Are you buying a used boat? Here’s how not to have bad surprises

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used boat

After selecting the used boat model you are interested in, the verification and sea trials phase begins. The value and complexity of the asset in question are such that improvisation is not allowed: the catch is always lurking, especially for those who are looking for the bargain of the century and lured only by the price forget that, in boats, repair work can also be very expensive.

Used boat, for sailors and non-sailors alike

Therefore, for those who are inexperienced, the first advice is to get assistance from a professional in the field. The fees of these surveyors often pay off because the defects noted by those who know the boats well help in the negotiation to smooth out the piece. On larger powerboats in particular, the presence of a mechanic is essential: the engine is the most complex and expensive organ of a boat, and it is also the one most affected by age.

For those who are more “seafaring,” however, we have summarized the critical points of a fiberglass boat, those that are more prone to deterioration than others and whose “refit” can incur significant costs.

Are you buying a used boat? Here are 5 points to check carefully

Pulpits: these are the most exposed parts of a boat and therefore the most prone to impact. If the steel pipe has bent, fear not, it will straighten happily. More complex and expensive is the repair of the deck area on which the sideburns rest. In this case it is necessary to check the integrity of the fiberglass. If you notice gelcot cobwebs you need to investigate further to be sure they are only superficial.

Teak deck: can have a variety of problems. Some involve modest interventions such as rubber or screw caps blowing out. The more substantial ones are, for example, the detachment of the planks from the subfloor.

Water system: after activating the autoclave wait for the circuit to go to pressure and then open the individual utilities one by one to check the flow. If, with the taps closed, after a while the autoclave turns back on there is a leak in the circuit. At this point you need to check: boiler, expansion tanks, connections between pipes, and branch valves. Another component prone to failure is the w.c. Prolonged activation of the pump will uncover any leaks or blockages.

Bilge and upholstery: Start by splaying the entire bilge (uncover it) so as to check its bones. This will also show the presence or absence of water, which will have to be “tasted” to see whether it is sweet or salty. If it reoccurs after drying, check all the grommets. As for upholstery, more than fabrics check any foam rubber to be sure it is not “chafed,” that is, old and now crumbled.

Hull: unless it is at a fairly advanced stage, to check for osmosis it is best to wing the boat in your presence. If the phenomenon is initial, the bubbles tend to disappear after a few days in dryness. Osmosis can be “cured,” but the treatment is quite long and expensive.

The two “vices” to avoid when buying the used boat

Two vices should be carefully avoided, dear motorists: haste and love at first sight. As much as it may seem that this will “kill” all romance you will have to trust. Both cases, unfortunately, clash with what should be the fair and thoughtful assessment one should make when buying a used boat. A sea trial and subsequent dry test of the living work, the part in contact with the water, should never be missed. If possible also attend the hauling phase of the boat, to see immediately if there is osmosis. It also takes calm to figure out what the final price of the boat is for your pocket. This assessment includes the costs of repairs, replacements, and miscellaneous work to be done on board. Only then can you get a clear idea.

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