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Buying a boat online? How to avoid getting scammed

Buying a boat can be the culmination of a lifelong dream for many who love to spend their time on the water. With today's connected world, it is easy to find the right boat at the right price anywhere around the world. However, this availability can also open you up to vulnerability when it comes to potential scams. To protect yourself and your future investment, make sure to follow these tips to avoid scams when buying a boat online. 
Do Your Research
In order to know what you should be paying, it is important to research the specific type of boat you are looking for before you start shopping online. This research will be able to provide you with a couple of important numbers. These numbers include what the sale price of a new boat of that make and model is and what used versions of it are currently selling for. These ranges will let you know whether the deal you are looking at online is too good to be true or not. 
Have Open Communication with the Seller
While email is an easy way to communicate with the seller, it is also important to call the seller as well, so you can establish a relationship, ask all of the questions you have and gauge how open the seller is in selling his or her boat. Getting a phone number is also a great way to help you determine whether the seller and the boat are located in the same area. Having two very different geographic locations can imply that they may be trying to scam you. 
Always View the Boat Before Purchasing
No boat should be bought online without being viewed in person first. If you are trying to purchase a boat that is located outside of the region in which you are willing to travel, it is important that you find a friend or trusted family member that can go inspect the boat on your behalf. This is also a great opportunity to talk to the seller in person, making sure that everything about the deal is legitimate. 
Never Provide a Deposit Before the Deal is Finalized
Money should not change hands until you have determined that the seller is providing a fair price, that the boat is in the condition that it was listed as and only after the full terms of payment have been established. It is also important to avoid sellers who want you to use a third party payment service or those who are asking you to reveal person financial information to them. 
Buying a boat online can be fun and easy, but it can also open you up to the potential of being scammed. If you follow these tips, you will be able to spot a scam before you fall victim to it.
photo credit: #21 :: 01/21/10 :: I program in my sleep. via photopin (license)