When buying a used boat, just as when purchasing a used car, there are several basic points to remember, including the fact that boat insurance rates vary, depending on the type of craft being purchased. Be sure to check the boat out in order to avoid landing yourself with a bad investment or worse still, a dangerous craft that could leave you stranded on the water.
If this is your first boat purchase or you are uncomfortable conducting the inspection yourself ask the seller if they will agree to a purchase price pending it passes an inspection completed by a trusted boat dealer or professional marine surveyor. If the vessel you are considering is rather large, older or has been involved in an accident or undergone major repairs your boat insurance company may even require that you have a professional survey of the boat prior to obtaining boat insurance coverage. Assuming that you will be conducting the pre-purchase boat inspection yourself or want to do some preliminary investigations to screen out boats before spending the money on a professional survey these tips will help you identify problem areas.
Ask the owner or dealer how many previous owners there have been, if there has been any maintenance and what known issues the boat has. Also ask to see a record of the boats routine maintenance.
Check the bilge pump to make sure that it is working properly. Some boats also have a bilge blower that should be checked.
Take a look at the engine. Is there rust? There could be problems with the cooling system. Are the gaskets and seals grimy and dirty? There might be a leak.
Don’t be afraid to pick things up. Ropes, seat cushions and other items can hide moss or serious discoloration, two distinct signs that the boat has not been maintained properly.
Look at the vinyl interior, if are there cracks and fading it may need to be replaced soon, which could be a significant expense.
Closely examine the gel coat of the boat to see if it has been maintained. If the previous owner(s) has not regularly waxed the boat the gel coat could be worn off giving the paint a chalky appearance.
Take a water test, you can’t tell how a boat runs by looking at it on the trailer so if you are seriously considering purchasing a boat ask to take it for a test drive. If you are not particularly familiar with the model of boat don’t hesitate to bring along a friend who is. During the water test look for the following:
o Pay attention when the boat starts up. Did it start on the first try?
o Strange vibrations, these could be the telltale signs of a bent propeller. Not only will this cause more fuel to be used and raise the running costs, it will also make the boat very noisy and could even break off altogether. While such an occurrence could be covered by your boat insurance, it is not something you should accept.
o Check also that the trim is in good working order if it is an inboard/outboard boat, as this will facilitate the motor’s movement from down to angled.
o Test how the steering responds by taking it from one extreme to the other, carefully, of course and that the gears move smoothly into place when changed.
Trust your overall impression of the boat. If the engine is dirty, minor parts are broken or missing and the boat looks worn than it probably hasn’t been maintained well and extra caution should be taken during inspection to ensure you are aware of all maintenance issues. Although purchasing a used boat can be a great value and a rewarding experience, taking the time to properly inspect a boat prior to purchase or paying for a professional inspection even if it is not required by your boat insurance company can end up saving you time and help to ensure you are making a good investment.
If you are interested in finding out how much boat insurance coverage will be on a particular used boat call Global Marine Insurance and speak with our boat insurance representatives or visit our online boat insurance quote tool.