Home Boats Buying a Second-hand Boat? Here’s What You Need to Know

Buying a Second-hand Boat? Here’s What You Need to Know

by Terry Ryan

Buying a boat can be a hefty investment. So when you start looking at used boats for sale, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. To get the best deal, you need to have a good understanding of the used boat market as well as knowing what you should look for in a second hand boat.

To help you avoid bad deals, we’re going to discuss five key things that you need to know about buying a second-hand boat.

  1. Maintenance history

When looking at used boats, one of the first things you should do is request the service history documentation. The servicing records will let you know how often the boat was taken in for maintenance. If the boat has been routinely inspected and properly maintained throughout its working life, there’s a high chance that that boat is still in good working condition.

It’s also important that all inspections and servicing has been carried out by a qualified marine surveyor or mechanic. Professional surveyors will be able to accurately assess the seaworthiness of the boat. Additionally, they’ll be able to check if any substandard parts have been used for repairs.

The records will also show all the issues the boat has had in the past. This will give you a good idea of the kind of problems you might encounter in the future and what sort of repairs you might have to pay for.

  1. Hours of use

If you’re buying a used boat, it’s essential that you know how much it has travelled. Knowing this will give you an idea of how many years the vehicle can continue to function. Depending on this number, the price of the boat in question can rise or fall.

If you’re buying a used car, you can simply look at the odometer to find out how many kilometres the car has travelled. Boats, however, don’t have an odometer. Instead of measuring distance, boats are measured in hours. While some boats have an hour meter, these are often inaccurate and, unlike odometers, they can be easily disconnected or tampered with.

So, get a sense of how much a boat has travelled, you will need a mechanic to inspect the engine. While the engine is running, the mechanic will listen for unusual noises and vibrations. When conducting a visual inspection, they will also look for corrosion and oil leaks. These things are often signs that the engine has a lot of time under its belt and is therefore more prone to breakdowns.

When it comes to engine inspections, we recommend that you get the help of a qualified marine surveyor. They will be able to accurately assess how old the engine is and, more importantly, determine if it’s still seaworthy.

  1. Condition of the boat
Second Hand Boats For Sale

Once you’ve determined the condition of the engine, it’s time to thoroughly inspect the rest of the boat. Sometimes, the boat you’re looking to buy may seem fine on the surface. However, when you look a little deeper, you might find a number of issues.

When a marine surveyor conducts a boat inspection, they will make note of the following items:

  • Holes, dents and cracks on the transom, hull, etc.
  • Mould or mildew
  • Condition of electrical systems – damaged wiring, corrosion, etc.
  • Condition of navigational instruments – faulty lighting, compass operation, etc.
  • Functionally of the radio and other communication systems
  • Functionality of the bilge pump
  • Condition of the doors, hatches and windows

Not all sellers will be entirely candid about the condition of the vehicle. Because of this, it’s important to be thorough when inspecting the boat.

  1. Included extras

In order to make the boat look presentable and functional, sometimes the seller will add a little flair to the listing photos. The seller might add furniture, safety equipment or various electronics to add to the appeal of the boat. In some cases, these extra items may not be included with the boat you’re purchasing.

If you’re not sure about which items are included in the deal, make sure to contact the seller. Sometimes, the absence of these extra items can lower the value of the vehicle significantly, so it’s important that you know exactly what you’re getting before you part with your money.

  1. The importance of inspection

In Australia, boats need to meet certain legal requirements to be considered seaworthy. In Victoria, the equipment that your boat requires will depend on the type of waterway that you’re sailing in. Coastal waters, enclosed waters and inland waters all require different types of safety equipment. The items that you’ll need will also differ depending on the type of vessel that you have and your distance from the shore. So, before you buy that boat, make sure that it has everything that it needs to meet local regulations.

There you have it, five key things that you need to know about buying second hand-boats. Once again, we highly recommend getting the help of a qualified marine surveyor to help you with the inspection process. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your new boat is fit to sail the waters of Australia.

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