How to buy a boat? (the process)

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AerialWombat
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How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by AerialWombat »

Jumping straight to the point, some questions for those Bogleheads that own boats:

1). Private party vs broker - pros and cons of each?
2). Are "extended test drives" a thing with boats, like it can be with cars at some dealers?
3). Any tips for negotiating price?
4). Recommended years/makes/models for small cabin cruisers or powered "day sailers" with minimal overnight accommodations?
5). Are some makes/models easier to resell than others? What should I take into consideration in this regard?
6). Anything else I should know but don't know to ask about the process of buying a boat?

My marina slip will be 34 feet, but I don't expect to get something that big. My main use cases are to spend weekends just hanging around the local islands on mooring balls and doing some occasional salmon fishing. Enough speed and range to make it the 50 miles or so up to Canada within a few hours would also be pretty cool. I will be paying cash, and am looking in the $15k to $50k range for a used power boat.

--
The Rest of the Story
Today, I received the call: A slip is available at my neighborhood marina.

I have been on the waiting list for almost a year.

That means I will now need to acquire a boat. I have never owned a boat, but am not totally new to boats. I used to belong to a sailing club and would go out on the water every few days, for over a year. I have completed ASA 101 and 103 in the past, and would take a US Power Squadron class here soon. Despite enjoying sailing, I will most likely purchase a power boat.

I have read many other boat threads here, and most focus on the financial aspects, of course. This is not a financial decision for me, I already know that I can afford it. It will have zero impact on my retirement planning, real estate investing, or anything else. So please no "break out another thousand" or "hole in the water into which to throw money" quips.

Where I live now, there are no clubs with their own boats, nor any boat rental companies. I also do not own a truck to tow a boat, and it's just me, so I would have no help in launching/recovering via boat ramp. So a trailerable is not of interest, just to quash that possible suggestion.

Many thanks to this amazing board!
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bampf
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by bampf »

Have not purchased a boat, but, everyone I have ever spoken with has said that you absolutely should get a survey. So, offer is contingent on survey. The survey is paid for by you and yet if you use a broker, be aware that they may have their survey guy (gal). This can be a good thing or a bad thing. It depends. I would read up on that.

For figuring out what is easier to resell, I would use something like yachtworld or boattrader to find boats in your area and then sort by # available. Simple is always better than eclectic. Good luck! I am looking for a boat myself, although it will be a ways off before I actually pull the trigger.

--Bampf
Last edited by bampf on Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
sailaway
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by sailaway »

1) a good broker will help with the whole process, but some will only work with boats of a certain price range.

2) it is called a sea trial. It will usually happen once you have an offer. Around here, we tend to try to time it with the inspection and haul out, as it means you only have to get everyone together once.

3) again, use a broker, as they will help you get the best price. Without a broker, look at comps, including soldboats.com

4&5) it depends on your price range. The one you have listed is actually very broad for this size. How much work do you want to do? Look at traditional trawlers, as well as cabin cruisers. Prioritize diesel, but in that size most people ordered their boats with gas engines. For hanging out on the mooring, you will want a generator, especially if the stove isn't propane (and it probably won't be on a cabin cruiser).

6) get a survey, including a haul out to look at the bottom and a mechanical survey. This way you know what you are getting into.

It sounds like you are in WA state. It bears thinking about whether you prefer state registration vs USCG documentation. I recommend USCG, but WA is a popular alternative.

Your marina likely has a minimum length, as well as a maximum length. Make sure you are also aware of your maximum width.
carminered2019
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by carminered2019 »

I have 2 Parker 2320 with a pilot house for protection and have done a lot of offshore fishing with a range of 280 miles. parker boats have very high resale value in Socal but if you have a lot of floating logs in the water then aluminum boat might be better for safety.

if buying a used boat:
1. Yamaha 4 stroke engine
1.1 pay for a survey
2. check for engine compressions
3. sea trial
4.find one with low engine hours
5. get outboard for easy maintenance
6. See if you have a newer electronics package.
7. radar is a must for night travel and travel through foggy days
Last edited by carminered2019 on Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
123
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by 123 »

Would it be possible/likely to lease a boat as an alternative? I'm suggesting to try leasing a boat if possible for a year or two. There have been threads of dedicated new boatowners who become disenchanted and are stuck with a boat. If a leasing was a viable option and enthusiasm diminishes its a great way to have the problem (boat) go away. Leasing wouldn't be about saving money, it would be about having an easy exit option.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by White Coat Investor »

I don't know much about the type of boat you're looking for, but I've bought two boats in my life. One brand new and custom designed from a dealer and the other for cash paid for with $20 bills out of an ATM. Both transactions went smoothly.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
JOEVANDAL
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by JOEVANDAL »

In 2011 I purchased a 21' , 2005 used SeaRay from a private seller. I looked for about a year and a half to find a clean boat with low hours. Before the purchase was final, I took it to a mechanic and had everything tested. I paid for this of course. When this was done, I wrote the previous owner a check and pulled it home. We have never had to do anything but routine maintenance and it has provided tons of fun for my family. We are empty nesters now, and still enjoy going out on Lake Coeur d'Alene during the summer months. The best money I/we have ever spent. I really think the key to using and enjoying a boat is mooring it and not having to fight crowds at launches.
Kagord
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Kagord »

Kind of a dream of mine, but have you considered a monohull sailboat? When I looked into, it seemed like there's a plethora of cheap ones that will check out pretty well with the survey (coastal cruising, not blue water), in the 28-34 range that people are trying to dump. The advantage here is route flexibility if you want to venture farther, not to mention the sailing experience. And you can always put put around with the yanmar/volvo diesel as well.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

When I decided that we were going to buy a boat for the family, I went to every boat show within 50 miles. I brought a tape measure. I talked with virtually every dealer displaying boats. I learned the pros and cons of various materials and engines and configurations. I learned that when a boat manufacturer says a boat is an 18 foot boat, the first thing you need to know is that they're likely lying to you, thus the tape measure. I learned that sometimes going from an 18 foot to a 19 foot boat can double the cost and only get you 3 more square feet of passenger space.

So go and learn. My other valuable exercise was to go to our town's most active boat ramp and talk with people going in the water and those coming out. Those people were great as they were more than happy to tell you all the problems they've encountered.

Do some brands resell for more? Well, of course. If you have a 5 year old Bayliner competing with a 5 year old Four Winns, likely the Bayliner is ready to be stripped for the engines and the Four Winns needs a coat of wax. Talking with dealers at boat shows can help you understand which are well respected brands and which ones are junk as many of them will talk trash about the bad ones and warn you about the price for the good ones.

Again on the shows, don't be afraid to go to a dealer and point to one of his boats that might meet your needs and tell him you're brand new and know nothing and can he tell you about boats in general and about his boats in particular.

Bring a pad and pen and take notes.

I bought my boat new from a marina and the purchase came with a lifetime use of their boat ramp. I paid with a personal check about a month before I was to pick up the boat. Later, when I realized boating wasn't for our family (our last year, it only went in the water once), I sold it to someone looking for a bigger boat than he owned. I met him at a local lake and he drove it for about half an hour. Then we brought it back to the ramp and put it on the trailer. He handed me envelopes with $8k in 20's and I hooked the trailer to his pickup and handed him the trailer registration. In my state, that's completely legal as the trailer insurance is covered automatically by the tow vehicle.

If you're buying used, you really, really, really want a qualified place to thoroughly inspect it and if they say not to buy it, don't buy it. I've seen stripped hulls nearby marinas. Some boats have zero value simply by needing a new engine.
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winterfan
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by winterfan »

We have a boat at a marina. We actually had to have the boat first, before they would officially rent us the slip. Our slip is smaller (24') though. I looked at private sellers, but happened to find a used boat with low hours at a local dealer. I bought the boat about five months before it was put in the water. My DH is well versed in boats/motors, etc., so we kind of already knew what we were buying. The dealer stored it at their place until the spring launch and then trailered it to the slip for us. We weren't able to test drive it since it was winter, but the dealer gave us a 30 day in the water warranty. We didn't have any issues. We love being on the water in the summer. The marina takes all the hassle out of boating. You'll love it.
kabob
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by kabob »

PrivateParty, Be Patient, Get to know your area and marina, Pickup a Nice Package...
!999 SeaRay 190 Sundeck, 99 44/100ths % Perfect! GreatPrice, Couldn't turn it down...
Image
A Real Nice Cocktail Cruiser for 4-5 people, or will do bout anything comfortably...

There's a Searay Factory bout 4 miles down the the lake(TellicoLake on the little Tennessee River) where I decided to retire), so gettin to know your area and locals well helps finding a nice deal... There's, a WholeLotta Nice SeaRays round this freshwater where they build em.
Be patient, Be Picky, there's a lotta people that would love to get rid a that Hole in the Water that's costin em toooo much money...

Have had this for 5+yrs , no Probs, still near Prefect!
(a Boat without a trailer, stuck in the water, can be REAL HI $$$$ for maintenance!)

Ps: Sits on a lift in boathouse April till Thanksgiving... double covered in dead winter outa water
(NO! it dont sit in da Water to get godawlfull Green, never had bottom paint)
Last edited by kabob on Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Watty
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Watty »

AerialWombat wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:19 am I have never owned a boat, but am not totally new to boats. I used to belong to a sailing club and would go out on the water every few days, for over a year. I have completed ASA 101 and 103 in the past, and would take a US Power Squadron class here soon
.......
Where I live now, there are no clubs with their own boats, nor any boat rental companies.
.......
I also do not own a truck to tow a boat, and it's just me, so I would have no help in launching/recovering via boat ramp
It sounds like you may in Washington state.

My father in law had a small fishing boat that he used off the Oregon coast. I am sure that I did not hear a fraction of the stories but it sounded like he had some real dicy experiences when the weather got bad or he ended up out at sea after dark. By the time he was doing that he had decades of boating experience including having been in the navy.

You might look into if having a boat on a lake might make more sense for your first boat since you do not seem to have a lot of options to join a club or rent boats while you are learning more.

Without a lot of experience taking a small boat out to sea all by yourself might not be be a good idea.
smitcat
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by smitcat »

AerialWombat wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:19 am Jumping straight to the point, some questions for those Bogleheads that own boats:

1). Private party vs broker - pros and cons of each?
2). Are "extended test drives" a thing with boats, like it can be with cars at some dealers?
3). Any tips for negotiating price?
4). Recommended years/makes/models for small cabin cruisers or powered "day sailers" with minimal overnight accommodations?
5). Are some makes/models easier to resell than others? What should I take into consideration in this regard?
6). Anything else I should know but don't know to ask about the process of buying a boat?

My marina slip will be 34 feet, but I don't expect to get something that big. My main use cases are to spend weekends just hanging around the local islands on mooring balls and doing some occasional salmon fishing. Enough speed and range to make it the 50 miles or so up to Canada within a few hours would also be pretty cool. I will be paying cash, and am looking in the $15k to $50k range for a used power boat.

--
The Rest of the Story
Today, I received the call: A slip is available at my neighborhood marina.

I have been on the waiting list for almost a year.

That means I will now need to acquire a boat. I have never owned a boat, but am not totally new to boats. I used to belong to a sailing club and would go out on the water every few days, for over a year. I have completed ASA 101 and 103 in the past, and would take a US Power Squadron class here soon. Despite enjoying sailing, I will most likely purchase a power boat.

I have read many other boat threads here, and most focus on the financial aspects, of course. This is not a financial decision for me, I already know that I can afford it. It will have zero impact on my retirement planning, real estate investing, or anything else. So please no "break out another thousand" or "hole in the water into which to throw money" quips.

Where I live now, there are no clubs with their own boats, nor any boat rental companies. I also do not own a truck to tow a boat, and it's just me, so I would have no help in launching/recovering via boat ramp. So a trailerable is not of interest, just to quash that possible suggestion.

Many thanks to this amazing board!
I believe your largest challenge will be to narrow down the exact size and type of boat that will fity your needs best. Those decisions are very personal and you will need to put some time into research both online and with your feet to determine whet your boating needs/wants really will be. Not meant to be an inclusive list but just to get you started here are a few considerations:
- how easy to embark/disembark both on land and water
- how many easily transported
- how many easily sleep if any at all
- tankage limits, fuel, water, waste
- sea keeping needs for teh waters you will be in
- servicing sites for the engine(s) you choose
etc

"Jumping straight to the point, some questions for those Bogleheads that own boats:"
1). Private party vs broker - pros and cons of each?
Very similar really - you are mostly on your own for determining boats fit and relative condition
2). Are "extended test drives" a thing with boats, like it can be with cars at some dealers?
Sea trials are almost always completed after a preliminary negotiation - very few boats get coveyed without one
3). Any tips for negotiating price?
Boat prices are strong - wait a year or otherwise just know the market by using sites like Yacthworld, Boattrader, Boats(dot)com ,etc note how a number of these boats may have been for sale for years in the adds
4). Recommended years/makes/models for small cabin cruisers or powered "day sailers" with minimal overnight accommodations?
I am afriad you are going to need to narrow down the seach a bit more before this is valuable. There is a very large difference between a 23' single outboard and a 32' twin inboard boat. Each foot of boat adds a lot of room, weight, price and subsytems to the game - because the foot is always added at the nonpointy end
5). Are some makes/models easier to resell than others? What should I take into consideration in this regard?
In general yes - but the less you pay the less you need to sell for. Most often condition is far more of a metric than the exact boat.
6). Anything else I should know but don't know to ask about the process of buying a boat?
Spend most of your time figuring out which boat really fits your needs, make a list of all items, prioritize the list,physically visit those finalist boats, revisit the list as you see yourself using the boat. Consider the locations and costs for servicing engines and boat, hauling, fueling and things like pumpout if they apply. Research insurance as well as locations of services before purchase.
Good luck and have fun
smitcat
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by smitcat »

carminered2019 wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:50 am I have 2 Parker 2320 with a pilot house for protection and have done a lot of offshore fishing with a range of 280 miles. parker boats have very high resale value in Socal but if you have a lot of floating logs in the water then aluminum boat might be better for safety.

if buying a used boat:
1. Yamaha 4 stroke engine
1.1 pay for a survey
2. check for engine compressions
3. sea trial
4.find one with low engine hours
5. get outboard for easy maintenance
6. See if you have a newer electronics package.
7. radar is a must for night travel and travel through foggy days
"if buying a used boat:
1. Yamaha 4 stroke engine"
Interesting - we have had a number of outboards some of which were Yamaha's but they are not the only quality outboard out there. And some of the Yamaha's have had issues as well.
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Sandtrap
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Sandtrap »

The Boat Buying and Owning Process/Cycle

1. Obtain slip if needed and not trailering, some places require a slip then get the boat.
2. Decide, as above, if the boat is to be trailered or in a slip. If in a slip, is it still trailerable?
b) Buy a 1 ton 4wd truck with a tow hitch for the boat trailer.
3. Broker or shop via other means, marina bulletin board, for sale signs on boats in a slip.
4. Have boat checked out by a certified/pro boat inspector. May include a "haul out".
5. Test drive and run everything. Engine, sails, winches, bilge pumps, avionics, etc. Can be done with the inspector.
6. Negotiate and buy a Boston Whaler.
7. Have fun with boat.
8. Sell boat and get a bigger boat.
9. Have fun with boat. Fix Boat.
10. Sell boat. Get a Bigger Slip. Get a Bigger Boat. Fix Boat.
11. Repeat and get a 38 foot sailboat.
12. Repeat.
13. Sell all the boats that one has accumulated including the one trailered in the driveway and the Zodiac parked in back.
b) Sell the 1 ton 4wd truck that spent most of its time unused.
14. Save up money.
15. Buy a Porsche 911 Turbo or Lotus Elite or bus size RV.
or.
16. Keep the Zodiac with the 4 stroke Honda or Yamaha outboard because it got used more than any of the above and takes no space in the driveway and has no slip fees and does not have to be hull cleaned regularly.

j :D

Hawaii boat owners have boats for just the bays and fishing boats for deep ocean swells. (no lakes)
*(not my boat, looks like the "sand bar" in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu's Windward Side)
Image
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kabob
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by kabob »

Keepin a boat in a slip, or anywhere in the water all the time is a Nasty experience,(EveryYear!)...
Best solution, buy a home/house/estate on the water, with a boathouse and lift! Makes Life Easy.
lessismore22
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by lessismore22 »

Amazed we haven't seen the 'two best days in a boat owners life are...' yet.

I have purchased all of my boats used, with cash. Most from private parties, one from a dealership.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by White Coat Investor »

JOEVANDAL wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 1:10 am In 2011 I purchased a 21' , 2005 used SeaRay from a private seller. I looked for about a year and a half to find a clean boat with low hours. Before the purchase was final, I took it to a mechanic and had everything tested. I paid for this of course. When this was done, I wrote the previous owner a check and pulled it home. We have never had to do anything but routine maintenance and it has provided tons of fun for my family. We are empty nesters now, and still enjoy going out on Lake Coeur d'Alene during the summer months. The best money I/we have ever spent. I really think the key to using and enjoying a boat is mooring it and not having to fight crowds at launches.
Wow! They took a personal check?
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rebellovw
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by rebellovw »

lessismore22 wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:36 am Amazed we haven't seen the 'two best days in a boat owners life are...' yet.

I have purchased all of my boats used, with cash. Most from private parties, one from a dealership.
I was thinking the same thing - when I clicked on the thread title - I thought I was in for a funny allegory.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by smitcat »

lessismore22 wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:36 am Amazed we haven't seen the 'two best days in a boat owners life are...' yet.

I have purchased all of my boats used, with cash. Most from private parties, one from a dealership.
We bought some of our used boats with loans when they were still easily deductible for tax purposes.
About half or so bought or sold person to person and half with brokers invovled.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by btenny »

Long time owner (50+ years) of power boats. I currently own a 1995 cutty cabin Maxum that is 23 foot long. It has a 8.1L Mercruiser I/O drive. I bought it used from a private party for $14K in 2004. It had 200 hours but was dirty and needed work so the price was low. I knew I could fix it up for low $$. It is worth $18K or so now. But this particular boat has a big engine and a great interior and cabin layout in a small size. It is good for day trips and single over night stays. I bought it and the trailer for cash after a 30 minute try out ride. This boat is fast and rides good in rough water and has trim tabs to adjust the ride. I use it on fresh water at Lake Tahoe. Since Tahoe is 6.3K feet altitude this effects speed dramatically. It only does 35 MPH top speed there. It would do 50MPH at sea level.

I owned a 20 foot Sea Ray with jet drive before this boat. I bought it used from a private party for $3K way back in 1973. That boat was great for water skiing and day trips with my wife and kids and friends. I trailered it with a car at first and then a van. I used it for 25 years and sold it for $3K.

The size and type of boat you need is very dependent on how you use it and where and what you do during boating days. There are thousands of choices. So I suggest you tell us a little more about where and how you will use the boat so we can offer suggestions.

Will you go out for 2-3 day trips and camp on the boat? Or will you only take day cruise trips? How many people will you take out on boating days? Will you go out fishing with friends or by yourself? How often will you fish? Will you boat on rough waters like the open ocean way off shore? How will you do maintenance on the boat if it has no trailer? What will you do with the boat during winter?

Please tell us more. Good Luck.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by oldmotos »

I have bought many boats over the last 40 years and most were bought used from a private party with good success. I recently helped a friend buy a used boat and we looked at many from both private parties and from brokers. He found the best deal from a broker. This was in a vacation area with many wealthy people that do not seem concerned if their old boat sells for 30k or 35k as long as it gets sold. The private owners seemed to be looking for top dollar. Yamaha is by far the most popular outboard in this area and easiest to sell.
nick evets
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by nick evets »

Your situation is extremely regional -- the styles and availability of boats in the Pacific NW are going to be very different from the South Eastern US, etc., etc.

Local knowledge is key as well as focused knowledge. What boats do your slip neighbors have? Have you chatted with the dockmaster, or marina staff?

But for a good internet starting point, I'd go to "www.thehulltruth.com" and start asking questions in the regional forums.
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by kabob »

AerialWombat wrote: ↑Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:19 am
I have never owned a boat, but am not totally new to boats. I used to belong to a sailing club and would go out on the water every few days, for over a year. I have completed ASA 101 and 103 in the past, and would take a US Power Squadron class here soon
.......
Where I live now, there are no clubs with their own boats, nor any boat rental companies.
.......
I also do not own a truck to tow a boat, and it's just me, so I would have no help in launching/recovering via boat ramp


*** Pickup a nice, clean cute little runabout(16-18ft) ya wont loose anything on and Learn your area havin fun and Learn Boating! - while finding what Really would like to have from the water!
It's always easier to find the boat ya Really want when your on the water & makin friends...
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praxis
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by praxis »

123 wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:51 am Would it be possible/likely to lease a boat as an alternative? I'm suggesting to try leasing a boat if possible for a year or two. There have been threads of dedicated new boatowners who become disenchanted and are stuck with a boat. If a leasing was a viable option and enthusiasm diminishes its a great way to have the problem (boat) go away. Leasing wouldn't be about saving money, it would be about having an easy exit option.
I have owned 11 boats. If I were to make a major purchase like yours, I would lease first. Most of the boats in our marina do not get much use after year 1 or year 2. If you are intent on buying, you are getting good advice here in this thread for a checklist.

My longest trips were in sailboats, so if my auxiliary (motor) failed and I couldn't fix it, I made it to port on wind power. So, if I were to depend on my motor only, like with a power cruiser, I would want lower hours and keep it serviced and learn how to do basic maintenance. Navigation has changed since I learned on a sextant and a LORAN, but even with good GPS and radar, nothing beats a good map and compass for backup.

Nothing like being on the water for me. Good luck.
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AerialWombat
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by AerialWombat »

Thanks for all the wonderful tips, I appreciate it!

In terms of boat type, I'm narrowing in on one of two styles of boat:

-small cabin cruisers, such as from Sea Ray and Chris Craft
-even smaller runabouts or basic center console fishing boats, without overnight accommodations

I'm off to walk through a yard full of haul outs for sale, just to browse. Yep, just looking. Really, just looking. :wink:
For entertainment purposes only.
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Bogle7
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Bogle7 »

Buy a real boat.
Place your order with Electric Boat in Groton, CT.
Old fart who does three index funds, baby.
IMO
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by IMO »

Bought mine via a dealer on ebay (did transaction outside of ebay) from out of state but it was for a new wakeboard boat. But I wouldn't rule out online sources to find your boat (boat trader and other out of state dealer websites) as for the right boat, it can be worth it to travel and/or have it shipped. I've known a few people buy out of state on new/used expensive wakeboard boats.
Jim Beaux
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Jim Beaux »

I have lived more years with a boat then without. I recently sold my 32' Oday (7 ton) Sailboat that I often lived aboard for weeks at a time. It had a diesel, fire suppression, two cabins, two reverse air marine units, a stainless hot water heater, full kitchen, head w/shower, flat screen w/CD Player and many extras. Maintaining such a boat requires a lot of time and money. If you dont know what youre buying you will find yourself spending a lot of money and more time working on the boat.

The bigger the boat the bigger the bills. Running rigging for a 30' sailer is astronomical compare to a 20' day sailer. 6 dock lines will run well over $100. & depending on how protected your slip is, may last 18 months if you regularly swap ends. Keep in mind, 24 hrs a day the boat will always be swaying, rocking and chaffing everything, even the curtains!

The boat will periodically need to be dry docked for inspection, cleaning, repair, replace anodes lift & splash. Boat size dictates the wallet pain. If your boat is in warm salt water more often.

I had more enjoyment when I had a 22' McGregor Venture with a 2 hp Sea King outboard. I live 15 miles inland and from the time I left the house to the time I was under sail was 30 minutes with no help. It took at least 2 hours to get underway in the 32' with a crew. I sailed thousands of hours more than in the 22'.

Just because you have a slip available is not the best reason to buy something to park there. I dont think you should buy at this time. Wait until you know more. If you just must get the slip, I suggest you lease it to someone until you can determine what you want.

I feel government should get out of our life, but I would welcome it mandating boater licensing. Too many dummies on the water now.

Power Boats is great regardless of what you float. It is much more than power boats. There are courses on rules of the road, sailing, coastal navigation, celestial navigation, seamanship, etc. I cant tell you how many times Ive horn signaled other boaters only for them to get offended because they were too stupid to understand.

You will not find the right boat for you in 12 months.

BTW 50 miles a day on the water in a power boat is a lot & it will beat you to death. Its a good day (24 hours) to average 100 miles sailing offshore.
barnaclebob
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by barnaclebob »

Does you marina have a length requirement for the slip? Ive got a slip in a Puget Sound marina and they require your LOA to be at least 75% the length of the slip. My guess is they dont want small boats taking up space for more fuel hungry big boats.

If I could afford it, Id buy a Jenneau NC 895 sport tomorrow. Cutwater and Ranger Tug boats are also very nice and look awesome if youve got the money.

Make sure you can haul crab and shrimp pots. That is a lot of fun. This summer is a pink salmon year. You can just cast buzz bombs or rotators and catch them without needing downriggers. Contrary to their reputation from river fisherman, they taste great when you pull them from salt water.

Learn your boats electical system in and out. You can save huge amounts of money if you dont have to call a mechanic every time a switch doesnt do what its supposed to do.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:06 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Jim Beaux
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Jim Beaux »

lessismore22 wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:36 am Amazed we haven't seen the 'two best days in a boat owners life are...' yet.

I have purchased all of my boats used, with cash. Most from private parties, one from a dealership.
LOL Kinda true.

But the greatest was Christmas day with my wife. Cold, bright, crisp, nice breeze and no one else on Galveston Bay. We hardly spoke, we just held hands, sipped hot chocolate & listened to the halyards ring.

It will be the one I will never forget.
PugetSoundguy
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by PugetSoundguy »

Regarding brokers: They can be helpful, but there are lots of questionable ones out there. They are pretty much unregulated in many states, including our state, and the bad ones take advantage of that situation.

We bought a nice used boat a few months ago. We had decided on the make and model we wanted and then started searching online listings. We found one that looked good; the seller was represented by a broker and I gave him a call to see if the boat were still available. He said it was. I said I would get back to him. The call lasted less than a minute. We then started looking around for a broker to represent us and selected one based in an office at our local marina. He called the seller's broker and said he represented us as potential buyers. The seller's broker said he would not deal with our broker (and split the commission) because he "found" me and had spent so much time with me! Right, that call that lasted less than a minute! So our broker said he didn't want to fight it.

We then found the same model boat listed by a private sellers. The sellers were a wonderful couple. Without a broker, we made an offer which was accepted. Even though he would not be representing us in the private sale, the broker we had reached out to nonetheless spent time with me to go over the ins and outs of buying a boat. His 30 minutes of advice was invaluable to both me and the sellers. I told him I felt guilty about taking his time for free, but he said no worries, he had plenty of business and just liked to see transactions go smoothly. So you can be sure we will go to him when we are selling our boat!

Anyway, we had a haulout, survey, and sea trial, and everything went well. We did use a title service to handle the documentation (which was more complicated than I thought it would be) and that was a few hundred dollars well spent. Before closing, the seller told me that he had noticed a recent intermittent problem with one of the systems that would come and go for unknown reasons. Neither the survey nor the sea trial uncovered the problem because of its intermittent nature. So we negotiated a price reduction after I consulted a technician. Later, the seller gave us several docking lessons, which were vital.

Anyway, it looks like the intermittent problem is not so much a problem. If a bit more testing confirms that (which I think it will), I will refund the price difference to the seller (which should be a nice surprise for him) even though our transaction closed months ago. That shows what a great relationship we developed.

So this is a long way of saying that private party transactions can be great, but brokers can also give good advice. I would seek recommendations for a buyer's broker now, and then be sure to have your broker contact any seller's broker so you don't run into the problem I did.
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StevieG72
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by StevieG72 »

I bought a boat a few years ago, found a deal I could not pass up on a center console with a new motor.

Some learnings....

I did not have a truck that could pull the boat, a friend of mine offered to help trailer and has been true to his word anytime needed. I did keep it in a marina but it did have to be hauled out occasionally for maintenance, weather (hurricanes) and off season I kept it at home. I now own a truck that can pull the boat. (Previous vehicle totaled, bought a 4runner that is capable of pulling boat.)

Is the marina you plan on keeping boat at full service? Do they have fuel, do they do any maintenance? Boat will have to be bottom painted every few years. The less services offered at the marina, the more planning you will need to do for maintenance items.

I did enjoy the convenience of having the boat ready to go at the marina, however the barnacle growth was relentless. I now trailer it and launch whenever I go out.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
StarsandStripes
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by StarsandStripes »

Tread lightly as you learn your way. People are buying anything that floats for top dollar right now. I have owned many boats that would not be boglehead approved. A 34 foot boat may not look large in the water but on a trailer it will look enormous. You will need experience to tow a 34 foot boat.

I know of several people that have purchased 60 foot boats recently even though they had no experience. Hire a captain and you can learn anything.

Pick the boat that speaks to you was the best advice we got when we seriously started moving up. When we viewed our first Back Cove we knew that was the boat for us at the time. Since then other boats have spoken to us as we moved up. Boating is a constant progression from smaller, to large, and back down again as you age and your needs change.

Good luck!
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AerialWombat
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by AerialWombat »

I closed on my boat today. Just thought I'd circle back around to this thread for an update.

I ended up buying through a broker. Suggestions on this thread regarding sea trial, the marine survey, using a marine title company, and a few other matters turned out to be spot on, so thank you for those tips.

After touring many, many boats over a two-week period, I ended up deciding that I wanted a small cabin cruiser with ample room on the stern deck to fish and crab from. If money were not an issue, I probably would have purchased a new Ranger Tug. However, that wasn't possible. So, I purchased a single-engine Chris-Craft that's a little bit older than I am, but that has a new motor, new transmission, and newer electronics. She's basic, and not a speed demon, but in amazing shape for her age.

And yes, in Boglehead fashion, I did get a slight deal on it. Paid about 25% below asking price, and about 10% below appraised value (I had appraisal done as part of the survey).

So I guess today is officially the second happiest day of my boating life. :wink:

Thanks again for all the suggestions. :sharebeer
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Salmo Trutta
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Salmo Trutta »

Congrats Wombat.

I suggest diving in to the maintenance yourself, learning everything you can. You'll find the knowledge invaluable when the boat breaks down.

Figure out which maintenance is critical, and increase the chances that every cruise is a success. You'll take pride in never stranding your family and guests. Believe it or not, the twice-annual cleaning and waxing is critical. It forces you to inspect the entire boat and build your to-do list.

I recommend buying "Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats" on Amazon. Even though you bought a powerboat, the lessons taught are the same. For example, if your boat is 10 to 15 years old, it is time to pull every fitting and rebed it.

Have fun!

P.S. The number one issue with boats, by far, is....fuel. Guard your fuel jealously. Buy from a quality source, ensure your filler cap o-rings are good, stabilize it, etc.
Jim Beaux
Posts: 178
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by Jim Beaux »

Salmo Trutta wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:05 am Congrats Wombat.

I suggest diving in to the maintenance yourself, learning everything you can. You'll find the knowledge invaluable when the boat breaks down.

Figure out which maintenance is critical, and increase the chances that every cruise is a success. You'll take pride in never stranding your family and guests. Believe it or not, the twice-annual cleaning and waxing is critical. It forces you to inspect the entire boat and build your to-do list.

I recommend buying "Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats" on Amazon. Even though you bought a powerboat, the lessons taught are the same. For example, if your boat is 10 to 15 years old, it is time to pull every fitting and rebed it.

Have fun!

P.S. The number one issue with boats, by far, is....fuel. Guard your fuel jealously. Buy from a quality source, ensure your filler cap o-rings are good, stabilize it, etc.
++10

Rough water stirs up sediment in the fuel tank. Fuel is the life blood. Stay paranoid because it will fail when youre in adverse conditions, in heavy traffic & in the middle of the ship channel....ALWAYS! :x

Hopefully the boat is already equipped with a good marine fuel/water separator with a by pass system so you can switch filters on the go. Keep spares!

Use a marine fuel additive.

https://seafoamworks.com/product/sea-fo ... treatment/

Congrats
clutchied
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by clutchied »

We were visiting the San Juan islands and staying on Lopez.

One evening eating at a restaurant there my buddy got to talking with a guy eating by himself looking at the sunset.

turned out he just "cruised" up there from Seattle in his Boston Whaler and was having a nice dinner.

man...
WhyNotUs
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by WhyNotUs »

AerialWombat wrote: Wed Jan 20, 2021 12:19 am Jumping straight to the point, some questions for those Bogleheads that own boats:
1). Private party vs broker - pros and cons of each?
2). Are "extended test drives" a thing with boats, like it can be with cars at some dealers?
3). Any tips for negotiating price?
4). Recommended years/makes/models for small cabin cruisers or powered "day sailers" with minimal overnight accommodations?
5). Are some makes/models easier to resell than others? What should I take into consideration in this regard?
6). Anything else I should know but don't know to ask about the process of buying a boat?
1.) Private party- Pro is that in some circumstances it can result in a lower sale price. For someone very knowledgable about a particular boat that they want, it can save time and money. Cons- need to be able to narrow the field of boats (there will be many for sale) and do research on what to think about for your use.
Broker- Pro- a great broker will help you define what you are looking for to narrow the field and help you understand the market for buying and eventual selling. They can also help with coordinating and identifying the surveyor and understanding the results. They can advise you whether to make an offer.
Your comments make it seem like you do not have a specific boat in mind and that a broker could be helpful.
2.) Your sea trial will be limited in most cases. Get clear on that as you may need to combine that with survey in order to get the benefit of surveyors advice on board, it is important to now how it feels away from the dock.
3.) I would focus more on maintenance history and documentation than on getting the lowest price. If you find the right boat, the price will be secondary to the amount of enjoyment you experience (last 10% fo price)
4.) You will be more effective in your search if you can get over the hump of whether you want to sail or not. It sounds like you are talking about being by yourself and single-handing would narrow your search quite a bit. Less so with stink pots :-)
5.) Reason to work with broker in your area
6.) Previous owner upkeep is #1 criteria for me. Everyone boat has strengths and weaknesses, learn what it is for the boat that you are considering. Sails add complexity, especially for single handers. If you are in an area of big tide changes, a boat with a big motor/s and small keel will give you more options for where, when and how you go out.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
barnaclebob
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Re: How to buy a boat? (the process)

Post by barnaclebob »

Have you done much crabbing or shrimping? If not, add weight to your pots. Crab pots should weigh at least 15lbs and shrimp pots 25lbs. More if the current is strong in your area. I picked up 5 or 6 pots floating on their bouys in 400ft of water last year.
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