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smallie.huntin

Buying a boat during winter?

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Hey guys, sorry if this has been posted before.  I did a search but didn't come up with what I was looking for.

I am currently in the market for a small fishing boat. Having never bought a boat before this is all new to me.  What types of things should I be looking for when seeing boats?  Especially now during the winter when an on-the-water test isn't possible?  Is it just a bad idea to be looking for a boat when I can't water test it?

I have been seeing some decent deals via craigslist but I am skeptical to drive an hour to an hour and a half to see a boat when I really don't know what I am looking for.  

Thanks guys.

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When looking for a boatalways make sure you know what you want prior to purchasing it. When I first went to look at boats I wasn't sure what I wanted either. I drove probably 1500 miles looking at different boats from private seller to boat dealer. After I had looked at about every type of boat out there, I finally decided which boat I wanted and the price that I wanted to spend. I waited about 2 weeks and a buddy of mine called me to tell me that there was the boat that I wanted about 5 miles away. So I went and looked at it and sure enough it was exactly what I wanted. The guy was an old guy and he trusted me to take it and test drive it without him. So I took it out test drove it (and fished in it all day) and when I came back to the owner of the boat I had the cash in hand.

Sometimes the best deals are right near by but then again some other deals you may have to travel to.

;)

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I was in your shoes last year around this time as well.  I'm no expert, but some advice is still better than no advice.

I knew what I wanted in a boat.  Boat length, motor, boat layout, wheel vs tiller, aluminum vs fiberglass, price, how far I'm willing to drive for it, and the list goes on.

Knowing exactly what you want will eliminate a lot of questions, which also means less wasted time.  You're spending hard earn money so get the one you're happy with, do not settle for anything less than what you can afford.  If you have any doubts, you'll regret it later on.  Going used, sometimes you might have to settle for less.  Overall, get the one you're most happy with and don't rush into it.

You're obviously looking at a smaller used boat, so 1st thing is to check the condition of the boat, motor, and trailer.  Check for visible damages.  Ask question in regards to maintenance work that's been previously done on the boat/motor/ and trailer.  Ask for any current problems.  If possible, I would run the motor, and I know being up north this time of the year is going to make this a bit difficult.  You might have to settle for their word if worst comes to worst.  Try to make sure everything is in good working condition.  Always ask questions if you are unsure of certain things.

I bought mine last year around this time of the year in about -10 degrees weather condition.  I bought mine from an elderly couple.  They were very nice and kept records of everything that's been done to the boat.  Brought all the records out to me and went over everything with me, which was fantastic.  I spent two hours with them going over stories, maintenance work papers, questions, and a complete run down of the boat.

I wanted to test the motor, but because of the blistering conditionsobviously that was not possible.  He showed me records on the motor and reassured me that the motor was in top condition.  I made the decision to trust his word after all that he had showed me and in the end, he was right.

Buying used there's always that risk of something that's not going to meet your expectations, but understand that it's not a brand new boat.  Do your homework, ask questions, and make the best decision based off of your findings.

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Thanks for the responses.

I am 90% sure I know what I am looking for.  Now I just need to find it.  I guess if it's still winter when I go to look at one I will need to trust my judgement on buying it without water testing it.

Thanks guys.

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I wouldn't be in a big hurry for two reasons.  One is, a lot of people don't try selling their boats during the winter because they know the market is almost dead, however there are those that are despirate and you can find a good deal.  The second is the way the economy is heading, there's a good chance come next spring, the Boat Traders and everything else is going to have an abundance of great deals.

I think you're going to see a lot of dealers making some very good deals.  You figure people usually buy a good vehicle before they buy a boat and vehicle sales are in a nose dive big time.

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I bought my first boat last winter/ early spring.  After doing the whole craigslist searching for a while, we asked someone at a local boat repair and maintenance place to keep an eye out for us.  About a week later, he called with exactly the type of boat we were looking for.  Also, he had done all of the maintenance since the boat was new, so he knew exactly what we were getting.  If you know anyone who ones a boat, they could probably point you in the right direction to a good person to talk to.  Good luck!

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