What to look for when buying a used boat

Australia has an estimated 35,877 kilometres of mainland coastline to explore. It's no wonder boating is an increasingly popular Australian past time. There are close to 1 million recreational boats currently registered in Australia. The National Marine Safety Committee estimates this number increases by 30,000 every year. That is a lot of people buying a boat!

Buying a brand-new boat is an expensive venture that can put potential aquatic enthusiasts off. With the many used models on the market and the availability of boating finance, your dream of owning a water-toy might be more attainable than you think. The most common way to finance a new or used boat is using a secured boat loan facility. This type of loan attracts a competitive interest rate as the boat is used a security for the loan.

Here are some important questions to keep in mind when researching and buying a used boat.

1. What do you want to use your boat for?

You will find it easier to narrow down the wide range of possibilities by figuring out exactly what you want from your boat. What activities will you do with it? Fish, have family fun, water ski, explore rivers and lakes, travel? According to Boat Gold Coast over 70% of boats are used for some form of fishing. Rod holders, an open casting area and a live bait tank are essential for any fishing boat. On the other hand, shelter, seating and other comforts, such as a fridge and BBQ, will be top of the list for a family boat. Thinking of sailing off into the sunset? Cabins, kitchen, freezer and water maker will be on your list. You may also have a specific hull length or engine power capability in mind.

Just like with cars, not all boat brands are the same. Doing some research can help you figure out which one suits you best. To help inspire your boat choice here are some boating ideas and different types of boats to consider.

2. How has the boat been used?

This is a great question to ask of the seller. Their answer will give you a really good indication of the capability of the boat and if it fits in with what you want. It will also highlight any short coming and potential issues the boat has had. For example, you may want to ask these questions if you are looking for a ski boat. Has the boat been used for wakeboarding and how good is the wake? Has it been used in fresh water only? Where do you water-ski? How powerful is the engine?

3. How many hours has the boat done?

The number of hours that a boat engine has been running for can be very informative. It can be an indication of potential engine issues in the future. Too many hours and the engine will be starting to wear and may need replacement parts. A boat with minimal hours can also have potential problems. Engines that sit for months at a time have blockages, build up of solids, corrosion of parts etc. A boat that is used often will have many less problems than a boat sitting idle. Check that the hours and servicing align to show that the boat has been well maintained.

4. Where are the servicing and maintenance records?

Just like buying a car you want to see the servicing records. This will give yourself piece of mind that you are purchasing a well maintained boat. As mentioned above the engine hours and servicing records should align. Boat owners often keep receipts for general maintenance. Most will be more than willing to hand these over when selling their boat.

5. What is included in the boat purchase?

Make sure you are clear on what comes with the boat. The sellers personal items will be in photos and even present during an inspection or test run. For example, fishing rods in the boat ad photos will most likely not be included in the boat sale. Fishing gear such as rods and tackle are not usually included in the boat purchase. However fixed items or custom made items, such as a bait board or a live bait tank would stay with the boat. Another item to discuss would be the safety gear. All boats must legally have up-to-date safety equipment including flares, epurb, life jackets, fire extinguisher and V sheet.

6. Should I have a pre-purchase boat inspection?

Yes! Before handing over your hard earned cash make sure you have a sea worthy boat. The last thing you want on your maiden voyage is to end up stranded in the middle of the ocean. Or even worse on the bottom of the ocean floor. For smaller tinnies, a simple test drive can reassure you that the hull is sound, the engine is easy to start and the boat performs to expectations. Boat inspections for a tinnie start from as little as $100.

For larger boats, a lift and hull inspection by a licensed marine inspector is a must. It is also a condition of being able to insure your new purchase. Additionally marine mechanics can do a variety of tests on the engine/s. Engine oil can be tested for contaminants. For example, metal contaminants can signal engine wear. A compression check indicates if the piston and cylinders are in good working order.

7. Can I afford to buy a used boat?

Paying cash can often limit the boating accessories that may be on the wish list. By financing a boat you can get your dream boat and keep a some cash reserves for a rainy day. Want to find out if your dream boat fits within budget? Estimate a fortnightly loan repayment using our boat loan calculator. It is easy to use and can help with planning your boat purchase.

A pre-approved boat loan makes boat shopping a breeze. You know your budget and that your funds are approved. Used boats are everywhere if you know where to look. Boat retailers and boat brokers often have a whole lot of used boats for you to peruse. You can also purchase boats directly from owners who post online, in boating magazines and even on marina bulletin boards.

Ready to buy? Contact the team at AAA Finance for a boat loan now.

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