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Buying and Selling



Many people do nt get the boat they want until about the third one they buy. The first boat usually is an all rounder and may quickly become a disappointment. The reason is that many people become single minded about the things they do in boats and an all rounder may not do those things well enough.



Starting out

One of the best starting points is to give yourself an apprenticeship - spend a lot of time in other people's boats and take your partner with you. This will let you:

  • Eliminate all the different prejudices that people have about boats and the equipment used.
  • Notice how different boats perform with changing weather, in varying conditions and with different loads.
  • Find out the activities you and your partner prefer and you'll refine your search for the ideal boat for the job.
  • Learn to gauge properites of a boat - for instance the balance between comfort at speed and stability at rest.
  • Understand your partner's boating wants may be diferent to yours, so look for a version of the all rounder.

With the type of boat in mind, your next purchases include the motor and trailer. Beware of putting too low powered a motor on the boat.

Low power means the performance and economy will drop dramatically with increased loads; power trim, which helps you set the boat up for different conditions will not work well; you will lose flexibility - no casual skiing; and unexpected loads, like towing another boat could damage the motor.

Buying secondhand

As with used cars, when you are buying privately you have less legal safeguards than when buying from a dealer. This means you need to take extra care, especially when assessing the condition of the motor. Unless you are a trained mechanic, it would pay for you to employ an expert to do an assessment.

When buying, dealers value the boat, motor and trailer separately, and this is a good system for the secondhand buyer to use. Even if the motor on offer is a write off, the boat may be a good enough deal to justify buying a new or good secondhand motor for it. Many dealers have rebuilt motors in stock, or near new motors traded in by commercial users. Remember, before buying a boat with an inboard petrol engine, have it thoroughly checked by a marine electrician to ensure that it does not pose a fire or explosion hazard.



Look for cracks where rails weld to decks; where the sides meet the keel; and with an inboard engine, at the engine mounts. Look for corrosion, though superficial powerding is not a problem, lots of white powder or deep pitting calls for an expert opinion.




Apart from cosmetic wear and tear, look for signs of cracking from impact and structural failure. Near where flat surfaces meet stiffening - at chines, planning strakes and bulkheads. Look close to distinguish superficial cracks from deep ones. Hulls with repairs can be acceptable as the quality of repairs is the significant factor.

When buying a boat

  • Determine your overall budget.
  • Consider what the boat is to be used for - protected or offshore waters.
  • Acknowledge your level of boating skills and whether they are sufficient for the boat you plan to purchase.
  • Determine how many people will carried for the size of boat safely.
  • Consider where the boat will be kept - anchorage, trailer, at home or in a marina.
  • Before buying a boat with an inboard petrol engine, have it thoroughly checked by a marine electrician to ensure that it does not pose a fire or explosion hazard.
  • Assess running costs, maintenance, storage, equipment and safety gear.
  • Make sure any new boat you buy has an Australian Builders Plate



Acknowledgement: Buying and Selling - Source Government of Western Australia Department of Transport