Are Cheap Boats Worth It?

March 29th, 2019 by

If you live where you don’t see much of a summer, when it finally comes, you want to make the most of it. If you are a boating enthusiast, you may only have a few weeks to enjoy perfect weather.

If this is the case, you may be in the market to buy a boat. Picturing yourself gliding along the water, fishing, waterskiing, or just a day trip to the island, can make your summer so much better.

Looking at new boats can be a bit daunting unless you have unlimited disposable income. The good news is, you can find a cheap boat almost anywhere. However, you have to ask yourself – are they worth it?

In a word, yes.

You don’t need to go broke to own a boat when a cheap, used boat will do just fine.


Used Boat vs New Boat

Maybe you went to the boat show and got your head turned by a big shiny new boat. All the bells and whistles, it goes fast and looks good doing it. Yes, it might be beautiful, but it could also be a lot of problems.

Just like a new car, as soon as you take that boat off the lot, it will go down in price. With a used boat, this isn’t the case. Someone else will have already taken the depreciation hit.

The financial burden of a new boat can also be overwhelming. If something goes wrong, you are on the hook for those costs. With a cheap boat, most repairs are pretty affordable, even do-it-yourself.

You have done your research, so you know ahead of time what to look for and what to avoid.

Boaters tend to switch or upgrade their boats about every four or five years. If this is something you plan to do, you may not even be able to get the full value of your existing boat when you opt to sell. When you choose a cheap boat, to begin with, this isn’t an issue.

With a cheap boat, the dents and scratches have already been put on there, so you can just get on with the fun. The beauty is on the inside. The used boat may need some work, but it’s already got a great base.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying cheap boats.


Pick a Boat

Decide on what kind of boat you want. The type of boat you choose will depend on how you plan to use it. For example, you won’t choose the same boat to spend time with family and friends and fishing.

Think about the size you want, as well. Buying something because it’s the biggest may not be the most practical choice if you have to pay to store it and are not able to maneuver it.


Read Reviews

Once you have made up your mind, find some online reviews about the boat. There are plenty of forums available where people are all too happy to express their opinion about specific types of boats.

This will give you a good idea of your choice, and you can find out what works and what doesn’t. You can always ask your fellow boat friends or make the rounds at boat shows, or any other place boaters convene and ask as many questions as necessary to help make your decision.

People love to talk about their hobby and their passion, so seek them out for advice; they will be happy to help.


Set Your Budget

If you have some money set aside for your boat, then stick to that budget. If you need to finance it, make sure you are realistic. Plan your budget around the research you did for cheap boats, and stay within that limit.

If the boat has multiple outboard motors, remember two engines are twice as much maintenance and gas but double the reliability.

Don’t just jump on the first boat you find, but also don’t be discouraged and pass up a good deal because you are worried about the price. You did your homework; you know the value, stick to your budget.


Take an Expert

You can take a friend or someone in the family that knows a lot about boats, or you can get a surveyor to go with you. They will know the hidden problems with a cheap boat, but also the hidden value.

Bringing someone well versed in boats can tell if the boat has been taken care of. Things to look at would be how clean the boat upholstery is. You should also ask for their boat maintenance checklist or maintenance records to make sure you’re not walking into any surprises

They understand the market value of the boat and whether the asking price is fair or not. If you are completely green, you may want to hire a surveyor to come with you.

If it’s a big boat with a lot of potential problems, it may cost you quite a bit more than you had budgeted for, but if it’s a smaller boat, it will be well worth the price for the expert information.

This can be used for insurance purposes, figuring out any potential costs of repair and rebuilding that may be done and a good idea of the resale value of the boat in question.


Try it on

If you are viewing the boat on the water, take it for a test drive. This way, you can see first hand if the boat is in as great of shape as the seller claims. If it’s parked in their backyard, you should still ask if you can get in, pull and push a few knobs and turn it on.

You will get a better idea of the condition of the boat by going inside and getting a feel for the kind of treatment it’s had. You can also ask if you can take it in to see an expert, just for a once over, to get another opinion.


Make an Offer

When you have decided that this is the boat for you, give it one last look over. Make sure nothing has been altered since your first viewing. Some owners may take off certain pieces of the boats. This can be to put on their new one or to sell separately.

This could be accessories like fishing gear, handles, safety equipment, spare parts, first aid, or anything else that is easy to detach.

Once you feel you have done all you can to make sure the boat is suitable for you and within your price range, make the offer.


Sign on the Line

Get all the necessary paperwork in order, which includes insurance, title and ownership, warranty, any past repair receipts, and anything else that may be needed. Then, take your new boat home and do what you need to make it yours and enjoy your new pride and joy.


The Beauty of Cheap Boats

If you are serious about boating and are even a bit of a DIY type, you want to find a cheap boat. The cheap, used boat is a treasure in disguise. Here’s why.

  • It fits your budget. If you don’t have $10,000 to spend on a boat, then you certainly don’t have $100,000.
  • The owner may have trouble unloading it and just wants it gone. You can pick it up for a fraction of its value or their asking price.
  • If the owner wants to be rid of it, they may settle for a lot less money. You can bargain with them, make an offer, and stick to it. If they refuse, say you will pay their asking price if they bring the boat back to peak condition first.
  • They are often great pieces, with a good solid frame and well-built structure with quality materials.
  • A cheap boat can be rebuilt into your very own dreamboat.
  • Older cheap boats were a grand boat at one time and can be again, with the proper care and work.

Often, cheap boats are sold or traded in after only a few years. This can mean they have had very little wear and tear and maybe in excellent shape. The reasons for selling a boat can be varied, so never assume it’s only because the boat has something wrong with it.

There are plenty of reasons to sell a boat, and it is to your advantage to check out the used boat market for the best deals. It might be too big; there may be financial issues at play, or an illness that prevents the owner from continuing to use the boat.

You may not get an honest answer, but you can ask.


If you Built it

Rebuilding a cheap boat can be extremely rewarding. You have the opportunity to make it into whatever you want. You can restore a beautiful vintage boat into an absolute masterpiece, for a lot less than you could buy a new one.

Taking a cheap boat and restoring her to her natural glory can be extremely rewarding. It can be a project you work on with a family member or friend; you can look into buying a cheap boat with a few other boat enthusiasts and share the cost and use of the boat.

Owning a boat, for any reason, is a great joy and gives you a wonderful sense of freedom and adventure. It’s a time to spend with family and friends making great memories and living life to the fullest.

If you need any information, we are here to answer any of your questions.

Happy Boating!