The Importance of a Pre-Purchase Boat Inspection

One of the most common reasons for buying a second hand boat is financial savings – but purchasing a boat in bad condition can negate any savings you’ve made. Fortunately, you can avoid this by inspecting the boat carefully before making a purchase and taking it on a test drive with the owner.

You wouldn’t buy a second hand car without a proper inspection, and it’s just as short sighted to purchase a boat without one – even more so, because the cost of a marine mechanic can be a lot more than a car mechanic. Here is a checklist of things to consider when inspecting a boat:

– Is the engine clean?

– Is there a lot of dirt or stains near the gaskets or seals?

– Pull out the dip-stick and check the oil.

– Check the batteries.

– Give the steering wheel t tug to check for loose cables.

– Make sure the bilge pump works.

The boat’s hull, transom, floors and bulkheads should be looked over carefully. If the boat is fibreglass, look at the hull integrity and check for timber rot and osmosis (i.e. ‘blistering’ of the hull). Aluminium hulls should be checked for electrolysis corrosion.

Safety gear is incredibly important while boating, and yet many buyers forget to check out the gear. Make sure all electronics are in working order, that life jackets are undamaged and that flares haven’t expired.

If the previous owner hasn’t cleaned and maintained the vessel well, you might be in for some nasty surprises. Check for discolouration, corrosion and mildew, especially in places where the owner might not have been able to conceal it with a quick, pre-inspection wash.  Make sure the engine isn’t dirty or rusty and that the oil is clean and smooth, with no foam. The owner should be able to provide a complete service history.

Many buyers are careful to check the boat but forget about the boat trailer. This can be just as important as the boat itself. Take the time to ensure that the trailer is in safe, roadworthy condition. Depending on the weight it may require a safety certificate, so make sure you don’t need to make any costly repairs to get it up to standard.

While boat inspections can be an exhausting process, especially if you are looking at many different boats, they are imperative to ensuring that you are not wasting your money on a lemon.  For an especially thorough and professional inspection, consider taking a marine mechanic along with you.

Holt Marine are marine mechanics and Brisbane boating specialists. If you have any questions about boat inspections, contact us on (07) 3353 1928.


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