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i am a prospective buyer of a boat that will be used mainly on lake saint clair. i am looking for a cruising boat between 20 and 25 feet. what are the key questions to ask the seller when shopping for a boat? what are the signs of poor maintenance or neglect? what are signs of good maintenance? are there any other tips i need to know before shopping? thanks.
 

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I am looking for a cruising boat between 20 and 25 feet. what are the key questions to ask the seller when shopping for a boat?
How much beer does it hold? How many chicks can I take along?

what are the signs of poor maintenance or neglect?

Dirty beer fridge or cooler.

what are signs of good maintenance?

Nice big beer fridge, lots of nice seats around the driver for chicks.

are there any other tips i need to know before shopping?

Good gas mileage = more money for beer.
 

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First of all, get the boat surveyed.
(see the post: Chris Craft 28 Catalina)
Look at the engine compartment, if it's clean and looks in order you might think it was taken care of.
Check the fiberglass for cracks and or bubbles.
Check the lights, blowers, bilge pump.
Check the cabin and bilge for signs of mold or mildew.
Take the boat for a ride: Check the oil press.. How does it run? Does it tend to pull to one side more then the other? Check the trim tabs & tilt cylinders if boat has them.
Check the engine oil, is it clean? Does it smell like gas?
Is it thick or mixed with water?
What's the over all condition of the boat, does it look like it's been taken care of.
Ask the owner if it's ever been beached or hit anything (sandbar, etc...)
Ask to see maintenance and repair records.

This is just some of the guidelines I went by when I bought my boat 5 years ago.
Others might have suggestions I didn't think of.

Good Luck,
Ggg
 

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When you find something you might buy the next thing to do is get a survey. It may seem like money wasted if you don't buy the boat but it is worth every penny. If you present it the right way you might even get the seller to pay for it.

Check out this thread
 

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Get a survey on any boat you make an offer on. Make the offer contingent upon a satisfactory survey. Look at all the things mentioned above to see if the boat is worth a survey.

In addition, look at the boat when it's out of the water. Run your hands over the fiberglass. It should feel smooth, not pitted or rough. Feel the chines and the mid-line. If the boat's been beached, you'll feel it on the mid-line. Check for holes in the fiberglass, especially below the water line (this could indicate water intrusion). Use your knuckles to knock on the hull. Listen for sounds that sound dense or "wet" (they could mean nothing, but it's something to ask the surveyor).

If the interior has snap-in carpeting, peel it away. Look at the floor for spider cracks and deficits. Feel for sponginess in the floor. Check the cockpit and cabin for bulkheads that don't line up, gaps in the walls and ceiling. Look at the upholstery--is it in good condition? Can you live with the colors? Watch as someone walks on the bow. Does the bow flex under their weight?

Use your nose to smell for gasoline odors, especially in the area the gas tank is located. Some older boats have issues with cracked or rusted gas tanks.

Check the trailer if it has one. Are the tires good? Are they trailer tires and not car tires? Any repainted spots (covering rust)?

Ask the seller why he/she's selling. Have they been boating long? Who did the routine maintenance and repairs? Are there any receipts?

These are things we looked at and for in purchasing our last boat. Good luck!

~Christine
 

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QUOTE(hammer @ Jul 14 2003, 08:42 PM)I am looking for a cruising boat between 20 and 25 feet. what are the key questions to ask the seller when shopping for a boat?
How much beer does it hold? How many chicks can I take along?

what are the signs of poor maintenance or neglect?

Dirty beer fridge or cooler.

what are signs of good maintenance?

Nice big beer fridge, lots of nice seats around the driver for chicks.

are there any other tips i need to know before shopping?

Good gas mileage = more money for beer.




sounds like your boat !!!!
 

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Very well said freckles and DNR. You might also pay attention to the bolts holding the motor mounts to the stringers. If they are loose, in at an angle, or seem strange in anther way, it could be a sign of rotted out stringers. (esp. Wellcraft) Look in the bilge area for a water line above a normal height. It could be a sign of past problems. Also, look under the manifolds for hairline cracks, especially if there are not original manifolds. When a boat freezes, that is the first part of the block to show. As everybody else has said, get a survey and ask for maintence records. A good survey will include moisture readings for several different areas. I have found that a poorly maintained boat will have things like the owner will put electrical tape on the anchoring light to hold it in place instead of replacing it with a new one, or loose screws/bolts holding the helm seats in place.
 

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It took me 6-8 months of shopping to find our boat-had 2 boats surveyed & bought one. I'm really glad I didn't buy the 1st one it would have been a real money pit. The one I didn't buy was a 1984 Chris. I wound up buying a 1979. The 79 was in real good shape
Jerry
 

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loosen the drain on the outdrive see if you get good fluid or water. look at the boots going from transom to the outdrive do they have any dry rot . look at side of the engine block and manifolds inspect them for cracks-sign it wasnt winterized. GET A SURVEY!!!!!!!!!!! trust me I got screwed pretty good on my 1st boat
 
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