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advice for new boat owners

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  • advice for new boat owners

    As I'm getting ready to pick up my very first boat I'll be looking for a lot of help and advice.

    I thought I'd start a thread to help out all new boat owners.

    Maybe you can all throw in a little piece of advice, tips, or tricks on buying a new or used boat, maintenance, good places for repair work, etc.

    (if this has been done before, pardon me)

    2010 VAO March Madness Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Dog Days Duel Overall Winner


  • #2
    I'll start out by poating a little article that Dirtman pointed out to me in order to help a newbie thoroughly look over a used boat.

    This was taken from BassBoatCentral

    By: Triton Mike

    My first question is does the motor have a warranty? This can be your piece of mind with the motor. I would take the boat to a independent dealer and have them do the detailed check on the motor for you. It will be the best $$ you'll ever spend and usually they do the inspection for like $60 or so and they can save you a ton of headaches in the future.
    Keep in mind it's tough to find motor mechanics on Sunday! If Sunday is not avoidable some auto mechanics might be able to help you but you should expect to know what are good readings and what are not.
    Things to check....

    1. Compression test
    2. Pull the lower unit oil and look for milky colored oil, i.e. water in lower unit
    3. Spin the prop shaft to be sure it's not bent i.e. uneven wobbly spin
    4. Look at the condition of the prop/skeg (i.e. bent)
    5. Take it for a test drive and run it wide open and check the max rpms rated for the motor, ie you don't want excessive overage in rpms rated for the motor and also know what the min water pressure is for your motor/

    1. Do not pick the boat up in the rain. You can't make a good evaluation on the condition of a boat in the rain. It makes it very hard to find the gouges/stress cracks, flaws etc.

    2. Start from one end of the boat and work your way around it in. Rub your hands and scan with your eyes all along the side of the boat looking for scratches, stress cracks, etc. especially around the console and splashwell area.

    3. Look at the keel very closely especially around the U bolt where you hook it up with the winch and make sure the U bolt is attached firmly.

    4. Get on your back and look under the actual hull between the tires and the trailer tongue of the boat between the bunkers. If you hit something with a boat it is going to hit toward the back of the boat ie the Pad area. Be looking for fiberglass exposure ie matting, major gouges etc.

    5. Get on your back right under the motor and look at the very back of the pad. Another popular place to hit an object. If the hull shows very little scratches and use chances are pretty good you got a GREAT boat!

    6. Take a look at the bilge area and notice if there is any water in there. If so drain the water take the boat for a test drive and recheck the bilge (ie boat leaks). Any water in the bilge after a short short ride can mean a very noticeable leak on a longer trip!

    7. Make sure all of the electronics work i.e. bilge pumps, battery charger, fish finders, rpm gauge, water pressure gauge, lights.

    8. Look for anything obvious in all the storage compartments.

    1. Immediately after meeting I like to feel the hubs of the wheels to make sure they aren't hot but should be warm to cool to touch.

    2. Be looking for rust issues especially if the guy you are buying from lives near saltwater. I would again get on my back and look at the trailer from an underside view.

    3. Check the trailer over thoroughly after you have launched the boat. Ie cracked running boards, check the channel supports as some of them can be damaged while trailering the boat ie hitting concrete etc.

    I can't stress enough of having a boat motor mechanic check over the motor for you. They can tell you a lot more than what meets the eye.

    - TritonMike
    2010 VAO March Madness Overall Winner
    2010 VAO Dog Days Duel Overall Winner



    • #3
      If the engine has a ECM then pay the money to have a shop do a history down load on the info that is stored. It will tell you how many times the engine has had a over heat alam, water in fuel, how many times it hit the rev liliter, how many hours its been run at WOT verses idle time etc. Inspect the bolts on the lower unit. If the lower units has never been touched then the paint on the bolts will be undisturbed. If the paint is disturbed or no paint at all then the lower unit has been droped or replaced at some point. For the tilt and trim you need to trim up and down in a short abrupt sequence looking for excessive movment / slop in all the retaining bolts and pins as well as the engine motor mounts. You should be able to stand on the lower unit, rock up and down and the only movement you should notice is the whole trailer moving; not the motor, jack plate, trim and tilt, steering bushings, or in transome flex. Also check with the dealer / manufacture on any warranty work that was done to the engine or boat and if the are any recalls that are outstanding that have not been performed.
      2010 VAO Polar Bear Overall Winner
      2010 VAO Polar Bear Big Striper



      • #4
        If at all possible, buy gas without ethanol. If you have to buy gas with ethanol, use the marine formula Sta-bil gas treatment.


        • #5
          it seems simple but most people wont do it, but read your manual, and learn the basics of engine care, both your big engine and trolling motor, make sure you have fuses for the big engine, nothing worse than getting towed in over a 50 cent fuse, do you have a spare prop? might be a good idea, and dont forget one for the trolling motor, Its also a good idea to by a different prop than the one that is on you motor already, ie if you fish the river at all buy the hydrilla hacker, or a power prop if you fish anna. and dont forget to keep a spare pin and nut for the troller. and it never hurts to have a spare key to the boat on your car key ring.
          mike c

          "They call Mike the tin man, not because he has an aluminum boat but because he has no heart..." ~ Squire


          • #6
            Check the transom. With the boat on the trailer, and the motor trimmed up, push down on skeg and look for any flexing of the transom. If there is any flexing at all walk away.


            • #7
              Don't buy something you might think will please someone else, your going to use it so buy it to fit your needs you be alot happier.


              • #8
                .....he bought it a year and half ago and is now trading it in for a 40 oz....hahaha
                2013 Frog Only Tournament Winner
                2010 Tie for VA-Outdoors Angler of the Year
                2009 Caroline County Rotary Club Tournament Winner
                2007 Tuesday Night Classic Champions
                "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."