Looking at a used boat for sale? Here are a few things to consider before you open up your wallet!

The BOATsmart! team certainly knows how great a pastime boating is for Canadians and we want to help you to find the perfect boat for your lifestyle. You’re going to have a great summer as a boater but first–you have to find that boat!

If you’re thinking about buying a boat, remember that it is not unlike buying a used car. You should be concerned about the boat’s general quality, its history, and the wear and tear the boat motor has seen.

By asking the right questions and playing your cards right, you may just end up with a great boat for a really reasonable price!

You’ll find this helpful: ‘used boat’ terminology:

  • Beware the term:  “as is” – Make sure to ask the seller if the boat even floats
  • Love the term: “or best offer” – This is your opportunity to save a few bucks–barter!

Tips For Buying a Reliable Boat

  • Narrow down your needs: Figure out exactly what type of boat you want, what length of boat will fit at your dock and what type of engine would be the best fit for your planned activities. This will certainly help narrow down your search for the right used boat for you and your family!
  • Get your boat license before you shop for your boat: For those first time boat buyers out there, remember that you must have a boat license (Pleasure Craft Operator Card) in order to operate a boat in Canada–get certified online with BOATsmart! today–it’s all about getting on the water with confidence.
  • Budget, budget, budget: Break down your numbers and determine what you can afford to spend on a used boat. Can you afford to but its required equipment? How about the cost of the boat’s maintenance and fuel? Knowing what you can afford will make the experience of shopping for a boat less stressful.
  • Remember that the larger the boat, the larger the cost: It will cost more to buy, more to insure, more to fuel, more to store at a marina, etc. Is bigger really better for you? You can receive a free insurance quote online by visiting BOATsmart! Assure™.
  • Know your engine types: There are different kinds of boat motors–do you know the difference between a 2-stroke diesel engine and an EFI engine? Better find out before you buy!
  • Look for damage on the outside of the boat. Are there any cracks in the fiberglass? You won’t be able to tell if it floats when it’s sitting on a trailer! They are hard to spot–so look closely! Inspect the inside for damage as well: are the seats moldy or loosely connected to the floorboards? They should feel securely bolted down when you sit down in them.
  • Check the boat’s safety equipment to make sure that everything your boat is required to carry is there and that all of the gear is in good, working condition. Remember that flares expire, fire extinguishers need to be shaken every month, wooden paddles will crack with age, etc. It’s the law to have working safety equipment in good condition!
  • Find out if there is still a warranty on the boat. Some boats may still have a warranty that you may be able to take advantage of. This is a question that many boat buyers forget to ask and a detail that many used boat sellers forget to mention!
  • Get a professional inspection: This is a great move if it’s in the budget. Let the pros tell you exactly how used your boat actually is. They will check the state of the engine, test the oil, check your alternator or power-steering belts, your electronic gear, etc.
  • Don’t forget to Register Your BoatRead more about this process on our blog.

Do You Have a Used Boat Story to Share? Tell us about it in the comments section below!