Common Boat Buying Mistakes

Posted on Monday, February 23, 2015 - 09:40

Oops! Don’t be that person who buys the wrong type of boat only to regret it later. There are many pitfalls to avoid when buying and here’s a few of them so you don’t take the plunge and hit rock bottom.

They go boating once and catch the bug

A friend or relative of yours takes you out on the water on a powerboat and you think to yourself, “Gee, this would be so much fun!” You buy the first boat you see or a boat identical to your friend or relative. It ends up being too big, too small, costing too much or too hard to use. Try to remain objective and follow our boat-buying guide first. Remember, people name their boats for a reason.

They buy a boat that’s too big or too flashy

Bigger boats aren’t necessarily better. Yes, big boats ARE more expensive. Is that ever a good reason to buy something? I’ll tell you what bigger boats definitely are: more maintenance. If you buy a big boat, make sure you have deep pockets when it comes time to repair and maintain them.

You go for a grey import

A grey import, also known as a parallel import, is buying a boat directly from another country without going through an Accredited Dealer of the Boating Industry Association or your state boating authority. It’s alluring because you can get a boat for practically nothing. Well, so it seems. Grey importers take on extra liabilities such as compliance issues, unable to return the boat in the event of product recalls, no after sales support, safety issues and almost zero resale value. It’s often way more trouble than it’s worth!

They don’t ask for vessel history or documentation

You wouldn’t drive a car without looking at its logbook, so why sail a boat without looking at its vessel history first. This will tell you everything that’s ever gone wrong with the boat. If nothing has gone wrong, it may be up for a major overhaul or on the way to requiring huge (and costly!) repairs.

They don’t speak to a mechanic or marine surveyor

If you buy privately and don’t consult someone in the know first, you may as well be stumbling around in the dark. Consult a professional who can tell you with certainty what you’re buying is a solid investment. It might save you a lot of heartache.

They buy without considering the extras

Just like the guy who bought a boat that was too big, they bought a boat without considering all the other expenses that go with it. Just like a car, you will need some level of marine insurance to protect yourself and others from liability. You will also have to consider routine maintenance costs, fuel (if you’re buying something powered) and mandatory safety equipment such as lifejackets or flares and lifesavers such as GPS and SAR beacons. Cars come with seatbelts; boats don’t.

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