin in the bow and can usually be used for full overnight stays on the water. Typically these run from 21 to 45 feet in length!
- Pontoon Boat – These are stable boats that are used for fishing and socializing. They are best on lakes and rivers, as they don’t handle open sea waters well.
- Runabout – These are typical small powerboats that often are a secondary option to large yachts. They can also be a good choice for people who just want to enjoy a nice cruise, or do some light fishing.
- Sailboats – These are also broken down into many categories. Whether you’re interested in a ketch, schooner, sloop or cutter, there’s a sailboat for everyone. Typically, the names refer to different kind of sail setups.
Tips to Avoid a Bad Boat
If you’re buying a used boat, there’s a reason it’s for sale. While plenty of times, it’s simply a boater looking to move on to something else, there are also bad reasons. Many unscrupulous people will try to sell their boats when they know there is damage to them. Because of this, you should always perform your own inspection of the boat in question. Try some of these tips when conducting your inspection:
- Inspect Below the Waterline – Finding some small cracks above the waterline aren’t that hard. However, if they are beneath, there can be issues. It’s also important to note that many small spiderweb cracks are just cosmetic and not an issue. Once a crack gets beyond 2 inches, then things are an issue.
- Ensure Seats are Solid – Loose seats are often a sign that there’s something wrong with the floor. Either the bolts for the seat may be damaged, or the floor could be rotted!
- Mildew is the Enemy – Look at all areas that have carpet, upholstery or cloth. Make sure that all of these items have been cleaned properly and no mildew has surfaced.
- Check Electronics – The electrics on a boat can often become badly damaged from water and moisture. Make sure everything is ship shape. Multiple small issues may be a sign that the entire electronic system is ready to go.
- Listen to the Engine – You can’t see the engine as it’s running, but you can listen. Odd vibrations, excess smoke or an overall high level of noise can be a sign something is wrong.
Finding Used Boats
Finding boats to buy isn’t too hard. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to take advantage of the internet, you can try classified ads in newspapers. You can also simply drop by a marina, as they will likely have local used sales listings.
The internet is a fantastic resources though. Websites like boattrader.com work to allow you to sort through many thousands of boats in order to find exactly what you need. Make sure if you’re buying a boat that you have a way to transport it to the body of water you’re intending to keep it in. If you’re storing the boat at home, make sure that your trailer will work.