If you want to buy a boat for the first time, it is best to go to a dealer with a solid reputation. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, you may find it hard to find out whether what private sellers are saying is true or not. However, wherever your buy your boat from, you should always use a used boat value guide for some guidelines. Let's take a look at what to look for.

Maintenance History:

Firstly, you should ask for the maintenance history of the boat. This tells you what has been done to it, and whether the boat has been looked after properly. Make sure you also know who did the repairs, and ask about whether future repairs are likely to be needed.

Inspect The Boat:

Make sure that you hire a proper marine mechanic to inspect the boat. Yes, this can be expensive, but you may just save yourself a whole lot of money thanks to his expertise. But if you can't spare the expense, you can inspect the boat yourself using a used boat value guide. Check the spark plugs and arrestors, the belts, alternator, strainer, hoses, shift cables, blower, and the engine alignment.

The Hull:

This is very important. See if any paint mismatches, whether there is dry rot, any gel blisters, and holes. Tap the hull all over the boat, checking if the material is solid.

The Propeller:

Take a close look at the propellor. You will find that prices in a used boat value guide are often dependent on the condition of this piece. Look for nicks and cracks, points where it is warped or bent, and so on. The condition of the propellor will determine how efficient the boat is.


Look at how the boat was stored when it wasn't used. Dry storage is generally best. However, if it was looked after properly, outside storage is also acceptable.

Insides And Extras:

Check for the the quality of the upholstery inside the boat itself and all the extra features. Many people personalize their boats, so you may get some fun extras. You may also be offered things you don't want or need, and you could ask to get them removed.

Existing Guides:

Lastly, check existing appraisal guides, like the NADA. This won't tell you the exact price you should pay for the boat, but it will give you a general idea of what the average price currently is. Do also ask why the boat is being sold at present.

It is important, if you buy a boat, that you think with your head and not with your heart. Hence, make sure you take someone objective with you, who will tell you honestly whether or not the boat is a good deal. This could be a professional, for whom you will have to pay, or a friend who knows you very well. It is all too easy to see a boat and fall in love with it, thereby loosing track of the things that matter, such as whether or not you will actually be able to enjoy the boat once its yours.