Tips for Buying Your First Boat

Bass Boat Care, Performance, and More
The most in-depth collection of tips for buying your first boat you’ll find anywhere! Buy your first boat with confidence using this guide.

Hey, folks. Glenn May here with And I understand you are looking to get your first boat. Well, congratulations. That is absolutely awesome. Just the freedom of being able to go whenever you want to go, wherever you want to go, check out the spots you want to explore on your own time, I mean, the joys of boat ownership are endless. And so, yeah, congratulations on looking to get your first boat.

But between now and when you actually have that boat sitting in your driveway, there's a lot of decisions you have to go through and a lot of things you have to take into consideration. And looking around on YouTube and looking around the articles on the web and stuff, there really aren' can piecemeal some stuff together, but there really isn't anything that's very comprehensive. So this video is different. This video is really going to go into a lot of detail, a lot of information that you need to go through and consider in order for you to find the boat that best matches you.

There's a lot. So get a pen and paper, open up a Word document if you need to, get ready to take notes. Get ready to pause this video every now and then to take those notes, rewind a little bit, even bookmark it so you can come back and reference it later because this is going to be a big brain dump based upon a lot of knowledge that I have and also some knowledge that I've gleaned from some of my colleagues and friends. So all of this is going to be together in this video, so hold on to your seats. Here we go.

The very first thing you need to do is figure out your budget. Now, I know this seems really rudimentary, you know, how much do you want to spend? That's what it sounds like, but that's not the case. What you need to do is figure out really what is reasonable, what is feasible for the boat that you want to get.

You need to do this step first because if you've done your shopping, you look around, and you find the boat that you want to get, now you're attached to it. You're emotionally attached to it. That's what you really want to get. And what you try to do is try to find a way to finance that boat or change your finances around in order to get that boat. And that could lead to some problems down the road. What you really need to do is do these steps first so you understand what your parameters are. So let me get into this, what it means. Most of us need to get a boat loan.

Now, understand that boat loans are a little more risky for banks than most other loans. So the interest rates are going to be a little bit higher, and the terms may be a little more difficult to meet. For that reason, I would stick to shopping around your local and regional banks and even credit unions. The larger banks, they're not as willing to give those loans, in my opinion, and for lack of a better way of saying it, but you may not find as good of a deal with those national banks.

So, shop around. It's tip number one, shop around. Don't just stick to the bank that you're used to doing business with. Look at different local regional banks, and look at different credit unions, and look at the different interest rates that they're offering and the terms.

Now, some of these banks will offer 10, 12-year loans, sometimes longer. I strongly urge you not to do that because if you do, there is a possibility that you can end up upside down on your loan. And what that means is that you owe more on your loan than what the boat is worth.

Given that this is your first boat, by that very nature, that means at some point, you're going to want to get another boat. And if you're upside down on your loan, that's going to inhibit your possibilities in getting your next boat. So the shorter the duration of that loan, the better it is it's going to work out in your favor and you won't end up upside down on that loan.

The next thing you need to do is get yourself pre-qualified, really. Actually, go out there and get pre-qualified for your loan because a couple of things may happen here. First of all, you may find out that you're actually qualified for more than you thought you did, or you may be surprised to learn that you don't qualify for as much as you thought you could.

Nonetheless, if you do this later, and you've already found the boat that you want and you set your heart on it, and guess what, you find out you can't get it because you can't qualify for a loan. Not only is that heartbreaking, but now you've spent a lot of time and effort looking around and you got to start all over again. So this is another reason why you need to start this upfront.

But find out what you qualify for, and then don't set that as your target. Say, for example, you qualify for a $30,000 loan. Well, knock it down about a third. Aim for that $20,000 mark. And if you could find a boat that costs less than that, even better. You don't want to max out on that amount that you qualify for because let's face it, folks, life happens. Things change. And you may be able to afford that loan now, but later on down the road, you might not be able to afford those payments, or maybe something comes along and you need to get another loan, and you might not be able to qualify for that because you're maxed out on this one. So don't target the maximum amount that the bank is willing to loan you. That's not a go-ahead signal for you to go do that. Aim below that amount and keep that number in mind when you're shopping around.

All right, so the next thing you need to do is do your research. There's a lot of stuff that goes into this, but the first step is actually taking honest self-assessment. What kind of bodies of water are you going to be on the most? Are you going to be on large bodies of water where you need to make long runs? Are you going to be fishing more the medium to small-sized lakes and rivers? This is important because the larger bodies of water, they tend to have rougher water, even in a 15-mile-an-hour wind. You need to make those longer runs to get to those destinations, so a larger boat is in order to handle that. Plus larger boats have larger gas tanks so you can get to those places and get back to the launch.

Conversely, if you'll only fishing in medium to small-sized lakes and rivers, you may not need to get a big boat. That's not, you know, necessary for your needs, and you may end up actually overspending getting a boat that's above and beyond what you need to get.

So take a good self-assessment. Understand that, for me, a large body of water, my definition of that is if you need to make a run, wide-open throttle that takes more than 15 to 20 minutes to get to your destination one way, you're fishing a large body of water.

My first boat that I got was a 17-foot aluminum boat, had 11-gallon tank, and there were some large bodies of water that I liked to fish. But first of all, I couldn't reach some of those spots because, you know, you can only go five and a half gallons each way. And then the other one was because it was a smaller boat, if the chop was up, if I had whitecaps out there, that boat wasn't going out in that stuff. So just keep in mind what kind of lakes and bodies of water you're going to be on.

The other thing is do you like to fish or go to smaller ponds, smaller lakes? Some of them have primitive launches. Or, are you going to stick to boat launches and lakes that have well-maintained launches? This is a big difference because if you're going to fish a lot of those primitive launches, then a trailer that has rollers on it is a better choice. You can get in and out of those tight spots.

If you can back a trailer up to it, you can get the boat out off the trailer and you can get it back on with these if it's a roller trailer. If you're going to be fishing a lot of lakes and rivers that have well-established, well-maintained launches, then a trailer that has bunks on it is a better choice, works beautiful for that. So make that self-assessment. Check the boxes. Now, you kind of get an idea of what you're looking for.

The next thing you need to take into consideration is your tow vehicle. I've seen a lot of guys do this. They've got an SUV, maybe a minivan or a van, crossover, and they push the limits of its maximum towing capacity.

A fully loaded fiberglass bass boat loaded with equipment and your tackle and everything can easily exceed 3,500 pounds. If you've got a vehicle that says, "Hey, it can tow 4,000 pounds or 4,500 pounds," I wouldn't do it. Pushing the limits of the maximum towing capacity is not a good idea.

My opinion, my opinion only, I feel that a lot of car manufacturers kind of embellish a bit on what their vehicles can actually tow. I've seen way too many guys push the limits of the towing capacity, even though it's below the amount that the manufacturer says that that vehicle can tow. Within a couple of years, they're having transmission problems. They're having drive train problems. They're complaining about getting up and down hills. Or maybe if they have to go over a mountain pass, you know, the vehicle strains to get up and over it. The gas mileage is terrible.

Not only that, but if you're towing a boat that is pushing the limits, you're going to have some problems controlling the vehicle in a panic stop situation. That boat is going to feel like it's going to want to go through you. It's going to feel like it's pushing you along. And control can be an issue. That boat may take over and decide to make you go wherever you don't want to go. So, just don't push the limits.

I would look at around half to two-thirds of whatever the capacity says and set that as your max. So if it says 4,000 pounds, don't get a boat that weighs more than 2,000, 2,500 pounds, just as a litmus test. Now, if you've got a truck, a pickup truck, fully-sized pickup truck you're towing with, you're typically good with a boat that weighs 3,500, 4,000 pounds. It shouldn't be a problem. But just be wary of that. And that's, again, another parameter.

If your tow vehicle can't tow that much, then that's going to be a limitation on what kind of boat you need to get.

One resource that you want to bookmark is the NADA website. NADA is kind of Kelley Blue Book, but that has boat listings, and they're both new and used. It can help you figure out what's a good price for the boat you're looking for. So I've got it linked down here at the bottom of the video underneath. Bookmark it, and refer to that frequently as you're going through your search.

One of the key considerations that you need to think about is, do you want to buy a new boat, or do you want to buy a used boat? Now, I know new boats are nice, and shiny, and new. They've got the latest and greatest equipment. They have the warranties. You're pretty much guaranteed you're going to have a trouble-free boat. Not every boat is perfect, there's still going to be some issues, but it's going to be in really good shape. That said, this is your first boat.

Remember when you got your first car? Was it a brand new one? Unless you're one of the lucky ones, no, it wasn't. It was a used car. And for very good reasons that are very much parallel to getting a new boat, or a new boat to you, your first boat. And that is, first of all, you get more bang for your buck. You can buy more boat, if you will, with more functions, features, and equipment, maybe a larger boat. You can get one used for less money than you would a brand new boat.

Also, let's face it, one of the things your first car did for you is to teach you some things about car ownership, as well as teach you some things about what you like and don't like in a car. So you need to learn this stuff. You find out, you know, the routine, oil changes and taking it tuned up and that kind of stuff. But pretty soon, you begin to figure out there's other little nuances and things that need to be repaired that you never thought about before, things that need to be looked into, and maintained, and checked every so often that you may not have thought of before.

And also, same thing with getting to learn your car, driving it around, understanding how it feels, how it handles in different conditions, how many passengers does it hold, what about, you know, trunk capacity, things like these. It helps you figure out what you like and don't like so when you buy your next car, you have a much better idea of what you're looking for, the things that you really want to have, the things that you just don't need at all, that sort of stuff. So it's a learning tool.

Well, that's the same thing with getting your first boat. There's just some things that you can do as much research as possible, but actually getting out in the water and using it for a while is really going to help you determine what you like the most, how the layout of the boat is, where the storage is, how much storage you can have of, say, rods or tackle, how well you can see the instrument cluster and things about maintenance that you may not have known about that you'll learn as you go along.

And you can make mistakes, and it won't cost you as much, you know, mechanical mistakes. Or maybe if you hit a stump or a log, it may not cost as much to repair than as it would a brand new boat.

So I would encourage you to look at used boats first as opposed to new if you're a brand new boat owner and you're looking for your first boat. It's just a much better choice. That's how I started and that's what most people do.

One of the things about that is, should you look at dealerships or should you look at private parties? If you go through a dealership, you can rest assured they've probably gone through that boat a bit and taken care of any major issues, making sure it's mechanically sound, and making sure there isn't any problems because the last thing they want is an upset customer. So they may not fix everything that may be wrong with it, but they're going to rest assured that it's going to work pretty well for you and there's not going to be anything major wrong. If you're buying from a private party, you don't have that assurance.

Either way, you need to take it to a qualified marine mechanic and have them give the boat the once over, not only the engine but also the entire boat, as well as the trailer. Make sure everything's working the way it should, and make sure that there's no major issues. That gives you bargaining power. If you really want this boat, now you know what the problems are and that helps you bargain the price.

Also, when you're looking around, whether new or used, don't limit yourself to, you know, your own geographic area. States that have more boats per capita have more competition, and the pricing may be better for you. So, for example, California or the Great Lakes areas, the states around there, there's a lot of boats, and you can find yourself a really good deal if you're willing to travel that far.

Understand there are some legal issues that you need to look into when you're buying cross-state, and we'll get into that in a minute. So there's some considerations let alone the long travel time trying to go check out a boat and tow it back and other things like that. So it's not an easy thing to do, but it might be worthwhile.

If you still have your heart set on getting a new boat, then take a look at some of the dealers around and see if they've got boats that may not be this year's model. They might have a couple of boats that have not sold yet. They may be in the back of the lot, and they're willing to let go at a good price. So it may not be the most current recent thing, maybe a year or two older, but it's still new, still has a warranty and it costs a lot less. So it might be something worth looking into.

All right, the next thing you want to look at is whether or not to get an aluminum versus a fiberglass boat. And there's pros and cons to both. There's no right or wrong, but there may be a better fit for you. So let's go through some of those things you need to think about. First of all, going back to the tow vehicle, if your tow vehicle, you know, its maximum capacity is not that high, you can get a comparable-sized aluminum boat that's about the same size as a fiberglass boat, but it weighs a lot less. So you may be able to tow an aluminum boat that will work just as well. Something to consider.

Aluminum boats are lighter. So by nature, they don't need as big of an engine in the back to propel that boat at the same speed as you would need a fiberglass boat. A smaller engine means better gas mileage. It also means lower insurance rates. So that's a key consideration. It might keep your operational costs lower.

Another thing to consider with aluminum boats is because they're shallower, they can get into areas, real skinny water that fiberglass boats can't. I once fished a tournament that had over 200 boats in it, and I was only one of four aluminum boats in it. And I knew of an area that was super, super skinny water to get into that opened up into a bay once you got through it that was just loaded with bass, and none of the fiberglass boats could get into it.

Some of them tried but they just couldn't do it. And I ended up winning that tournament because I had the right equipment to get to those areas. So there's definitely some advantages to getting an aluminum boat.

Some downsides though is aluminum boats leak. They always leak. It's just the nature of the beast. I've never had or known of any aluminum boats that don't leak. And so, that can be some costly repairs or at the very least a lot of maintenance that you need to keep sealing cracks and leaks and such.

Another thing about it is aluminum boats, because they're lighter, they don't handle as well in rougher water. Now, the newer aluminum boats that are out these days have a little bit better hull in them and they do handle water a little bit better than their predecessors. However, it is still light. A heavier boat like a fiberglass handles better in whitecaps and rough water because it's got that weight and more stability than an aluminum boat.

Also, because boats are lighter, they are more susceptible to be being blown around by the wind. If you're fishing along a shoreline and you got a crosswind, it's going to be a little more difficult to maintain that boat and have boat control, keeping it from blowing into the shoreline, got the t-shirt, been there, done that many times. It can be annoying. So a couple of downsides with that.

Now, with fiberglass boats, obviously, it has some other things that are beneficial. Fiberglass boats tend to be larger. They tend to have larger fuel tanks. They tend to have more storage as a result, so you can fit more things into it. Because they're heavier, again, they handle the water a little bit better.

They are more expensive though. The other thing about fiberglass boats is that it's more costly to repair if you damage the haul. If you hit a rock or a stump, or you beach it up on some rocks or something like that and you need to repair those scratches, it's a bit expensive.

Aluminum boats are more forgiving in that matter. They tend to get a dent in it, and you're good to go. You don't necessarily have to repair it. If you get a scratch in that fiberglass that goes deeper than that gel coat, you have to repair it because now you got water seeping into an area and it could damage the integrity of that hull. So it could be expensive. So there's some downfalls to having a fiberglass boat. You have to have a larger engine. That means more gas and higher insurance bills. And because fiberglass costs more, your insurance is higher as well.

Now you've finally narrowed it down to the kind of boat you want to get. Matter of fact, you may have been on a lot of boats already. You've kind of got in your mind the brand that you want and the type of boat you want to have.

Before you get set on that, just one thing I would urge you to do is keep an open mind. You may end up finding a similar boat that's a different brand, has a different look and feel at a really good price, and you might miss it if you're not looking for it. So just kind of keep it on the parameters, keep it in your visionary to see if you can maybe, you know, look at some of those ones you may not have considered. Maybe you may find yourself a real good bargain.

So now you find some boats you want to look at. Okay. Well, let's go take a look at them. First, take a friend, somebody who's familiar with the kind of boat that you want to get that can help you look for some of the things that you may overlook. That's number one. Then when you go there, there's some things you want to look at. Let's go through this checklist.

First of all, go take a look at the boat and just kind of look down the side of the boat and see if there's any, you know, bulges, any wavering, waves or anything in the haul, or anything that looks maybe a patch or something like that. That may indicate that the hull has some damage. You want to take a look at it. Push in on those spots and see if the side of the boat actually gives or flexes up. It shouldn't. It shouldn't budge at all. So if it's got anything like that, then that should be a red flag. It may be an issue there.

As you're checking around the outside of the hull, if you're looking at a fiberglass boat, check for any kind of spider webbing or any kind of cracks. If it's an aluminum boat, check the welds, see if there's any cracks or anything on them, anything that might need to be repaired. See if there's any rust in any of the bolts or missing bolts, missing rivets, those kind of things. Just give it a good look through visual inspection and make sure that the hull is in good shape.

Get up on the deck and walk around on it. See if it's solid. You know, does it hold up your weight or does it sag? That might indicate something needs to be replaced. Check the hatches, and the latches, and the locks. Make sure they all work and function. One of the key things is make sure that those storage compartments are waterproof. Not all of them are. They may look like they are, but some of them aren't. So if some of them aren't, that may limit your storage options.

You want to check to see if they can hold all your gear. How many rods can it hold? How many tackle boxes can it hold? What about other gear, like life vests, and anchors, and your flare guns, and all this other stuff you need to have with you? Make sure it has enough storage to hold the stuff you want.

Check the quality of the carpet, the upholstery, and just the overall condition of the boat. It is sort of an indication of how well that boat was maintained. If the carpet is worn out and faded and the vinyl is cracked, then maybe that owner didn't take as good care of that boat as he should have, and there might be some other underlying issues, may give reason for you to walk away from this one.

Now, if you or you have a partner that fishes in the back of the boat, check it out. Does it have a good area? Is it big enough to fish from? Does it have storage? Does it have storage area for the rods, for example? Is the seat comfortable? And if you share the front deck a lot when you're fishing, then is it large enough to hold two people? Is it sturdy enough and strong enough to hold two people?

Sit down in the driver's seat. Take a look. Can you see all the gauges? And if not, does it have a tilt steering wheel so you can adjust it so you can see those gauges? Can you see over the dash and, you know, see everything because that's a safety concern. Make sure you can see everything. Is the steering tight? If it's really loose before the engine starts to turn, then something needs to be adjusted there. Maybe something's worn out, needs to be fixed.

Sit in the passenger seat. Check it out. Does it have a console? Because if you're running down the lake at 50-plus miles an hour in the rain, I promise you, it's not a comfortable ride. It really isn't. So, you might want to do a console.

Does it have running operating large livewells? If you're going to fish tournaments, you're going to want that and make sure they operate correctly and that they don't leak.

Also, while you're looking around, check to see that the equipment is original. Some guys, they are looking to get a new boat and they're trying to sell their old one, so they'll either take the equipment off of it and so it doesn't come with the electronics, doesn't come with a trolling motor, you're going to have to buy those yourself, so that's an added cost you need to think about. Or, sometimes they'll take an old motor, an old trolling motor, or older electronics and put them, install them back on that boat, and they'll take the newer ones for their next boat.

So just look at that. See if it's the original equipment, if it's in good operating condition. Does it have newer equipment? Just check into that because that may be some additional costs that you might not be expecting.

Now, you also want to look at the trailer. This is really important. Make sure it's in good condition. Get underneath it. Look at the welds. See if there's any cracking, see if there's any rust. See if there's any issues. Look at the brakes, if it's got it.

If it's a larger boat, 19 foot or larger, you're gonna have a tandem axle. Make sure that it at least has a set of brakes on one axle. Some states require brakes on both axles. So if you're buying a boat from out of state and your state requires both axles to have brakes on it and that state doesn't, you may be in for an added expense to add those brakes.

Just check the springs, make sure they're in good conditions, and the U bolts, and all that stuff are there and working correctly, The lights, of course, you need to make sure they're working correctly.

Check the tires. Now, you want to look at the tires for uneven or odd tire wear, you know, the outsides are really worn out, the insides are worn out, or maybe in the middle, or you've got some uneven tire wear, that may signal a problem with the trailer. The tire depth is not an indication of how good the tires are. You need to look at the DOT number on the tires. It's a four-digit number of when that tire was made. And if that tire is more than four years old, then you might need to replace it pretty soon, depending on how it was stored.

If it was stored outside all the time, then the tire needs to be replaced every four to five years if it's in direct sunlight all the time. If it's not, or if you're living in a climate that's cloudy a lot, doesn't get all that sunlight, you might be able to push that to six or seven years. But look at that date on those tires because that's going to tell you how much time you have left before you need to replace those tires. And in some instances, it's long overdue, and the treads look great. So look at that number.

Also, by the same token, look at the batteries. Batteries have dates on them. And I replace my batteries every four years. Some people stretch a little bit longer. But typically, depending on how hard you fish, they're not going to last much more than five or six years before you need to replace them. So, again, look at the dates on them, you get an idea of what condition they're in.

Regardless, you still need to take the boat into a marine dealership or marine mechanic and have them look at the engine, how many hours are on it, what shape is the engine in, look at the trailer, look at the bearings, see what kind of shape those bearings are in, just give the whole boat a good once over from a professional. It's money well spent and can save you a lot of money and heartache later and avoiding a purchase that you might have made. And plus, they can help you find a great deal too. They may know of somebody selling a boat too, and they can help you find something. So it's really worth the money well spent to take that boat in and have it inspected by a professional.

Now, all that said and done, let's just say this is about, you're finally like, "Hey, man, I like it. I'm thinking about getting it." Take the boat out for a test drive with the owner, or with the dealer, or with a friend, but take the boat out for a test drive. If the owner is unwilling to do this, walk away. I don't care how good a shape that boat looks like. If he has all these reasons, six ways to Sunday why you can't take it out on a test drive, something's up. So, walk away.

But given that he says, "It's okay, let's go do it," pick a day that's not a perfect calm day. Really, the key litmus test in any boat is how well it handles in rough water. So pick a day that's really maybe busy and there's a lot of boats out there, a lot of activity so there's a lot of chop in the water, or just pick a day where the weather isn't all that great, something that gives you an idea of how well the boat handles in rough conditions. That's going to be key.

And by all means, if you don't feel comfortable at any point when you're looking at a boat, don't be afraid to walk away. Sometimes, your instincts will kick in and you don't know why but something doesn't feel right to you, don't push it. Pay attention to those voices inside your head. And if it's something you don't like, walk away from it. Trust me, there's a lot of boats out there and you will find the one that you want. You'll know it when you find it.

All right, so the next thing that I want to talk about are the items that a lot of people don't talk about. These are the things that you just can't find on all these YouTube videos, a lot of these articles. But it's very, very important that you understand what these things are and how they work and that you follow this stuff and do it correctly because you're going to save yourself potentially some major heartache, some major fines, some major expenses, and other issues that could crop up without you realizing it, unless you dig into these things beforehand and be prepared before you buy that boat.

So this is important stuff. It's not exciting. It's not as glamorous as looking at boats, but trust me, this is pivotal to your success. So let's just dive right into it. The first stuff is what I call the legal stuff, the legal papers. This is the title, for example, to the boat. It's important that if you are, say, for example, if you're buying from out of state, that some states have separate titles for the motor and the boat. Or if you live in a state that does require this and you're buying from out of state, if you're buying from a state that doesn't require that, you're going to need to get it registered. You need to get that boat registered. So pay attention to cross-state transactions and what titles are necessary.

Also, make sure you get that title. If you're buying from a third party or a private party and they, for whatever reason, don't have a title, walk away. That is a big flag. That's a big issue. If they are the original owner of that motor or are the owner of that boat, they can get copies. They can get duplicates of that title. No problem.

But if they have all these reasons why they can't get a title, I don't care what the reasons are, if the bottom line is they can't get a title to transfer ownership, that to me says that that boat is stolen. It could be. At the very least, you're going to struggle to try to get the proper title so you can show ownership of the boat.

And a lot of people, what happens is they don't get into this until after they buy the boat. The title is good for a year, some states it's good for two years, and they wait until towards the end when that title is ready to expire before they go to register and change the ownership over in their name. And then they can't get ahold of that owner anymore. They're gone. They're not able to make the transfer of the title or prove that they're the owner or proof of the transaction. And next thing you know, that boat could be impounded, and you're out of boat, and you're out the money you spent on it, and you're done. So make sure upfront, you can get that title.

The other piece of it, what people like to do, and they do this with cars too, is they fudge a little bit on the price of the boat when they sell it. They do this to save a few bucks on taxes.

Don't do that. That title is a federal document. Meaning, if you alter it and you lie on it, that's a federal offense. Federal offenses carry stiff penalties, $10,000 fines, up to 20 years in jail. You know, not that they're necessarily going to do it, but look at how much you save. You're gonna save maybe 30, 40, 50 bucks, maybe up to 100 bucks in taxes. Not that much. It's really not worth the risk. Plus, you get a record and may have trouble finding a job. I mean, there's all kinds of risks associated with it. It's just not worth it. So don't alter the documents, don't be tempted to do that. You're just asking for trouble. I mean, yeah, just don't do it. I don't need to preach any more than that.

One thing also to look into before you get about is look at what the title transfer process is. Sometimes it's on the title itself, and there's a form on there. They fill out and it's done. But other states require a separate form to be filled out and filed. So, understand what you need upfront before you need it, and that way you know the process, and you're prepared.

All right, now the legal document is taken care of. Let's get into the next thing that a lot of people don't talk about, and that is the potential to get scammed. If you're buying from a private party especially, there's potential that you could fall victim to a scam.

A couple of things to look out for, if there's a boat out there that is a real low value, low cost, bargain, great deal, they've got pictures of this boat that looks wonderful, chances are if it looks too good to be true, it is.

They usually, you know, take pictures of boats from somewhere, from maybe a legit listing off Craigslist, conjure up this boat sale at a really low cost, and you end up paying for something that doesn't exist. So pay real close attention to that.

A couple key giveaways, look at their email address. If there's a lot of numbers in the email address, four or more figures, like, you know,, something like that, you know, I can tell you on, our website, when we have scammers, when we have spammers hit our site, those emails look like that. There's a lot of numbers in them. There's people that have numbers in their emails that are totally legit, I'm not saying automatically a bad guy, but it's just something that may raise a flag.

If they don't want to talk on the phone, and they won't give a phone number, that's a red flag. If, for example, they only want to use a certain escrow service or shipping service, and they insist on using that, that's a red flag.

If you need to use an escrow service or shipping service, do your own research, do your own shopping, and use one you pick out, not that the other party does. Again, that is a red flag if they're really insistent on that.

Another key problem is if they don't talk about the title, or they say they don't have a title, or they don't have any care at all about dealing with the title work or anything like that, or they want to do cash-only transactions. Those are red flags you need to look out for. Just walk away from those if you feel uncomfortable.

A couple other key flags to look for. If there are emails back and forth, the grammar isn't very good, or they keep getting your name wrong, or if they keep getting the location or maybe the type of boat or other information wrong and mixed matched, a lot of times these scammers are working multiple scams at the same time and they can't keep their story straight. So if they keep kind of bumbling around and getting things wrong, that's a possibility that you're working with a scammer here. So, you know, really, the best thing to do is be able to meet face to face with somebody.

All right, let's get into one more aspect and I promise you is the last part of the boring stuff, but, again, very, very important, and that is boat insurance. I'm not going to get into a full thing about shopping for boat insurance, that's a whole another video, but a couple of key things you need to look into.

First of all, understand not all boat insurance is the same. And most of the time, boat insurance doesn't cover all the stuff you want it to cover or you think it'll cover.

So a couple of things to pay attention to. Say, for example, if someone breaks in and steals all your rods, and your reels, and your equipment, and your tackle.

That likely is not covered under most boat insurances unless you add that in. Your homeowner's insurance may cover that, or if you have renter's insurance, it'll cover that. Make note of that, folks. If you rent and don't have renter's insurance, get renters insurance.

Another thing you want to look into is consequential damage. This is a clause in boat insurances. Sometimes they have them, sometimes they don't, and sometimes they're limited. What it means is if a part fails and then there's damage that results when that part fails.

For example, let's just say your steering breaks, and now you go up and you beach your boat, maybe you hit a rock pile or something like that. Well, the insurance might cover the broken part. A lot of times they say it has wear and tear or poor maintenance and they won't even cover that. But the consequential damage happened when you lost steering and you hit something. That damage, if it's in your insurance, will sometimes cover the cost of that, but it's funny how they write it up.

Sometimes that's part of the overall package in an incident. And so it's piecemeal together, but the amount of money that's spent on that damage is taken away from other things, for example, like salvage operations, or it only goes up to the value of the boat. And if you damage someone else's property, then you may not have enough coverage.

So check to see what consequential damage says. If there's a fire, maybe you got a gas leak and now you got a fire and the whole boat burns to the waterline, your damage may only cover the part that broke. So look into that before you need it.

Another thing to look into is fuel spill liability. A lot of times what happens is this is in boat coverage, but it only covers up to the cost of the boat. That's a problem because fuel spill cleanup can be very, very costly. And as of this video, federal law, you are liable up to a million dollars in costs for fuel spill cleanup. And so, if your insurance only covers the cost of your boat, man, you're in trouble. So, again, look into this stuff before you get insurance. Make sure you're covered.

Check to see if your insurance covers on the water towing. A lot of them do, but look into it. You know, how easy is it to get ahold of this towing company? Are they readily available? Are they far away from the places you like to fish? Are they available 24/7? That might be a problem. You know, what do they cost? And sometimes, what happens is in insurance, the cost of the towing is also factored into the overall cost of repairs. So they may deduct that from... I'm just gonna make this number up, but let's just say they'll pay for $10,000 worth of repairs. Well, if half of that is dedicated to the towing, then you only have $5,000 left over to pay for the repairs. And if the repairs go more than that, that comes out of your pocket.

So other insurances, sometimes they'll allow you to have that as a separate part of your insurance or add-on and you pay for it independently, and that way it doesn't deduct from your repair costs.

Same thing with salvage. There's salvage clauses and salvage recovery in insurance. It works the same way. Those costs, depending on how they're set up in the insurance, can either deduct from the overall cost of the repairs or they may not even be in there. So you might want to look at it. Or they may just go up to the cost of the boat, and salvage may cost even more than that. So take a look and see what is covered there.

And then finally, you want to look at the trailer and see how the insurance covers the trailer. If you get an accident while you're trailering, sometimes the boat insurance will cover the cost of the trailer. But if the trailer hit another vehicle, then it's likely your auto insurance will cover that. The boat insurance won't cover that. Some boat insurance do. Some of them do cover that.

So, look to see what kind of coverage you have and adjust as necessary what you feel fits best for you. Just know the ins and outs of these things. It's best to learn these things and look into it. Not a whole lot of fun, but it's even worse when you find out later that you don't have the coverage you need.

So now we got through all that stuff and hopefully, you're still watching. Now comes the fun part. If you've finally got your boat, you know what you want, you've got it, you've bought it, it's in your driveway, one of the things I highly encourage you to do is get a friend who has a boat similar to yours and have him take you out on the water and show you some things.

Show you how to operate the boat, show you how to do the whole shot, show you about trimming it and trimming it properly during rough water, show you how to do shallow water takeoffs, how to handle cross wakes and other things about the boat. And, in particular, if they have the similar same kind of boat that you have, they can show you some things about the boat and the trailer that you need to be aware of. And they can also give you some tips and tricks on, say, for example, loading it on the trailer, taking it off the trailer, towing it, and other maintenance things that go into taking care of a boat.

So this is what I did. I happen to be very fortunate that I know some friends that fish professionally. One of them had the same exact boat as this baby right here that I'm sitting on, and I had him take me out in the water for three hours. And it was an education and a half. I learned more during that period of time than I would have learned in three years. I'd learned so much. He taught me so much about handling the boat and running it, especially in rough water that I never would have learned on my own. So it's definitely worthwhile doing and makes your boating experience that much more pleasurable.

Good luck out there. I hope you find what you're looking for, and I hope it's a great boat that works great for you for a long time. For more tips and tricks like this, visit