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How to Make the Right Decision WHEN BUYING A BOAT

How to Make the Right Decision WHEN BUYING A BOAT

As warmer weather approaches, the allure of water-based activities, especially boating, captivates many. Boating enthusiasts relish escaping the daily grind, enjoying the sun, spray, and wind with family and friends. In Australia, about 30,000 second-hand boats are listed monthly, attracting first-time and experienced buyers. However, without careful consideration and inspection, buyers may acquire a problematic boat, leading to regrets and significant expenses.

Buyers often fall into the trap of being emotionally invested in the purchase, focusing on superficial aspects like shiny exteriors and cosmetic appeal. However, the true condition of the boat, often concealed beneath the surface, becomes apparent only after the purchase is complete, leading to potential regrets and significant expenses to rectify defects.

On the flip side, sellers naturally aim to maximise their returns, justifiably or not, emphasising the age-old adage “let the buyer beware.” To avoid disasters on the water and unforeseen financial burdens, it’s crucial to discern what lies beneath the surface before sealing the deal.


To make an informed decision when purchasing a used boat, consider the following factors:

1.Define the Boat’s Purpose: Determine the primary use of the boat, such as water skiing, fishing, cruising, or sailing, and where it will be used (inshore, offshore, lake, river). This helps in selecting the appropriate style, construction, and features.

2.Passenger Capacity: Consider the number of passengers the boat will accommodate to ensure safety and compliance with the boat’s design specifications.

3.Towing Requirements: If you plan to tow the boat, assess the towing weight, including the hull, engine, trailer, fuel, and additional contents. This influences the vehicle needed for safe towing.

4.Mooring or Storage: Consider where the boat will be kept – marina, dry stack, or other storage options – and factor in associated costs and facilities.


Once your preferences and budget are established, the search for a suitable boat begins. Numerous avenues, including websites, boat brokers, dealers, and word of mouth, offer a variety of options. However, exercise caution and avoid being swayed by enticing photos that may not accurately represent the boat’s true condition.


Before committing to a purchase, a comprehensive inspection is essential. Unless you possess extensive knowledge of boat mechanics, hiring a professional marine inspector or surveyor is advised. This expert assessment covers crucial aspects, including hull condition, electrical systems, safety equipment, and trailer condition.


This detailed assessment includes checking the hull for water intrusion, assessing material moisture content, examining engine conditions, and evaluating safety equipment compliance. Don’t overlook the trailer’s condition, which can cause issues during transportation.

Boat maintenance history provides insights into the vessel’s condition and upkeep. Tracket, a leading boatie app, helps manage this information, allowing boat owners to monitor maintenance and repairs. SeaWorthy Inspections recommends for maintaining and sharing your boat’s history, enhancing its market value.

Armed with a comprehensive report, buyers can confidently decide whether to proceed with the purchase, negotiate based on defects, or reconsider the transaction.

SeaWorthy Inspections, an independent recreational vessel inspection company, provides essential insights for safer and more informed boat purchases. Paired with Tracket, the leading boat management app, they offer a comprehensive solution for maintaining, tracking, and evaluating your boat’s history and condition.

Learn more at

or call 1300 462 883.




Published in print January-March 2024