Used boat, 10 tips (plus one) to buy it


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an old Sanlorenzo flybridge
An old Sanlorenzo flybridge.

Buying a used boat is convenient in many ways. It costs less than the new one. It has often solved defects that were present on the new model that just left the shipyard, especially if it was one of the first examples of production. It’s immediately available and you don’t have to expect it to be built. But be careful, because a used boat has been… used. So how do you limit the risk of getting trick? We will give you a vademecum, if you have not already read our other article on second hand boats, to conclude the deal with mutual satisfaction and start sailing with your new used boat.

The decalogue, expanded, to buy the used boat

1 The budget

Set a budget by considering a good margin for repairs to be made or equipment to be replaced. Before signing the contract you need to know in detail the economic extent of the works with a quote from a site of your choice. Detail to the seller the costs of restoring the boat to its new condition. A part must be deducted from the valuation.

2 Be safe

Prefer a smaller and well-maintained boat to a larger but poorly maintained one. Beyond the costs, always keep in mind the safety factor of navigation, to be sure in all weather conditions.

used boat
On a used boat, check the condition carefully.

3 Resaleability

Carefully evaluate the degree of resaleability. Between a prototype (one-piece construction) and a standard hull, the latter retains a higher value over time and greater market demand. All this unless you think that it is a purchase of many years.

used boat
A professional used boat.

4 The technician

Let a technician assist you. The cost of an expert’s report is amply compensated by the discount that can be obtained in the negotiation. The inconveniences go unnoticed by an inexperienced eye.

5 Never at first love

Never stop at the first offer, you should visit as many boats as possible. This is the only way you will be able to see the strengths and weaknesses of that model or type of boat and understand exactly what the real market value is at that time. A good broker can speed you up in this search.

used boat
A used boat is not necessarily misplaced.

6 Sea and dry

Carry out both the sea test and the analysis of the dry hull. Both operations are essential and the first never excludes the other. Defined in advance who is responsible for the costs of towing and launching. Normally they are borne by the buyer if the boat is in order, vice versa fall on the seller.

boat used
Check the boat used in dry conditions.

7 Accessories

Check the accessories on board carefully. Although they are always undervalued, extras such as dinghy, outboard, electronics, ropes, etc. have a cost that is not insignificant. In addition to checking their efficiency, it is advisable to draw up a list to make sure that all those present in the visit on board will be delivered.

used boat
On a used boat also check the status of the accessories, without being distracted by the general appearance.

8 Everything clear before

Check the documents and clauses of the contract, check when the renewal of safety equipment expires, have the written report of the expert. Particular attention is also paid to the clauses of the contract which must relieve the buyer of any charges, mortgages that may be imposed on the boat. In practice, resolve any dispute before making the purchase.

9 The history of the boat

Investigate in the strict sense of the word the history of the boat. For boats stationed in ports far from their own, you should take information about any failures and the use that has been made of them. Give preference to boats that have only one or two owners. If the boat has been used for bareboat charter, it has suffered greater wear and tear, but if it was in the hands of a professional sailor or crew, that’s a good thing. Always keep in mind that if the boat has been on sale for a long time there may be something wrong. Suspected.

Used boat
Knowing the history of the used boat is useful.

10 The right price

It’s worth remembering, in the used boat market the business of the century is a mirage. Most of the time behind an attractive price are hidden problems whose solution is so expensive as to frustrate the convenience that there is with a healthy boat. The real deal is to be content with paying the right price, the one that suits you.

10+1 Pay attention to the equipment on board

When purchasing a new or used boat, flying the Italian flag, it is necessary to check the state of the safety equipment.
It is mandatory for boats flying the Italian flag, boats or registered, the renewal of the control after eight years from the first registration and then after every five years.
The periodic inspection must be carried out by a qualified technician of RINa, who has experts located along all the Italian coasts (see on the website for the telephone numbers of the local offices) or by one of the private bodies qualified, who have equally experts throughout the Italian territory (for the experts of Istituto di certificazione Giordano, tel. 0541 343030 ; l’istituto ANCCP Certification Agency, DNV-Modulo Uno, toll-free number 800884477 for, UDICER/NAUTITEST, telephone 041 516.1880). The cost of a visit ranges from 100 to 300 euros and varies depending on the size of the boat and the distance and duration of the trip.

boat used with cart
A used boat very well maintained.



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