Sunday, December 18, 2016
The Craigslist boat
If I'm in snow country and cruise warm southern waters, the next best thing is cruising Craigslist for another boat.
There are people out there who warn potential boat buyers to never purchase a boat off of Craigslist. Only deal with reputable brokers and dealers. (as if that's a thing)
Just assume that everyone who's trying to sell a boat is lying. If you want to be kind you can assume that the boat seller is lying to himself too. He may be remembering the boat the way it was, not the way it is.
There are those who recommend paying a boat surveyor to inspect the boat. That's not a bad idea, in principle. If I was buying an expensive boat that's what I'd do. The surveyor fees are a small fraction of the investment. Be aware that not every surveyor is completely honest. They often have close ties to brokers and have incentive to give higher marks to some boats than they deserve.
However, if buying a smaller boat those professional fees are a significant expense. If you are mechanically inclined you can do your own inspection. There are good books on the subject and lots of information on the Internet. Having owned a couple sailboats I have some idea what to look for.
People tend to focus on the pretty stuff like wood trim and shiny stainless steel. What you really should focus on is things like hull integrity, sea cocks, rigging, sails, engine condition and all that other boring stuff. My wife got really excited when we bought our last boat because all the rigging was new and the chain plates had been rebedded. Not the sort of thing that would excite most wives, but she's special.
Always budget in for unexpected expenses. There's always something that will pop up after the boat is purchased. You might find yourself replacing something, not because it's broken, but because it's outdated. Electronics are a big item that gets outdated fast. That, and you find what was once a $10,000 item can now be replaced with a better $300 item.
There are some great deals out there, but as always, buyer beware.