BoatUS: Pre-purchase Surveys Are Necessary to Avoid Buying Damaged Boats

Boat parked in a river houseBuyers need to be careful when looking for secondhand boats, as the recent spate of hurricanes in the U.S. will make it more difficult to buy vessels in 2018, according to the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).

The cost of buying a new boat is high, which is why most people prefer buying used models and spend the money they saved on equipment and accessories, such as custom-fit boat covers.

Boat Survey

BoatUS said that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma damaged or destroyed more than 63,000 vessels. Many of these have been repaired and have already hit the market. Buyers need to conduct a Condition and Value survey to avoid buying a storm-damaged boat with poor restoration work. Otherwise, called a pre-purchase survey, it provides transparency for the series of repairs and helps you negotiate a better price.

Charles Fort, BoatUS consumer affairs director, said that the survey should not discourage buyers from avoiding used boats damaged by the recent hurricanes. Instead, it should provide you with complete details on the type of repairs. If you plan to buy a secondhand in the Florida Keys, the U.S. Coast Guard said Irma destroyed or damaged 1,500 vessels as of early December. This accounts for almost 75% of all “displaced” boats.

Keen Inspection

Other than a pre-purchase survey, there are other ways to spot a storm-damaged vessel. Boats normally hit the dock during a storm, so check if the seller has sealed or repaired the hull-to-deck joints. Fresh paint may indicate interior damage or rust on the exterior.

If you are unsure how to inspect a boat, you can ask the seller about the recent repairs or bring an expert with your during the inspection. Any signs of unwillingness to share information should already be a reason to look for another boat or seller.

A pre-owned boat saves you money, but be thorough when inspecting vessels to avoid spending a lot on maintenance and repairs.

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