As summer approaches, you might be considering buying a used boat to enjoy with friends and family. Buying a used boat does not have to be a bad experience but there are a lot of common mistakes that people make. If you are looking to buy a used boat this year then here are ten of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. The biggest mistake that people make when they decide to purchase a used boat is they forget to consider the needs and accommodations they will need. You always should think over your boating needs such as how big you need, how many seats you should have and any special features you want the boat to have. You should not just think of buying a used boat if you do not know what you need or what you are looking for. Be sure to talk the specific details you want with your used boat with your friends or family to make sure you are going in the right direction. Sometimes people will buy a used boat but realize later on that it does not come with enough room or that the boat is too big to place in your storage area. Make sure that you have all of the specific details about what kind of boat you want figured out before you even look at what used boats are available.
2. Another common mistake people make when it comes to buying a used boat is that they do not shop around enough. You should always remember that you do not have to buy the first boat that you see, and you should always shop around to see what is out there. People sometimes tend to just jump right on the first used boat that they see if it is in their price range, and this is a mistake because there might be a better deal out there. You can avoid this mistake buy looking in the classified ads for a few weeks before deciding upon the used boat you want and always make sure you take time to consider each boat carefully before you buy it.
3 When buying a used boat you also want to talk with the previous owner of the boat to ask them specific questions relating to the boat. A mistake that people make is that they forget to ask how the boat handles on the water, what water the boat was used in and the performance of the boat. You should always ask basic questions about the performance of the boat to make sure that it will fit your needs and that you are getting a good quality boat for your money. Talking to the previous owner about how the boat handles can help you determine whether or not that boat will be a good idea for your needs. You should write down a lot of questions to ask the owner of the used boat before you even consider buying it. Another good question to ask the owner of the used boat is if they were the only owner of the boat or if it has been bought and sold previously. You always want to know the history of the used boat because you never know if it was stolen or engaged in illegal activities.
4. When buying a used boat you should also avoid with dealing with people that are out of your area. It is always a good idea to make sure that you deal with someone locally so you can meet the person and take a look at the boat in person. A lot of people use the Internet to make transactions and buy used boats, but if the person is not in your area then you are usually just seeing pictures. Pictures are nice but you will not get a good look at the interior and exterior of the boat, which can help you detect problems such as dents or possible mechanical failures. Dealing locally if you want to buy a used boat is important because you want to be able to visually inspect the boat yourself without relying on the word of the seller or pictures.
5. Another common mistake people make when buying a used boat is not checking into the history of the boat. Just like with a car, you can check the history of the boat by using the Hull Identification Number or HIN, which is similar to the Vehicle Identification Number used for cars. The HIN will either be found on the insurance paperwork, registration or on the title and it will be 12 characters long. You might also find the HIN on the back of the used boat in the upper right-hand corner. You can use various online websites such as Boat History Report to check the background of the used boat which can tell you information such as previous owners, accident reports and whether or not the boat has a clear title. A lot of people do not know that there is a HIN and often will just take the word of the owner to be true and it can cost you a lot of money in the long run. You can avoid problems with the boat or problems regarding the title if you take the time to ask for the HIN from the owner of the used boat and run a report to make sure everything checks out okay.
6. People also make the mistake when it comes to thinking that the only money you will invest in the used boat is for the boat itself. There are a lot of expenses related to buying a boat and sometimes even more expense if you buy a used boat. A few of the common mistakes people make is that they forget the boat needs a title, registration and insurance which will all cost you money. Then you have to think about where you will store the boat and any fees associated with storage as well as the trailer you will need to haul your boat. The boat will also need gas and oil and maintenance just like a car or other type of transportation. Before you even buy your used boat you will need to think about the cost associated with the storage, hauling and upkeep of the boat to make sure you are making the right decision for your family based on your personal financial situation. You do not want to buy the used boat and then get into financial trouble because you forgot how much money you actually have to invest to maintain the boat.
7. Used boats are not just found in the paper anymore and sometimes the best deals you might find could be on websites like Craigslist. People make the mistake of just looking in the newspaper or in their local store for classified ads where people are selling their boat. You should take the time to think about all of the resources we now have to buy products like a used boat and then use each type of method in order to find just the right boat. There are plenty of ways you can find your used boat such as Ebay, Craigslist and other community websites that offer you more ways to find what you are looking for. Sometimes the best deals you can find will be through an online site where the boat is for sale by owner and not through a dealership. Make sure that you access all of the websites and classifieds in your local community in order to find the best deal.
8. Do not forget that first appearances can go a long way when it comes to buying something used like a boat. If you show up to look at a used boat and you find that it is dirty or in horrible conditions, this is probably a warning sign that other more serious problems could exist. When it comes to showing your boat for sell, you would think that people would at least clean the boat to make it look acceptable to the potential buyer. People make the mistake in thinking that the boat is just dirty and needs a good cleaning or thinking the seller has too much to do to clean the boat before selling it. This is not always the case and it might mean that the seller is trying to either hide something more serious or that they just do not care what condition the boat is in. It might not be a deal breaker but if the boat looks bad on the outside then it could mean there are problems on the inside and this could pose a danger to you and your family. When it comes to buying a used boat, you should avoid a seller who does not care about the exterior of the boat because looks are important and it tells you a lot about the seller and how they maintain their boat. In order to avoid complications that might be hidden from a dirty boat, you should just avoid buying a boat that looks like it has never been maintained or cleaned.
9. Another mistake people make when it comes to buying a used boat is that they forget to have a professional look at the boat before they buy it. Sure you might know a lot about boats or know a lot about mechanics, but you might miss a potential serious problem that could result in injury. Before you decide to purchase any used boat, you should have a skilled mechanic or someone knowledgeable in the mechanics of boating to check it out with you. Never just buy a boat thinking it is okay on the inside and outside based on what you see because there might be hidden problems not visible to you. You should always find a mechanic or reputable boat repairman before you buy that boat to come with you and give it a checkup. If you take a mechanic or person with you that is very knowledgeable about boats, you might save yourself a lot of money and headache if there are mechanical or other problems with the used boat.
10. Before you buy any used boat you should always make sure you know the rules and regulations of your particular region or state. You might consider taking a course on boating in your community which will often go over the rules about boating in your region and all laws that will apply to you as a boat owner. Make sure you know local and state laws regarding the boat and any licensing that will come with owning the boat. This is important for anyone who wants to purchase a boat, whether it is used or new. The mistake that people make is that they think they can buy a used boat and then be on their way to the lake, and that is not the case. There are a lot of boating laws and regulations you have to comply with and not knowing them can get you a ticket. If you are thinking about buying a used boat then you should consider taking a boating course in your area that can help you figure out what license you will need and all of the laws applicable in your area. This can save you a lot of time and money in the long run, especially if you plan on boating a lot in the future. Buying a boat is a lot like buying a car when it comes to making sure you know the rules and regulations and laws in your state that will apply to you.
Myself, personal experience
San Francisco Bay Area Boater Staff, “Common Boat Buying Mistakes”, San Francisco Bay Area Boater