Hands tying up a boat to a dock.

Buying a used boat can be an incredibly exciting – and somewhat daunting – prospect. Finally, you’ll be the captain of your own ship, charting your own course. But how do you go about it, and what do you need to be looking out for?

Fall is considered one of the best times for a boat purchase! If you’re ready to take advantage of boat buying season, read our few pointers to help the whole transaction go smoothly.

Our 5 Tips for Buying a Used Boat

Do Your Research

Before you make any big purchase, you want to do some soul searching and deep research to determine the best boat for you!
A few questions to get you started:
– What type of boat is best suited for your favorite activities?
– What body of water will you be on most often?
– Will kids, friends, or other loved ones be joining you on this boat?

Be sure to do online price comparisons so you’ll have an idea of fair pricing.

Create Your Budget

Even though it can be a big expense, with a little bit of planning, a new boat might just be in your future. Budgeting is a great way to determine what you can comfortably afford. You can use this handy boat loan calculator to help you make a sound financial decision.

Don’t forget about hidden costs including:

  • License and permits
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Docking fees
  • Insurance

Get a Closer Look

Once you have a vessel selected, it’s time to get in there and examine it. Make sure to check for cleanliness, gashes, or nicks, especially along the hull.
Pay special attention to the engine:

  • Is it clean?
  • How does it sound when it’s running?
  • Can you take it out for a test run?

Also, keep a special eye (and nose) out for mildew. That’s a problem you won’t want to deal with down the road.

Learn the Boat’s History

Talk to the boat’s seller to glean more information about the elements you can’t necessarily see:

  • Are there records of engine repairs you can look through?
  • What do you need to know about the boat’s history?
  • Have there been any major incidents you should know about?

Any information will help give you a sense of what to look out for once you officially own the boat!

The Art of Negotiation

If you do your homework, you may just be able to negotiate your seller down to a better price. You’ll want to keep tabs on:

  • The going price for the style and age of the boat you’re hoping to buy.
  • Any damage the boat has sustained.

This boat price tracker tool can come in handy for this part of the journey. Don’t forget: you potentially have an opportunity to counteroffer.

Bonus tip: Once the sale goes through, be sure to register your boat and add your new vessel to your insurance plan. You might also want to start researching boat taxes so you don’t get a nasty surprise come April 15th.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Don’t forget the little details that make a new boat uniquely yours. From a new GPS to fresh fishing gear, you have the power to ensure your boat is set up just how you want it.

Take it from us – once your new boat arrives you’re going to want to spend as much time on it as possible. And to do that, you’ll want to be comfortable! Our Smooth Moves Seats allow you to enjoy the waves without suffering back or joint pain. Plus, your friends and family (who’ll be dying to check out your new ride) will love them, too.

Shop our selection now!