Boating Tips

Are there real benefits to buying a used boat?

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Boat owners are constantly looking to upgrade their boats, usually every four years or so, and this ensures that the used boat market always has a lot to offer the purchaser who doesn’t want to fork out top dollar for a new one. Used boats have also been through much of their depreciation cycle, making them attractive in price to buyers. Leisure Boating looks at the merits of buying a used boat. You’ll just need to decide whether you will spend a bit of time fixing up your new “used” acquisition.


First you need to ascertain what type of vessel you want, be it for fishing, water sports or simply cruising at sunset. Once you know exactly what you require, then you need to start looking at what is available on the market, preferably in your area. It is not imperative that the used purchase comes from your area, as you can trailer it (if it’s trailerable) to its new home, but getting a used boat in your local area will make viewing and sea trials that much easier. Boats that are in bad disrepair should be struck off the list, even if they are cheap because repair costs often go way above the estimates, especially when you start uncovering all the deficiencies not visible in the innards of the boat. Look for a boat that has gone through much of its depreciation yet is still in excellent condition.


Financing your boat through hire purchase avenues will mean that you will need to pay the high interest rates, similar to those afforded to car finance. If you are paying cash for your used boat, you will not be paying the hefty finance charges that associated with hire purchase deals. The saying “Cash is king” very much applies.

Benefits of buying a boat
Benefits of buying a boat


There is always good value to be had in used boat purchases, if you buy right. The average boat-retention cycle is a four year upgrade and this makes it the perfect market for buyers who can pick up boats at highly competitive prices.


Buying a well maintained pre-owned boat is important. Buying an older boat that needs considerable repair will need lots of repair time factored into the equation, coupled with large outlays of cash. Remember time is money and your spouse does not want that hulking rubbish heap pretending to be a boat languishing on the front lawn.


One way of calculating refurbish costs for a used boat is this. If the boat is in fair condition, allow for 40 to 50% of the value of the boat in refurbish costs. If the boat is in a poor condition, allow for 80-100% of the value of the boat in reconditioning costs. Major refurbishments can take years, and medium sized boat refurbishes can easily take six months. Focus on the main aspects of the refurbish first such as the repair of the hull and the motors before you get sidetracked into repairing cosmetics that need attention. Always get a boat builder or a boat surveyor to go through the used boat before you purchase it.


By following some of our suggestions relating to buying a used boat, you should be well on your way to some of the best boating leisure time you will ever experience. Like we always say: buy right, then you’ll boat right!

Tips for boat buying
Tips for boat buying


• Where possible, purchase the used boat from a reputable marine dealer, as then you have recourse if major problems occur.

• Purchase boats that have log books detailing service history and hours spent on the water.

• Always add at least 25% over and above your calculated refurbishment costs for unforeseen expenses.

• If you purchase your boat from a marine dealer, always enquire about a possible balance of warranty that might still be applicable.

• Don’t rush into any used boat purchase but rather do your homework properly before signing the Offer To Purchase.

• Get a boat surveyor involved, they’ll save you money by finding all the faults, many of which you might have missed.

• Be more careful with private purchases and ensure that the boat and trailer documentation is correct.


Write A Comment

Join our free mailing list