Outdoors column: Early spring means boat buying time

As we enter into the month of March everyone turns their attention to their boats and thoughts of buying or trading the one they have.

Being a veteran of many boat buying adventures there are some tips and things to know before plunging into the world of boat buying.

Do your homework when boat buying to assure the best deal, but more important, you are getting a quality craft that will last for years. Submitted photo
Do your homework when boat buying to assure the best deal, but more important, you are getting a quality craft that will last for years. Submitted photo

Here are some thoughts as we head into the prime boat buying season.

New boat purchases
Purchasing new boats is now getting more and more creative in terms of financing. A person can now finance a boat for up to 12 years if you can believe that. I recommend trying to get at least one third of the boat purchase amount covered on the down payment to lessen the months and alleviate some of the interest. The good news is that the rates are at an all-time low and we may never see rates like this again.

Never think about skimping on matching the outboard with the boat.

Anglers tend to hang a motor that is underrated on their boats to save some money, but in the long run this will end up being an under-powered boat and will use a greater amount of gas because it is working much harder than normal.

Always add the motor with the horsepower that it is rated for on the maximum end.

Trailers are really the most important part of the rig because if your trailer fails you’ll end up on the interstate in big trouble.

Many anglers think they can go with a trailer that is rated hundreds of pounds lighter than recommended, but in reality you are handicapping yourself.

Trailers take a real beating on the roadways and going with the maximum recommended trailer weight will give you great peace of mind.

Used boats

Often anglers run around their area looking for the perfect used boat and visit many private parties looking for the perfect used rig.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure you visit the seller at their home and do some detective work. Check out the garage…. is it in good shape? Are the power tools in order and the autos and toys in good shape? You can tell a lot by eyeballing the garage and house because if the garage, toys and house are in good shape chances are they also took great care with their boat and motor, meaning you have a good chance of snagging a nice boat from a person who took great care and pride in their things.

Beware of the person who seems to have let things go around the garage.

This probably means they were lacking in motor maintenance and never gave the care needed to keep the used boat, motor and trailer in good working order.


A good tip is make sure you have sort of warranty for whatever boat you are buying regardless of it being new or used.

New boats have a nice warranty built into the package, but you can also opt for extended warranties which make a lot of sense. If you are buying a used boat from a dealer, make sure they give you at least a six-month open water season warranty just to cover yourself. If the dealer is reasonable they can offer this at almost no cost to the buyer. It always helps to cover yourself especially when buying second hand.

Steve Carney is a contributing writer to the Outdoors page.

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