If you’re a mariner at heart, then owning a boat is a rewarding experience that will provide you with lots of opportunities for recreation and relaxation. Whether you’re heading to the coast for some off-shore fishing or simply going to a local lake to cruise on a sunny day, your boat will provide you with a safe means of enjoying the water.

One great way to get the boat you want while saving money is to buy used. Boats are designed to last for years and are even handed down between generations in some families, which is why buying a used boat is a valuable investment. Germaine Marine, with locations in Arizona and Utah, is your local boat dealer. Read on to learn what you should consider when buying a used boat.

1. Make A Firm Budget

First things first: establish a budget that you can stick to while you’re shopping. You don’t want to go with something that’s way too expensive that you can’t afford. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got enough room in your budget for secondary and tertiary expenses like registration, insurance, life jackets and other essential supplies. Finally, when establishing a budget, you don’t want to go too low and get something that isn’t big enough or doesn’t have the features you need.

2. Do Your Research

Next, you’ll want to look into brands and models that interest you. You’ll want to think about the type of used boat that would best meet your needs. Do you like fishing? Then you’ll want a boat with rod holders and a livewell or baitwell, as well as space to sit. Do you like watersports? Then you’ll need a powerful motor on a boat that can tow wakeboarders and inner tubers. Do you just want a boat to entertain? Then you’ll want lots of comfortable seating and perhaps a cabin or T-top for shade.

Once you’ve narrowed this down, it’s time to consider specific models. When you find one you like, go to the manufacturer’s website and see whether there have been any factory recalls of that model. You can also read professional industry reviews and personal reviews online of owners of that boat to figure out what’s good and bad about it.

3. Inspect The Craft

When you’ve landed on a particular boat, whether it’s at a dealer like Germaine Marine or a private seller, you’ll want to perform a thorough inspection. This is especially important with private sellers; a dealership will have done their due diligence in inspecting and repairing a boat so that it’s ready for sale, but a private seller may try to hide flaws to pawn off a model for quick cash. Be wary of this!

Walk around the exterior and see whether there are any cracks in the gel coat that could represent a collision, which would do damage to the inside of the boat as well. Check the engine and oil; if the gasoline or oil is milky, that indicates the boat has taken on water, which is a bad sign. If there are metal shavings in the oil, then it may have engine grinding issues that are going to cost a lot to fix. Look over the interior to make sure the seats and vinyl don’t have mold or mildew. Get the history of the boat from the seller, including any repairs that have been done.

Ready to tour some boats? Visit one of our dealerships in American Fork, Utah, or Mesa, Arizona, to check out our selection of new and used boats for sale. Germaine Marine is proud to be your local boat dealer, so bring us any questions you may have!