Jump to content

Going to look at used Boats, what to really look for


Go to solution Solved by airshot,

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone, after 15 years of fishing out of a 12' Jon Boat that we carry in the bed of a truck, Dad and I have decided to upgrade to something a little larger. We're looking at used aluminum boats in the 16-18' range and are going to look at a couple older Trackers, a Lowe, and possibly a Spectrum. Everything we're looking at is late 90s or early 2000s and I'm curious what specific things I should be looking for when we go to look them over? I'm familiar with checking over the batteries and other equipment, but just don't have any experience with checking over the the actual boats themselves. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Solution

From the names you mentioned, I assume you looking at aluminum boats...good choice in my opinion !! Aluminum boats have very little wood in there structure, mostly in the transom and newer boats have all aluminum transoms.  Most have some type of acess to that transom wood, might not be easy to reach or see, but you need to know that wood is solid or you will need to replace it.  If it needs replaced, not a big deal if your handy.  Far easier than a glass boat !!

The decking, carpet etc are easily replaced if needed but be sure your offer reflects that extra work if not already in the asking price.  Crawl around under the boat and look for damaged rivets, or cracks if a welded hull.  A couple bad rivets is no big deal, nunerous cracks can spell trouble !!  Stand back and look at the bottom and see if the cross ribs are standing proud of the hull, if the ribs are pronounced from the hull where it rides in the water, then the hull was abused and pounded in rough water...walk away.

Look carefully for corrosion near seams, corners especially on the inside in the dark corners.  Big corrosion can be a problem, small amounts are fixable.  Look for loose fittings and hardware...if those are loose then the owner did not care for the boat so what else is hiding ??  Last summer I bought a 16' Sylvan side console, looked for over three months, found one in pristine condition other than some worn and threadbare carpet.  Had to drive 200 mikes ea way, had cash in hand in case it turned out as good as owner said.  Two others were waiting when I got there but owner knew how far I drove and made the others go wait in their car while I looked it over. 

There are nice boats out there...look at everyone you can, even bad ones, soon you will get a feel for knowing when the right one comes along.  16-18 is a popular size, lots of boats out there, lots of bad and a few good, look closely, one will come along, but don't be afraid to travel and look.  Good luck and keep us posted !!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

I would not even consider a boat with wood components anymore, especially one with a wood transom. Wood rots. There’s a reason modern boats aren’t built with wood.

 

The most important item on a used boat for me would be the outboard. I would make the seller run it and see how that goes. If you have time and will power, have a mechanic look at it before purchase.

 

The trailer is worth looking at before driving off. You aren’t even getting to the lake if the trailer doesn’t make it there.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you were closer I'd just sell you my RT188 and you'd be set.  I've been looking try a glass boat.  +1 on what everyone has said.  Avoid anything that contains wood.  If you have a trusted mechanic tell the seller you want to take it to have it looked over.  That could be a lifesaver. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 In addition to the other suggestions, test drive the boat, with or without the seller. When I bought my aluminum boat (used), the seller met me at the ramp. He told me to take it out by myself, but I asked him to come along.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Global Moderator

You can sail across the ocean in a wooden boat and everyone’s house is made of wood.  To see if transom is rotten, grab the foot of the motor and shake it while watching the transom. If there’s a lot of give , might need replacing 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone for all of this information! This is exactly what I was looking for. We're getting ready to go meet a guy at the ramp to look over a 2008 Bass Tracker this evening. Hopefully everything checks out and now I have a better idea of what to look over. We took a look at an older tracker this morning but the motor needed work and deck was in pretty poor shape. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Motor work can get expensive quickly !!  If an aluminum boat, deck replacement is very doable if you have the time and tools.  Gotta decide if you want a boat to repair or pay more and get one ready to go !

The more you look, the better educated you will become.....keep us posted. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, airshot said:

Motor work can get expensive quickly !!  If an aluminum boat, deck replacement is very doable if you have the time and tools.  Gotta decide if you want a boat to repair or pay more and get one ready to go !

The more you look, the better educated you will become.....keep us posted. 

I agree 100%. One has to decide on how much work, if any, you're willing to do. If the deal is right and everything else checks out, I wouldn't let replacing the deck or flooring on an older Tracker scare me off. They are pretty easy to replace. That said, I get it you're wanting to get on the water now. Gotta do what's right for you. To each his own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a satisfied tracker owner (on my second one) check the wooden decking for deterioration.  If stored properly it will last for a long time (my 1987 didn't need decking replacement until it was 27 years old). If that concerns you I would steer away from Tracker and go with a brand that has no wood. Have the motor thoroughly checked out, repairs get expensive fast. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of good advice here. Look the boat over closely, and ask lots of questions of the seller.

 

My Dad always said, "when you are buying used, you are buying someone else's headache."

 

Take your time. Fall is a good time to buy a boat...people looking to unload before they have to pay for winterizing and storage.  Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for all of the great information. 

Update: we were soo close to buying an 08 tracker the day after I made this post. We went to look it over, really liked what we were seeing, but dad really wanted to go look at one more before making a decision. Of course the boat sold the next day while we were going to look over another boat which we didn't like nearly as much. Now we're in a bit of a disagreement on what exactly we want so I may end up going solo and buying what I want alone, but probably not until spring. We're keeping an eye on the market and if the right boat comes along, hopefully we can agree and pull the trigger in time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that in spring, everyone gets boating/ fishing fever and prices go up !!  You might try posting a " wanted to buy" ad and see what happens.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



  • Outboard Engine

    Outboard Engine

    fishing forum

    fishing forum

    fishing tackle

    fishing

    fishing

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.