Tips on Buying a Used Boat for Beginners


Buying a boat can be such an exciting time. It’s always a good rule to work directly with a professional boat dealer or manufacturer. However, some boat buyers may instead choose to buy a used boat to save some money over the cost of a new boat.

Having said that, thousands of boats change ownership each year, typically without incident. So, here are some pointers to help you get a reasonable price for a used boat in Singapore.

1. Purchasing a Used Boat

A private party can post a boat for sale in various ways, from boat-specific websites to the bulletin board at your local bait store. When you identify a yacht that intrigues you, attempt to arrange a phone contact rather than an email exchange, which a fraudster may readily exploit. Don’t purchase a boat without first seeing it—even if it’s across the country, have someone you trust inspect it in person.

To pre-qualify your vendor, ask some fundamental questions like:

  • Location of the boat.
  • If it is ready to be immersed in water.
  • Are service records and the title available?
  • Why are they selling this boat?

Set up an in-person viewing if you have confidence in the seller and still like the boat.

2. Inspecting the Boat Before Purchasing

The second stage is to investigate the boat, and the complexity of the boat determines the difficulty of this phase; reviewing an aluminum fishing boat with a tiller-steer outboard is much simpler than studying a 30-foot, multi-engine center console boat. And, the bigger and more expensive the boat, the more is at stake.

For smaller boats stored on a trailer, seeing the boat at the seller’s house or business offers certain advantages. For example, if the seller’s garage is clean and tidy, the boat has probably been well-maintained. On the other hand, if the place is in disarray, this might be a bad indicator.

3. Carrying out a Sea Trial

Any boat should be sea-tested. Meet at the launch ramp for smaller boats so you may inspect the trailer.

Allow the seller to show you any features of the boat, and then go for a ride that is long enough to warm up the engine. This way, you can also check that all systems are working, such as:

  • the engine sounds smooth and starts easily
  • the trim functions
  • the electronics, lights, instruments, and audio system
  • the pumps for the live wells and bait wells.

5. Verify Titles and Liens

Check the title to ensure that it is legitimate, that there are no liens on it, and that the HIN (Hull Identification Number) on the title corresponds to the HIN on the boat. The HIN is located on the upper half of the transom’s starboard (left) side. In certain states, the trailer may have its own title.

If a title is not necessary, request a bill of sale from when the current owner acquired the yacht as confirmation that they are the real owner.

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