After researching the prices of new bass boats you’ve decided to go the used boat route. In my opinion, this is a wise decision, at least financially speaking. I’ll share a few words of personal advice. First off, let me tell you a little something about me. When I make any major financial purchase I am very methodical about it. I research the heck out of all of the aspects that way I can make an informed decision and get the best deal when I finally do make the purchase. The wife says I’m kind of anal, I say I’m very through. She never complains though when I manage to save a couple hundred hundred to several thousand dollars on a purchase.
If you only take one piece of advise from this entire post take the following one. Take your time and do the reaserch. Don’t get in a hurry and buy the first boat you see, unless its a great deal of course. Trust me, I know it can be very tempting to get the first one, your like a kid in a candy store with $10.00, but if you take your time it could save you alot of headache. If possible buy from a friend or acquaintance in a Bass Club. I shared some of the things to look for and ask in my previous boating article.
There are always cosmetic things like carpeting, storage compartments etc but these are pretty cheap to fix or replace and they give you some leverage in the price negotiation Most of the cosmetic parts can be picked up at Bass Pro Shops and if your at least semi handy you can do them yourself. Treat buying a boat like buying a used car, the seller usually wants to sell it worse than you want it and should be willing to deal with the price.
One very major word of caution when purchasing a used boat, make sure the motor is well maintained. Ask if the impeller has been changed regularly. If not they can cause a low flow of water to run through the motor to cool it. Boat motors MUST have a good flow going through them to remain cool. A blown power head is very expensive to replace. Also, ask when the lower end oil was last changed. Ask when the propeller was last removed and if the main seal was at least checked. Fishing line can get behind the propeller, tangled around the shaft and actually cut into the main seal causing water to leak into the lower end and that is not a good thing. Bottom line, the motor is far and away the most expensive part of the boat to replace if it something goes wrong with it.
Before you purchase a used boat talk to the seller, ask questions about its maintenance schedule. If you don’t know the person ask to see copies of the maintenance record receipts. If he is honest he will not object to providing this information. The last thing you want to do is buy a boat that will be nothing but an anchor. You don’t want to be one of those who live by the old saying that, A Boat is a Hull In The Water, That You Throw Money Into.
Ask the seller to take you for a test drive, on the water of course. Make sure you arrive at the destination first. Listen to the trailer as he pulls up, are the bearings making noises? Do the trailer lights work? After you splash the boat look at the trailer. Are the bunks fully carpeted? Are they broke? Do the tires appear to be wearing evenly. Now your in the boat, pay attention to how quickly and easily the boat starts. Watch to see how long it takes for the water to start flowing through the motor and exit out the back. Note the pressure it exits at, watch the pressure gauge, at idle it wont be to high but as you motor out past the no wake zone it should raise some then at wide open throttle it should shoot up pretty good and should be spraying out the back very good.
Pay attention to how the RPM’s sound. They should sound about even with how fast your going. If the RPM’s seem to wind up way high and your not making much progress it could be a couple things. Maybe the prop is slipping, or maybe the motor is not trimmed down completely, which it should be to get up on plane quickly. Either way in my opinion its not really that bad because it’s a pretty cheap fix. Check the electronics, make sure they are working, look for moisture inside the glass. These are not deal breakers but can mean a price cut in the price of the boat.
Place the trolling motor into the water making sure it works. Note if the little arrow on top points in the direction your going. If not it is not an expensive fix so its no big work. Does the speed dial work? There is another thing you want to check but wait until your back in the parking lot to check it.
Ask him to fill the live wells and make sure they flow water as well as check to make sure the overflow works correctly. Click on the bilge pump, if water shoots out the side of the boat then your taking on some water, if not listen to make sure you can hear the pump running trying to pump out water that is not there. When your done for the day, ask him to pull the plug to see how much water it took into the bilge. On the trolling motor check, remove the propeller and see if there is fishing line around the shaft. If you notice some its really not that big of a deal, unless it actually has cut into the rubber seal. This could mean that water has gotten into the units lower end and its life may be short lived. If so this is should give you more price negotiation leverage.
If you are so inclined, ask the seller if he minds you taking the boat to a Marine Mechanic to look it over. I cant see any seller not letting you have a professional looking things over for you, unless he has something to hide. Yes, it will cost you some money to have a certified Marine Mechanic look it over for you but trust me, it will cost a lot less than if you buy a problem boat and have to take it to him then.
I’m sure I missed some things to look for but I think I’ve covered the expensive stuff. Like I said, take your time, do your homework and ask questions. It will make your purchase a more pleasurable experience.
Until Next Time, Good Luck and Tight Lines To Ya!