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Quick Guide To Buying A Used Boat

If you've decided it's time for a boat, or if you're lucky enough, another boat, in your life, you may want to consider getting a used boat rather than a new one, for a number of reasons.
New Boats vs Used Boats
Buying a brand new boat is certainly exciting, you can be very specific with what you're after. Plus, of course, you can rely on the boat being in perfect working order because it's brand new, not to mention the warranty, the superior fuel economy and peace of mind.
However, we all know that you can save a considerable amount of money when you buy a used boat, as they often de-value considerably, the minute they leave the showroom.
You can certainly get more for your dollars if you consider buying second hand, which means you may be able to upgrade to a newer or larger model than you first thought was possible.
If you'd like to stretch your money and get a used boat, ensure you bear in mind our top tips as listed below and considerably reduce the risk of getting a rough deal. 
Decide Upon No More Than 3 Types of Boat
The first thing you need to consider is exactly what type of boat you will need. Think about what is going to be the primary use for the boat. For example, if you like to divide your time between water skiing and fishing, you will still ultimately need a power or speed boat in order to tow one or two people. If you want a used boat purely for having a little fun on the lake, then maybe a pontoon or motor yacht is more your speed, but you should establish this early on to narrow down your search initially. Once you have done this initial research, try to establish no more than 3 types of boat you are interested in buying, this will make your search easier and you can understand in far more detail exactly what you're looking for in all 3 and, most importantly, what you like and dislike about all of them.
Take a look at all of the different types of boats that people sell on www.vivaboats.com for some ideas.
Spend Time Researching Your Chosen Boats
Once you've determined no more than 3 types of boat you are considering, including make and model, it's time to delve a little further into their capabilities and reliability.
Be sure to ask friends and other boat owners for their personal opinions and recommendations. 
If you're fairly internet savvy, searching internet boat forums for recommendations can be extremely useful, as well as looking at consumer reports. Offline there is plenty of information too, such as boating magazines and publications which often write reviews of models.
Search Far & Wide
The key to finding the perfect used boat for you is to cast as wide a net as possible. Be lenient on your criteria, such as age, mileage and size, so that you can really see what's available and easily spot any bargains. After several weeks of searching, you will be far more comfortable with what is a good price and what specifically you're after. 
We'd also highly recommend going to view several boats that are a close fit to what you're looking for in a used boat for sale. 
Top Tips When You View A Used Boat
1) As a good indication of the boats use, one of the first things you should check is the number of hours on the boat engine.
2) Be sure to always view a used boat whilst it's out of the water so you can thoroughly check for damage.
3) It's often a good sign if a used boat has been kept in a garage as it's likely to have been protected from fierce weather conditions.
4) Look for corrosion to wood and metal surfaces. Salt water can be harmful to unprotected surfaces and this could give you an indication of how well the boat has been looked after.
5) Check for working connections and well maintained cables, fully operating pumps and a clean engine. Anything less can indicate neglect and potential problems down the line.
6) For a higher priced boat, don't be afraid to ask for a trial on the water, this will enable you to get a real feel for the boat and to ensure it's operating as described.
7) Ensure you get as much thrown in to the final deal as possible so that you can get out on the water quickly. If the seller is selling their boat they may not their anchor any more for example, and this could save you further money in the future.
8) If you're spending a fair amount of money on a boat, we'd recommend  hiring a marine surveyor/mechanic as they are able to point out any flaws that it's likely you will have missed, and they can also determine if the used boat is likely to have any issues down the road.
9) Take your time. Not rushing your purchase and ensuring you get exactly the model you are after, for the right price, will ensure that you get years of enjoyment out of your boat. Being cautious and doing your research can also drastically minimize the chances of you experiencing any problems with it in the future.
We hope you've found our quick guide to buying a used boat very useful.
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photo credit: Rockport Fishermen Repair Their Lobster Boat 02/1973 via photopin (license)