Questions to Ask Before Buying a Boat

1. Are you the original owner of the boat?

a. How long have you owned the boat?

2. Why did you decide to sell?

3. Is there a warranty left on the boat?

a. If yes, is it transferable?

b. If yes, what does the warranty cover?

4. How often was the boat serviced?

a. Who serviced it?

b. Do you have documentation of those services?

5. How many hours has the engine been used? (An estimate will work)

6. Where did you store the boat during the off-season and during a storm?

7. What maintenance issues has the boat had?

8. Were there any major repairs to the boat or outboard?

a. Is this the original motor that came with the boat?

9. Does the boat have any little quirks?

10. What was the worst problem you had with the boat in your opinion?

11. Was the boat used in saltwater or freshwater?

a. If used in saltwater, did you rinse with freshwater after every use?

12. Is there additional equipment included in the sale?

a. Cover?

b. Trailer?

c. Personal Flotation Devices?

Is the trailer galvanized or painted?

13. What is the boat’s max HP?

14. How is the condition of the wiring onboard?

15. What is the condition of the boat’s accessories?

a. Running lights?

b. Lines?

c. Anchor Chain and Amp?

d. Rode?

16. What condition are the electronics in?

17. How many bilge pumps are there?

a. In what condition are they?

18. Would I be able to do a sea trial?

19. Are float switches automatic?

20. What size are the scuppers?

21. Are there any cracks in the fiberglass?

22. Is there any water in the transom?

23. Are any hubs or bearing rusted?


Other Tips:

  • Have the boat surveyed
  • Get the service records
  • Have the engine inspected by a certified marine professional
  • Look for any small cracks, mold, or moisture in the fiberglass and/or wooden areas. This can indicate rot in areas like the hull, transom, and floor. If any of these signs of rotting are found, I would personally walk away from the sale.
  • Look for loose seats, which can indicate the floor may be rotten (worst case-scenario), or the bolts are stripped.
  • Look for mildew on the seats, boat top, or carpet.
  • Check for thin, worn, or cracked belts.
  • Look at the oil in the outboard. If it feels gritty, this could indicate metal filings in the engine. This would be a big problem. If you have a suspicion that there is oil in the engine, ask to get it analyzed before the purchase.
  • Take a boat loan even when able to pay with cash. With the bank involved, they will go the extra mile to get a title search before loaning you the money. They require a certificate of title.




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