There’s something special about owning a boat. Being the captain of your own domain on the high seas (or lakes… or rivers… whatever floats your boat really) is a special feeling that can’t be replicated in any other way.

However, there’s some issues with getting there. The first problem is that new boats are really expensive!

Used boats are a great alternative to paying the prices that new boats command. It’s important to consider a lot of things when purchasing a used boat though. There’s no safety net with used boats. No manufacturer's warranty that can save you from buying a lemon of a boat. Because of this, you need to thoroughly inspect and question any boat you are considering purchasing. Here are some of the most important things to look for in a used boat.

1 - Check for Cracks in Fibreglass

There’s really two kinds of cracks in a boat. Small cracks and spider webbing can occur in some areas and really only affects the boat cosmetically. These typically appear around incorrectly installed screwed. What’s of more concern is cracks that are 2 inches or longer. These cracks might indicate a much larger problem and potentially some past collisions. At this point, an expert should be used to check out the boat thoroughly.

2 - Look for Good Seats

There’s two things to check in the boat about seating. First, make sure they are comfortable for when you are driving the boat. Second, check to see if the seats are loose. This can be caused by a rotten floor, which is a serious red flag. Alternatively, the bolts can become stripped as the seat is pushed back during driving. If it’s stripping, that can be fixed pretty easily.

3 - Mildew Checks

The entire boat should be checked for mildew or mould. While some items can be cleaned or replaced, if there’s a large amount of mildew or mould hidden away in areas, it suggests the potential for other issues as well. A clean and tidy boat has likely been better maintained.

4 - Look for Damage

Take a look for any obvious damage in the hull and in the floor areas. The fibreglass and wood components of a boat can be damaged in a variety of ways. Obvious damage typically suggests it’s better to just move on and check out another used boat.

5 - Electronics Need to Be Safe

Electronic devices and water don’t necessarily go well together. Make sure that the bilge pump is running well and that there aren’t signs of multiple electrical problems. If there are, there may be wiring problems throughout the boat, and that’s not going to be beneficial to anyone.

6 - Engine Checks Are Mandatory

Engine knowledge is usually the rarest thing while buying a new boat. Having the boat turn on and run for a while is important. Check to see if the sound of the engine is rough or slips from the regular rhythm. Beware if it’s vibrating too much or making too much smoke. A tune up may be the answer, but it also might be something far worse. Check the belts inside the engine. These are typically easy items that need to be replaced pretty consistently (Approximately every 100 hours of operation). If they are not in good repair, it may suggest the engine has not been maintained.

7 - Price

Always be wary of a price that’s too good to be true. There’s a difference between a good deal and someone running a scam. Also, make sure that you’re not paying too much. No one wants that either! In the end, you’ll get the boat you always wanted!