What to Look for When Buying a Boat: 7 Must-Have

Ready to purchase a boat? Congratulations! Owning a boat allows you the freedom to enjoy the fresh air, open water, and quality time with your friends and family.

But making a boat purchase is a rather large investment. And you want to be absolutely sure you’re getting a great deal on a boat that has everything you’re looking for. You can start with this boat buying guide on what to look for when buying a boat.

Keep reading for 7 must-haves when buying a boat.

Boat Buying Tips

Before we get into the specific qualities you should be looking for, let’s talk briefly about the bigger decisions first.

For example, you’ll need to decide what type of boat is best suited for your needs. A fishing boat is very different from a sailboat which is very different from a pontoon boat. Pick the type of boat based on what you plan to use it for.

You’ll also need to decide if you want a new or used boat and how much you can afford to pay for it. While the prospect of owning a boat is exciting, these details need to be decided before you look into all the features.

What to Look for When Buying a Boat

Once you have an idea of the type of boat you want and your price range, you can start thinking about the features and boart accessories you want to have. The list below is a great start to your list.

  1. A Reliable Motor 

Much like a car, a boat requires an efficient motor to run well. Before buying a boat, ask the seller the year of the boat and the motor. An old motor is likely to have had some issues in the past that you’ll want to know about. This is not an issue if you are buying a brand new boat.

If you are buying used, you should also ask about how many hours the motor has on it. This is a similar measurement to how many miles on a car. You should also ask for a service history to make sure that the motor has been regularly serviced and that there were no major issues reported.

  1. Check the Electronics

If you’re looking to buy a boat, you need to check that the electronics work. A faulty battery or wiring may not be the end of the world, but you should try to get it fixed before buying the boat. Look for any evidence that wires have been damaged or melted because that could be a sign of serious electric issues.

Good electric work also means you may have an opportunity to add additional accessories like lighting or a great stereo system. You can find great boat accessories online at

  1. Solid Foundation

One of the first things to look for when buying a used boat is the hull. If you notice any cracks or damage take a closer look. It’s normal to have a few imperfections, but you want to make sure that nothing is leaking.

You may be able to ask the seller to fix the damage before you buy the boat. Also, if you see or smell mildew when you’re on the boat, that could be a sign that at some point there was water damage or leaking.

  1. Reputable Seller

Whether you’re interested in a new or used boat, buy from a reputable seller. You can go to a dealership and talk to a professional. When buying a new boat, you can still negotiate the price based on its features and shop around for the perfect boat for you.

Buying used from a dealer does not necessarily mean that it will be more expensive. The benefit of buying used from a dealer is that there is often a mechanic to answer questions and do a thorough inspection with you. Feel free to ask the dealer as many questions as you want and they should have answers for you.

  1. Comfort and Confidence

Before you buy a boat you can do a sea trial, which is similar to a test drive for a car. During this time you want to see how comfortable and smooth the boat is to drive. Do you feel confident with the navigation system, the size of the boat, and the way it handles?

You should also take a few minutes to see how it feels as a passenger. Is it comfortable? Are there enough seats to bring your whole family or group of friends if you wanted to?

  1. Inspect Specific Features

Depending on the type of boat you want, there are unique features to check out. For example, if you’re looking to buy a sailboat, you should take your time inspecting the sail for any rips, tears, or damage.

For a fishing boat, you want to check any built-in equipment you plan to use. Does the boat have all the fishing features to get the job done?

Your boat must have the necessities for whatever purpose you’re buying the boat. It seems simple, but it’s often overlooked.

  1. Bonus Features

And finally, there are the bonus features. Maybe you want a great stereo or luxury seating – it’s up to you! And for a price, you can install any over-the-top features you want.

Pick a boat that matches your style and that makes you excited to get out onto the water. You shouldn’t pick a boat just for the high-tech bonus features, but if you have a little extra money to spend, you can consider it.

Set Sail

Now that you know what to look for when buying a boat, it’s time to begin your search. Whether it’s new or used, buy your boat from a reputable seller. Always do a thorough search of the boat and ask as many questions as you’d like.

Remember that the price for boats is often negotiable, so try to get a better deal if you can. And finally, don’t buy the first boat you see. Take a look at a few first and get an idea of the overall style and features that matter most to you.

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