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184 Main Collins Street | West Victoria 8007

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Tips & Topics

Tips for Buyers

  1. Make a list of what you expect from the boat you want to buy. General length, configuration, (fish, ski, cruiser, sail, etc.). It doesn’t make sense to confuse yourself by shopping a fishing boat with a large cockpit and small cabin when you have a large family, intend to cruise, and need a boat with a large cabin and small cockpit. Looking at every model may leave you confused and increase the chance that you will wind up empty handed.

  2. If you’re seriously boat shopping, don’t try to see too much in any one day or boat show. If at a show, come back for a second (or a third) look. If you want to return for a closer look at a particular model from a certain dealer at a show, be sure to ask for a couple of complementary show passes, or otherwise arrange to get in the show by leaving your name at the ticket office, or having someone meet you at the door.

  3. Make a list of perhaps four similar competing models in which you have interest. Below each heading, list specifications for each on the models, i.e. price, L.O.A., beam, draft, weight, number of berths, number and size of engines, and maybe some comment as to amount of basic equipment. For example, if you look at four 33 footers, all with similar prices, you can start comparing equipment lists in order to find the best deal. If one comes standard with a 4.5 kw generator, air conditioning, electric anchor windlass, VHF radio, CD player, and dock and safety packages for the same price as similar models that don’t, then that boat may be the best buy.Keep in mind that a 4.5 KW generator is may be worth $15,000 as an option, 16,000 BTU air is worth 5 to 6 thousand, and an electric anchor windlass around $3,000. Audio and entertainment systems are great features, but they are not usually big ticket items. Radar, autopilots and GPS plotters are big ticket items, but are rarely standard equipment. Basically, fill in all the blanks on your feature and equipment sheet, then you’ll be able to compare features versus price at a glance.

  4. Ask about hull construction. A lot of dealerships have people with technical knowledge right in the booth who can answer your questions. Ask if the hull is solid fiberglass or cored. If it’s cored, is the core material balsa wood or foam? Is the hull cored above the waterline, below the waterline, or both? Cored construction is perfectly fine, but it’s nice to know how the hull is built, so you can periodically inspect it, test it for moisture penetration and otherwise maintain it in a proper manner. Also, ask about hull framing. Many boats today may still use some form of wood reinforcement in the hull framing, though many manufacturers have switched to composite plastic or foam. If wood is present you just want to know that it’s there, so you can keep the bilges clean and well ventilated and relatively dry in the future in order to inhibit (hopefully prevent) any deterioration.

  5. Ask about hull warranties. Most production boat builders give a five year limited warranty on the hull and major componentes. Clarify this, however. Confirm that “hull warranty” means the WHOLE hull. Not just a portion of it, such as the bottom or hull sides. Or that things like “stringers and bulkheads”, brackets or fittings are not included. Clarify warranties before you buy a new boat.

  6. Ask if the engine warranty includes labor to remove and reinstall components. The best thing to do is READ THE WARRANTY FIRST, and ask for clarification about anything which may not be clear, or you don’t understand. Also ask about the availability and cost of extended warranties which are often transferrable to a subsequent owner and therefore add value to the boat when you resell it.

  7. Most of all, go to have fun. Anything in life can be evaluated by three criteria:

    1. Is it fun?

    2. Does it alleviate or reduce stress.

    3. Is it rewarding?

Whatever you call it, boating, sailing or yachting, it’s all about having FUN. If you find yourself entering into a purchase that meets these three criteria, then maybe you’ve found the best deal of all.