|Inspecting boats is fun, but a lot of work can be done before you jump in a lazarette!|
10 Questions to Ask About a Prospective Boat
- How was the boat used? How a boat was used can tell you a lot about her. Was the boat heavily used? Lightly used? In fresh water or salt? Was she predominately a day sailor or was she cruised full-time? Learning about a boat's history can tell you a lot about what sort of boat you'll be getting, what type of systems she'll have and what you might need to add.
- Why are you selling? Is the owner selling because of health issues or are they looking for a new boat? If they are looking for a new boat - ask what is wrong with the one they have.
- How long have you owned the boat? Learn as much about the boat's history as you can. How many people have owned and for how long? The fewer the owners, the more simple it is to trace the mechanical history of the boat.
- What upgrades, if any, have you done? We saw one poor boat who's owner hadn't done a thing to her in over twelve years. While her bones were still good, we didn't want a project but for someone else, this boat might be just the project they're looking for and a chance to start from a clean slate.
- What are upgrades you would do if you weren't selling? I always like to ask this question and I have found most people are pretty honest about it. It's good information to have moving forward and almost always the answer will make you think.
- How long has the boat been for sale? Times are certainly tough these days but if a boat has been on the market for a very long time it *could* indicate that either the boat is priced too high or isn't up to snuff. Finding out how long a boat has been on the market can also be a tool to assist you when the time comes to negotiate. Usually, after two years on the market - people tend to be a little more flexible.
- Has there ever been any osmosis issues? Blisters on boats, though relatively common, are not good. While this issue can be fixed, it can indicate a future of hull problems if it hasn't been taken care of properly. Some models and makes are more prone to osmosis issues than others and they are a real pain in the butt to deal with (so we hear, Rasmus never had an issue with this).
- What do you like best about the boat? Least? Again, use the current owner to your advantage. Learn from him/her. I have also been known to take to the forums and find other owners of the particular make of boat and get their opinions as well.
- Age of the following: engine, rigging, electronics, plumbing...etc. Some owners will know all of these down to the date, others will not have a clue. A proper marine survey will tell you what you REALLY need to know, but if you know beforehand that the standing rigging is 15 years old you can go into the deal knowing with relative certainty that you are going to have to replace it.
- Do you have a mechanical log? Receipts? Many boats that have been well cared for will come with a logbook that will show the mechanical history of the boat. Some of these boats will even have receipts. The more you know about the age and history of the boat's systems, the better off you will be in the long run. Knowledge is power people!
These questions are just a few to get you started. A proper marine survey will tell you what you really need to know, but a good survey is not cheap so learning as much as you can beforehand will certainly be worth your while. What questions do you ask about a prospective boat? Share in the comments!
Brittany, Scott & Isla