10 recommandations before buying a boat, new or used … so there are no regrets!

10 Recommendations when buying a new or used boat… and having no regrets!

1:  Define your needs

What comes to mind when you think of boating? Relaxing on the water, sports such as water skiing or wakeboarding, fishing, or sleeping and eating aboard whether in a marina or in a bay, with family or friends, speed, travelling in a convoy?

If there are many of the above that pop into your head, super, the dream of being a boat owner has started.

2: Budget

Time to be realistic and farsighted as it not only the initial purchase price but also operational expenses including winter storage, marina costs, etc. For example, with a budget to buy a new 40’ you would probably be able to purchase a 45’ to 50’ pre-owned boat.   Depending on the age of the boat there may be many additional options onboard.


3: Selection of the type of boat

Sport, express, flybridge, trawler, pontoon, cruiser, open deck, center-console, sedan bridge, fishing boat etc… don’t be overwhelmed by terminology; what is important is that you chose the boat that suits your needs now and for the near future.   We realize that it is difficult to anticipate the future but by asking some questions you can save yourself lots of money. Going out on the boat for the day or overnight is completely different to if you live onboard for a week with your family and or friends. Take the time to think of how you plan to use your boat.

Start by thinking of what you like in the way of the layout of the boat. Do you enjoy open sky and the use of canvas coverings or patio doors? Do you want a flybridge, (if so, access by stairs or ladder), or an express (all on the same level except for the cabin)?

Worldwide, 80% of the boats are flybridge model. Ask yourself if you always want a windshield in front of you or the option to enjoy navigating in the great outdoors. A flybridge has the advantage of offering more living space, an option not to be taken lightly on a boat.

Don’t forget to choose the appropriate boat for the waters on which you plan to navigate and the possible evolution of your needs.


4. Layout

The cockpit is the space in the stern (back) of the boat. It is a very important living space and that holds true for all types of boats. Take the time to see the differences not only in types but brands.   Is there space for table and chairs or adequate benches? Do you want a teak, fiberglass or carpeted flooring?

There are many items that need to be checked off your list and vary between manufacturers. Captain seat (double or single), configuration of seats, access zones, wet bar (sink, icemaker), hardtop or bimini, sun pad, storage etc.

The cabin becomes important when the weather turns hot, cold or wet. It allows you to enjoy your boat for a longer period and still be comfortable.

Questions to ask yourself: How important is it to me to have natural light and not feel like in a cavern? How many people will be sleeping aboard and the configurations of the beds? Will I be cooking in the galley? Number of heads (and showers) required? Do we need a washer and dryer? Flooring in wood or carpet? Are the carpets glued down or removable for easy cleaning or replacement?

5. Engines

Other than different manufacturers the only choice in engines is between diesel and gas.

Diesel engines are more expensive a time of purchase than gas but have a couple of advantages. For one, they have a lot longer lifespan and second, when it comes to fuel consumption, diesel engines are more economical.

It is preferable to opt for diesel engines in any boat over 35 feet. In Europe, all boats are diesel. Following the maintenance guide is important whether gas or diesel and if possible, purchasing the extended warranty is highly recommended.

Always verify the power of the engines in ratio to the weight and type of boat you are looking to purchase. Many boat manufacturers, to reduce the selling price, install less powerful engines.

Depending on the style of boat, the propulsion could be: stern drive, PODS (IPS, Zeus) or shaft. There are also jet propulsion or surface drive propellers on specific yachts. The most popular engine manufacturers install are: Volvo and Mercruiser. For diesel engines, there is Yanmar, Volvo, Cummins, Caterpillar, MAN, MTU and Detroit Diesel etc.

6. The manufacturer

The choice of manufacturer (boat builder) is more complicated. It is important to distinguish the boat builders by the category of the boats. Request the classification. Depending on the size of the boat and ability to navigate in different waters, it will be either Class A, B.C. or D. Each class explains the type of boat in question. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask for explanations.

Take the necessary time to do your homework. Visit boat shows to see the many types of boats and builders side by side, surf the internet on the builders reputation, speak to other boaters, read boat tests and finally seek out a broker that offers you confidence and honesty.

Another important factor is when you are at the point of signing a contract; always request a sea trial on water that is similar to where you will be boating.

7. Navigational instruments, generator, A/C and other systems

Depending on the age of the boat, question if the instruments have been updated and/or have been changed recently. Check, if applicable, if there is a GPS, autopilot, HD radar, night vision, screens that show live information on different systems onboard the boat etc.

Also, there is the capacity of the generator, power of the A/C and distribution (pleasant ventilation), electric anchor and length of chain, operation of the hydraulic swim platform, batteries, inverter, electrical panel, Glendenning system or manual for shore power cable, 50 amp or 30 amp, thrusters, aeration of sun pads, underwater lights, nighttime mood lighting, watermaker, stabilization systems (Fins, gyro), capacities of all the tanks etc. Keep notes and compare.

8. The survey (detailed inspection of the boat)

This is a crucial step before buying any boat and choosing a competent surveyor is of upmost importance.

This is an inspection of the hull for osmosis (looking for bubbles and/or water in the interior of the fiberglass), water infiltration into the boat, checking for mold, odors, caulking, performance etc.

Note that just because an owner states his boat has only been in fresh water doesn’t give it a clean bill of health. Fresh water or salt water boat…maintenance is key!

9. Resale value

When purchasing your boat, it is important to take into consideration the resale value. It will be determined by the reputation of the manufacturer, type of boat, engine or engines, style and color, onboard equipment and accessories, etc.

Always verify that the boat has never sunk or been involved in a collision during transportation. The extent of damages will affect the value dramatically.

Having teak flooring in the cockpit, on the flybridge etc. makes cleaning easier than simply having fiberglass or worse anti-skid. Yes, teak requires maintenance and heats up in the sun but it definitely adds value to the boat. Presently there is a trend and many boat owners are letting the teak age naturally.

10. Representation

Don’t hesitate to have a broker represent you in any transaction. Having guidance and experience behind you can save money and aggravation.

The experienced broker will walk you through the process from start to finish with expertise and competence whether it is your first boat or not.   Buying a boat is an important investment and changing the boat after only a year is not the best financial decision. Ask questions.

Team Ita Yachts or Proprio-Boat.com are pleased to offer you professional and honest assistance whether you are buying or selling a boat. We look forward to having the chance to building your confidence in our services.

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