Boating Tips

Boating Tips: Buying a pre-owned boat

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Statistics tell us that power boat owners typically keep their boats for only a four-year term of office. Boat ownership is a bit like politics in that sense, just without the corruption. Okay, we know politics can bore the hell out of almost everyone, so let’s get back to finding out more about making the decision to buy an older boat.

In many instances, boat owners become locked into a lengthy hire purchase finance contract and when it comes to selling the boat, its value, after depreciation, is often just enough to cover the outstanding debt with a little left over for a deposit on a new boat.

This promotes a cycle of debt that keeps boaters from ever owning their own boat outright. So, are there any merits to purchasing a cheaper pre-owned boat and fixing it up? We think there are.


It all starts with striking a balance between buying a junk that needs many rands to repair or buying a vessel that has gone through its main depreciation cycle yet still offers premium value for money.

The real balance comes in by trying to purchase a boat that has gone through its major depreciation cycle yet only requires cosmetic repair. The other side of the coin, the side that you want to steer clear of, is where the boat has been through its major depreciation cycle and has also gone through its major degradation cycle. In other words, it’s close to wreck status.


[dropcap]1[/dropcap] Buy a used boat from a reputable marine dealer as then you have recourse if major problems occur.

[dropcap]2[/dropcap]Buy boats that have log books detailing the hours on the water and the service history.

[dropcap]3[/dropcap]Allow for 20% added refurbishment costs over and above your calculated refurbishment costs.

[dropcap]4[/dropcap]Don’t be shy to ask for a discount or a reduction in price but never give up a limited marine warranty from your dealer in lieu of the discount.

[dropcap]5[/dropcap]Don’t rush into any purchase and do go over the boat with a finetoothed comb.

[dropcap]6[/dropcap]Pay for a boat surveyor’s in-depth opinion if necessary, it’ll save you money in the long run.

[dropcap]7[/dropcap]If buying privately, make sure that the boat and trailer has the correct documentation.


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