What To Look For When Buying A Used Boat


If you are looking for used boats for sale
, there are a few things to be aware of. Used boats can come with problems that you weren’t expecting, and without knowing what to look for before purchase, you could be quickly biting of more than you bargained for. So before you start looking for the closest boat dealers, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • The Engine. The engine is one of the most important things to check when looking at a used boat for sale. Check to ensure that it is clean, and without obvious signs of wear. If it appears grimy, it’s possible that the previous owner didn’t take care of it, which begs the question of what else they didn’t take care of. Additionally, check to make sure there are no deposits built up in the engine, while it could point to simple neglect, it could also signify ethanol contamination. While most fuel we used today contains some amount of ethanol, many boat engines aren’t designed to handle this type of fuel. Most mariners use non-ethanol marine fuels, though these can be difficult to acquire for some. While adding a fuel additive can combat this issue, if the previous owner neglected that, it could be why the engine looks grimey.
  • Exterior. The next important thing to checkout is the hull. Check for any dents or signs of damage and repair. While minor expert repairs aren’t necessarily detrimental, signs of patchwork or rust can be a sign to look at other options.
  • Prior Owners. Be sure to ask the boat dealer about the previous owners, and if there was any known issues with the boat. The dealer should also be able to tell you what type of fuel it uses, how old it is, and if it had ever been involved in an accident. The more you are able to get on the boats history, the better off you will be in the future.
  • Mildew. Inspect the seats and carpets for signs of mildew and water damage. While most upholstery can be cleaned of minor mildew and mold, extensive growth can be a sign that the damage is too far past repairing. Additionally, since mold spreads easily, it’s possible that it could be creating problems in wooden fixtures as well.
  • Electronics. Before purchase, check the electronics to ensure everything is working as it should be. If you notice multiple fixtures that aren’t working properly it could be a sign that the battery, or wiring, is faulty. While this isn’t a large deal, also check to ensure that none of the wires have melted insulation. If you notice this, it’s a sign of engine overheating. If that is the case, ask you boat dealer for another vessel.
  • Oil. While checking out the engine, test the oil. If you rub it between your fingers and it feels gritty, it could be a sign of wear. If you have a mechanic second this, it’s best to abandon ship. Additionally, if the oil appears milky, it’s a sign that water is somehow getting in. While this might be a simple fix, it could also spell disaster. Getting a professional inspection can help confirm any issues, and help you make a smart decision.


When looking into purchasing a used boat these are a few of the most important things to keep in mind. Never be afraid to ask your boat dealer for the information you need, and to get an additional inspection if needed. Used boats can be a smart and cost effective investment, with the right vessel lasting you for years.