Buying a boat is one of those financial decisions which rival purchasing a house or a car. Since you are making an investment into something that you will probably want to last you for a while, you want to be sure that the boat you purchase is of good quality before you lay down the cash for it.
Checking out a boat is not as easy as giving it a run around the lake. Taking ten minutes to test drive a boat is not where you want to stop your boat inspection. To ensure that the boat you are buying is of good quality, you should treat the purchase as an important deal, and not just as fun and whimsy. Checking the boat out thoroughly before the purchase can mean the difference between happy boating and just sitting on the docks watching others have all the fun.
You should be aware that the differences between bad boats and good boats have nothing to do with their appearance. A boat which looks sleek and shiny could just as easily break and sputter, leaving you stranded in the middle of the water. Only by giving a boat a thorough hands-on inspection can a top of the line boat be separated from a bottom of the barrel boat.
You should first check the construction quality of your potential purchase by opening all access doors and plates to inspect the quality behind them. Another way to look into the construction quality of a boat is to look into its anchor locker. This allows you to see if there is any light leaking in through and around the deck joint. This is a sure sign of shoddy construction, and you should politely exit the boat and walk away from the purchase.
Before you test the boat out on the water, be sure to check the fuel level. Some dealers will leave the tank almost empty so it will seem to have more power. Also take into account the amount of gear that is presently on board, as well as how many passengers are present. All of these are factors in how well a boat performs.
Try driving the boat as you would if you had already purchased it. See how well it cuts across through waves at different angles to get an idea of how it handles. If you are planning to test a boat for salt water use, it is a good idea to see how well water drains from the boat. The water should drain rather quickly out the scuppers. If the water should happen to pool up in the bow, it will drain slowly and can be a particularly dangerous situation should the boat ever see rough water. If the dealer doesn’t want to allow you the chance to properly inspect the boat, walk away!