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OK, so I appreciate advice on my first boat. But here is what has kept me from pulling the trigger on used boats in the past...Since I was not raised around boats except for duck hunting, how can one feel confident he is getting a reasonable deal? Do I try to enlist someone to check out the boat first? Are there such people? Or do I pay more and buy new for peace of mind? I must say, its amazing how some sellers expect almost all of their costs back for a used boat.
 

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Yes there are people that you can pay to survey a boat for you before you buy it, they are called marine surveyors. You might consider buying something simple for your first boat. Lots of people buy high dollar boats and end up selling them barely used because they didn’t realize what all goes into maintaining a boat and they don’t use it nearly as much as they thought and can’t justify it sitting in storage just to be used 2-3 times a year. If I were you I’d take my time and actually go fishing on a lot of boats before just buying one because someone recommended it. Boat manufacturers do demos and lots of guys that are sponsored will take you on demo trips before you buy.
 

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I would absolutely agree with Smack ^. I would add you could also get a skiff/boat that would be very cheap and easy to run. A gheenoe is perfect for this! This could limit how far you go at least initially but they are very cheap to run and they have a pretty low up front cost. Once you get comfortable start looking into what will be better for your fishery.
 

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You would probably not go wrong with many of the popular boats you see discussed here either. We tend to be a pretty picky/anal bunch. So the boats you see here would be good candidates for your initial review.
You can do a pretty good review on your own. Does it run well? Under cowling looks nice? Runs, but looks bad under cowling? Probably not maintained and got it running to sell. The boat. Wiring appears clean and original, not disturbed with splices and oddly place new wires strung about. All electrical items work? Boat battery or a cheap wallymart car battery to get it running? Nav lights are an item that typically do not hold up well and corrode. I replace mine before they crumble, why wouldn’t anyone else? Look up under hatches and decks where it’s not easily cleaned for signs of water, mold and mildew. Could be leaking or holding water. Nothing loose? You wouldn’t buy a used car without sliding seats forward and opening trunk to see how they really cleaned the car would you? Run the boat. Handle well? No excuses about this or that from the seller? Read the seller. How is their vehicle condition? If you go by their home, is it nice and tidy or a dump? If you came by my place, nothing owned looks unmaintained. Ya, wife’s car has scraped a few curbs.
I personally like everything new as I keep it for a long time if I bought what turns out to be what I expected. And yes some of these skiffs command big dollars used. Many people get butt hurt if they can’t try getting top dollar for their used boat. They don’t take into consideration the use of it had value. Luxury items typically loose value and they will bring down the asking price soon enough. Don’t be afraid to call back and ask, hey sold that boat yet? I’ve got cash. Houses start same way. Realtor let’s them list it for $———— and 30 days later they put a realistic price on it and start showing it.
 

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I’ve purchased my boats used.

When you narrow down what you’re looking for, and look at every online source for boats for sale a price range will becone apparent.

When a candidate appears that looks reasonable go take a look.

If it passes your visual exam, make a deal with the seller to take it to a reputable shop to have an annual done- plugs/oil/impeller. All on your nickle. You’ll get a report with compression, and ask the guy at the shop what he thinks.

Likely it’ll pass, and you’ve got a boat you have confidence it.

If there’s a problem, you can renegotiate or walk away.

That has worked great for me-
 

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Another option is buying a used boat that is still under warranty. That'll give to peace of mind with reduced cost.
 

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If you're able to, I'm always an advocate for new. The boat is 100% perfect(if not, they're going to fix it), the motor hasn't been touched by a shade tree mechanic, and the trailer is brand new(tires, hubs, lights, etc.) This has always given me peace of mind that everything is going to work for a long time and it will be maintained to my expectations from the beginning. I'm a big advocate of maintenance, which will bring more reliability. I know things break down eventually, but I'd rather not be stranded in the water with the wife, friends and kids.

I have bought used as well. I had good experiences going that route. Bring a knowledgeable friend to help you look around so the new to you "wow" factor doesn't blind you from overlooking anything. If it's a high dollar purchase, a couple hundred bucks for a survey/maintenance checkup is not a bad idea so you know what you are getting from professionals.

Good luck with you decision, it will be one of the 2 best days of boat ownership!
 

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New boats take huge depreciation hits.

Be patient and find what you want in the used market.

On a simple skiff you won't have much complexity so taking a boat savvy buddy to play the role of "skeptic" during water tests is a good idea.

On a more complex / more expensive boat it may be worth having a survey done.

Start with something simple and used. Your first boat is rarely the one you stick with for a long period of time.
 

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At the very least, take the boat to a mechanic and have the engine checked out or review the receipts for engine maintenance. If you are serious about the boat, ask for a wet test. Generally speaking, if the boat looks really good, it likely was taken care of and actually is in good condition. If you still want a professional opinion, surveyors are pretty cheap compared to buying a lemon.
 

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As for a feeling like you get a deal, spend time online looking and get a feel for the market. Then decide if your purchase is in line with whats out there.
 

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If your in the market for a skiff watch this site for a few months and you'll figure out what the going price is for any skiff. Then when what you want pops up at a price within your budget and needs be ready to jump on it.

Also on used my thought is to buy from one of the reputable brands. I'd rather have a 15 year old Maverick or Hells Bay over a boat that is new sold at the same price range but that's just me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As always, I appreciate the help from you guys. And yes, I am looking at "simple" rather than fancy and expensive. Will let you know when I am about to pull the trigger.
 
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