A used boat can save a ton of money and make boating a reality for many more families. Buying a used boat can be a bit like buying a used car. You will find that there is a wide range of conditions and qualities among these used boats. Some boats will be very highly-priced, and others seem suspiciously low. When purchasing a used boat, you have to be a bit of a detective.

Doing some serious research into the boat that you are about to purchase is the only way to make sure you don’t end up with a lemon. If you are new to boating, boats can get a lot more expensive than cars, but it happens really fast.

Here are a few steps that you should take when you are checking out a used boat. These steps will help you make sure you end up with a boat that keeps you and your family safe.

Steps To Take To Inspect A Used Boat

Check Service Records

A responsible boat owner is going to have detailed service records on their boat. If you ask about the service records and you get a blank stare from the boat owner, this is a major red flag. If a boat is not being taken in for service on a yearly or bi-annually basis, the owner must be doing it themselves.

Usually you can tell by the condition of the boat and the condition of the owner whether or not they have been keeping up with the maintenance. We always trust the boats with better service records.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about maintenance and what the owner does to keep the boat in excellent condition.

Look for Cracks In The Used Boat

You may be surprised how many people try to sell a boat that has a crack. Certainly, a crack in the hull is a deal-breaker. If this crack is not disclosed to you during the buying process or setting up to come to see the boat, then this is even more of a deal-breaker. There could be more to the boat that the owner is not telling you.

Walk around the entire outside of the boat. If there is even a tiny crack, you should steer clear of this boat. Tiny cracks turn into big cracks very quickly, and this is not a headache that you want to deal with.

Inspect The Running Gear

If you have been in the boating game a while, you know that damage to a prop is, unfortunately, quite common. When you look at the lower section of the outboard, you should be inspected closely for any damage or issues. Damage or issues to the running gear could lead to internal problems.

Unfortunately, when it comes to internal issues in the boat, you will look at spending quite a bit of money.

Compression Check

Run a compression check on all cylinders. You will know there is an issue if the PSI is below 140. When you see this low PSI, there is likely a problem with the cylinder.

Gear Case Oil

With outboard engines, drain a small sample of gear case oil. If the oil appears milky whatsoever, this indicates water intrusion in the lower unit. Water intrusion in the lower unit is a cause for concern and something you should think about before making your decision to purchase this boat.

Trailer Check

If the boat includes a trailer, take a look over the tires, wiring, condition of the bunks, and ask when the bearings and brakes were last serviced. Having a roadside breakdown won’t be an enjoyable situation.

Most of the time, the trailer is one of the least expensive parts of your boat purchase. If you have found a perfect boat, but the trailer needs some help, this is still a purchase worth considering. When you find an ideal trailer and a troublesome boat, run away!

Hire An Expert

If you have found the boat that you think will work for your boating needs, then it is time to hire an expert and have them take a full look at the boat. Knowing what to do yourself before calling in an expert is very important. It will save you money, and it will teach you quite a bit about the important features to keep an eye on as a boat owner.

Hopefully, our guide has helped give you a basic idea of what you should look out for when purchasing a used boat. These tips are designed to rule out all the bad boats and get you out on the water with the boat of your dreams.