Used boats, 10 things to check before buying


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used boats
Used boats, 5 things to check

After seeing how not to have bad surprises when buying used boats(CLICK HERE) today we look at the second part of the shrewd used boat buyer’s “check list.”

Boats for sale, the guide for sailors and non-boaters alike

For the inexperienced, the first tip for buying used boats 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.


Used motor boats, buy without surprises!

  • Instrumentation: especially the instruments in the engine panel located on the fly are subject to oxidation and dulling. Those inside, on the other hand, where electronics are also usually installed, may have been affected by the high temperature of the sun on summer days, when the area inside the boat becomes a “sauna.” Each component should therefore be tested carefully
  • Kitchen and refrigerator: in this case the advice is to turn everything on. From individual fires, down to the oven and refrigerator. Of the latter, it would be best to evaluate the cooling power by keeping it on throughout the stay on board.
  • Electrical system: you have to open the panel to realize the state of the connections. If a utility does not activate, the cause may be either the utility itself or the oxidized wiring. Also assess the condition of the batteries.
  • Engine: a manual would not be enough to give guidance on what to check in a used boat engine. Simplifying, it is essential that the engine starts cold easily and does not smoke excessively. Realize if the engine vibration in neutral is high, and while you are cruising make sure the water temperature and oil pressure are in the normal range.
  • Axle and propeller: If the engine vibrates when the gear is engaged, it may be due to a damaged propeller or poor axle alignment. In addition to the condition of the blades check the bearing bushing and the case bushing.
used boats propeller
In a used boat, it is also important to check the propeller

In the first part we had seen the other 5 points to check carefully when buying used boats

  • 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.
  • Bilges and upholstery: Start by splaying the entire bilge (uncovering 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.



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