Purchasing a pre-owned boat or yacht can be more problematic than just getting a brand-new one. While there are obvious benefits to buying things pre-owned, such as staving a huge chunk off the tag price of a new model, you will still be confronted with a number of issues that require careful decision-making.
If you’re planning to buy secondhand watercraft, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind to ensure that every penny you spend is worth it:
1. Do your homework. Buying a used car or boat means putting in hours of research, interviews, and canvassing to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of each model. The private secondhand market for boats is way smaller than that for cars, so you might need to dig deeper to obtain the information you need. Talking to boat owners will help you a great deal in determining which model will best suit your purpose.
2. Make a shortlist of the boats you want to buy and assess each one personally. Nothing beats knowing firsthand how a used vehicle or vessel works. The owner or seller will only be too eager to gloss over some “minor” details that can affect the boat’s usefulness in the future—cracked gel coating, corroded railings, and frayed rigging. All these will bring down the resale value of the vessel should you wish to sell it again in the future. Of course, you will likely spend an additional amount if you need to pay for repairs after the sale.
3. Review the boat’s maintenance schedule. Your boat may look perfect on the outside, but have you checked the engines and propellers? Replacing a marine engine can cost you a hefty sum, so before putting in the down payment on your chosen vessel, make sure that the engine is working at tiptop shape. Talk to the owner about the cost of a full-service boat detailing job to see if it’s something that you can afford regularly.
4. Ask about the sale. Chat up the boat dealer or owner to find out why he is selling the watercraft. Is it because he wants to trade up for a newer, sleeker model? Does he just need some quick cash? Has he encountered significant difficulties in navigating the boat? These are just some of the important questions that will give you clues as to whether the boat is a wise purchase, at least from the point of view of the previous owner. At the same time, you’ll also protect yourself from the possibility of buying a stolen watercraft.
5. Draw up your contract. Once you’ve found the boat that you want to buy, draft a simple contract that contains pertinent information about the vessel, such as the engine number, distinguishing marks, and detailed physical description. Include all the apparent defects that you found and are willing to tackle on your own, as well as any others that the seller agreed to take care of before transferring ownership. Finally, don’t forget to write down all the conditions of the sale, if any, and let all the parties sign all the documents.