Buying a Boat or Yacht
by David Pascoe
What You Should Know about Buying a Boat, to Keep the Pleasure in Pleasure Boating
If you are a longtime boat owner, you know that owning a boat is a costly affair.
Making decisions that keep not only the cost of your initial purchase, but also the long-term cost of ownership, well within you financial means is one of the critical factors of keeping the pleasure in boating.
Its very hard to enjoy your boat when it becomes an unexpected drain on your financial resources.
If you're buying your first boat, or are making a considerable step up in size, the following are some important points that should be carefully considered to help you achieve maximum enjoyment from your purchase. Entire Article
Updated for Y2K
I've changed the name to Top Twenty because I'm no longer including the sailboat information as we have limited ourselves to powerboat surveys only. Entire Article
1996 - 2000 Models
It's not all bad news out there. Here are a few across-the-board, or at least more common improvements made by the industry in recent years that we have detected. Entire Article
The Space Shuttle Goes to Sea
Do you see anything wrong with the design of the boat pictured below? In reality, it is a personal injury lawyer's dream.
Can you see why? If not, don't feel bad because the design faults of this boat are the sort of thing that only experienced boaters are usually able to discern.
Unfortunately, boating novices usually aren't aware of the dangers that a boat designed like an automobile or a space ship can present to themselves and their passengers.
This is a perfect example of what I call an entry level boat because the designers prey on the potential buyer's ignorance, whereas more experienced owners begin to understand why boats should have flat, not round decks. Entire Article
The Pros and Cons of Space Age Materials in Boat Building. What it Means for the Consumer.
The boat building industry has entered an unprecedented period of experimentation of new materials for use in the fabrication of what were once called fiberglass hulls.
Those of us who have been around the boat building scene for a while have seen a lot of new ideas and materials come and go over the years.
Some have met with success, but many have met with failure, or one way or another have proved unsuitable for building production-line boats. Read Entire Article.
Are There Bogymen in Your Basement?
During the last several months we've encountered numerous boats that have concealed compartments within the hull.
We've long advanced the argument that builders should make as much of the interior of a hull as accessible as reasonably possible.
Instead, the opposite, has occurred where a majority of builders today are building boats in such a way as that almost NO area of the internal hull is accessible. Not even the bilges.Entire Article
Boat Design Faults and Window Leaks
Leaking windows are inconvenient because they let the water that is supposed to remain on the outside into places it shouldn't be.
Oh, its aggravating enough that you might have to try to sleep on a wet mattress, but that's hardly the least of your problems when you have a leaky boat.
The real kicker is when those leaks cause a lot of damage, as they are wont to do, that cost you a whole lot of money to repair, and even more money when you go to sell the boat if you don't. Entire Article
Graphic Reasons Not to Fasten Boat Parts With Screws
Here's yet another good reason why, when you spend a lot of your hard-earned money for a boat, you shouldn't automatically assume that the builder knew what he was doing when he built the boat.
How the components of a boat are fastened together, particularly the hull and deck, can make a world of difference. Unfortunately, there are a lot of builders, as well as boat owners, who don't understand that different applications require specific methods of fastening.
Here are some examples of what can happen when the wrong fasteners are used. Entire Article
There are Great Values in Used Boats, But the Cost is More Than Just the Price
When we were young, we just loved the idea of buying a new car. But by the time we've owned three or four of them - often without paying off the balance of last one before buying the next - eventually we discover what a tremendous waste of our financial resources this is.
When it comes to boats the situation's not much different, except now we're talking about serious money. Entire Article
. . . A Blistered Boat, That Is.
One of the most frequently asked questions that a marine surveyor gets is, "Should I buy a boat that has blisters?"
This is a question that I've wrangled with for many years, and after a great deal of research involving thousands of boats.
This essay will answer your questions a bit more directly than some of our more detailed blister essays, which many of you found hard to understand. That's understandable because this is a very complex subject. But be prepared that the answer is populated with a lot of ifs, ands, and buts. Entire Article
The thought of unwittingly purchasing a stolen boat does not occur to most boat buyers. When it happens it doesn't make the morning paper or the evening TV news.
Yet the number of small boats that are stolen each year has been steadily increasing for several decades, to the point where it involves several hundred thousand boats annually across the nation. The odds of running across one of these has become uncomfortably high. Entire Article
How to Avoid Wasting Time and Travel Expenses
It happens as many as two to three times per week. A boat buyer calls me up and says that he’s about to come to Florida to look at a boat on the week end.
Could I do the survey the following week, and if so he’ll call me. Nine out of ten times I never hear from him again.
As everyone who has ever done it knows, boat shopping is not easy. Yet it never ceases to amaze me how far people will travel to look at a boat, often a thousand miles or more even for a small one.
Unfortunately, all too often they travel those long distances only to be sorely disappointed that the boat was not in the condition that it was represented to be. That surprises them, but it shouldn’t. Entire Article
- Dealing with Engines Part I
We hear this statement a lot, but the reality rarely lives up to the claim.
Typical Situation: After signing a contract, a client arrives in town from out of state for a survey. He was told by the buyer that the engines were recently overhauled.
Upon completion of the survey, the buyer is told by the surveyor that there is no evidence of recent overhauls. The engines are rusty, there's no sign of a bolt having been turned. Maybe there's some sign of recent spray paint activity of the hit and miss variety. Entire Article
- Dealing with Engines Part II
In the first part of this series, we discussed how to view the claim that a used boat has overhauled or rebuilt engines.
The bottom line is to view such claims with suspicion until the claim can be proven. In this part we discuss in greater detail why that is so, and just how complex the issue can be. Entire Article
The purpose of obtaining a pre purchase survey on a boat is to gain as much information on the condition of the boat as possible before you buy it.
What the surveyor does, and how he does it has a lot to do with his skill, experience, and personal methods of work. The amount of information that can be obtained is dependent on a variety of factors. These range from the boat itself, to how much you are willing to pay to get that information. Entire Article
Boat Buying 101: Used Boats - The Issues You Face and How to Deal With Them
You've spent months, possibly even years researching the ideal boat you want to buy. You finally reach the big day when you have found it, have made an offer, and it has been accepted.
The boat has gone to survey, which is now complete, and the survey report is now in hand. Just one problem: Despite the fact that the boat looked great before you made the offer, the survey didn't quite confirm your expectations. Entire Article
Are boat auctions a good way to find a great deal on a used boat? Having managed a few boat auctions myself, I know a bit about their strengths and weaknesses.
If it’s a real auction, there’s no way of knowing how the bidding will go. It may be heavy, in which case it drives the price beyond reasonable; the lighter the bidding, the better the chance of getting a low price.
The volume of bidding usually depends on the quality or desirability of boats being offered. Entire Article
During my three decades as a marine surveyor, I've always been amazed about two aspects of restoring old boats what, in the marine trade, is known as a refit.
First is that the people who can best afford to do them, usually don't. Followed by those who can't afford such projects are usually the ones that attempt them.
Such projects usually go wrong because the owner failed to appreciate the costs, and to estimate them in advance. There are no good deals on fixer uppers with boats. There is just expensive and more expensive.
Money is the name of the game, and if you haven't got it, then it's a mistake to think that you can do a refit on the cheap. Entire Article
In Part I, we discussed what makes for a suitable candidate for a major boat restoration project, both in terms of the boat and the person attempting it. In this part, we'll take a look at how to proceed with such a project, and what you need to consider before you buy. Entire Article
By far, the most frequently asked question we get in our emails is the one by first time boat buyers asking about what brand they should buy.
Bewildered by literally hundreds of choices out there, they have neither the knowledge to make an informed choice, nor any place to turn for answers.
Indeed, we're almost as bewildered as they are. It would take a cast of dozens of experts just to survey the field of new offerings every year, not to mention hundreds more experts to assess the existing millions of used boats.
That's a feat no one has yet managed to tackle. That's why no one just give you a list of recommended boats. We can't just line boats up on a counter top and evaluate them; they're too big and the boats can't come to us, we have to go to them. Entire Article
In Part I, we discussed the relative merits of buying a new versus a used boat.
In this segment we'll take a look at the basics of trying to decide exactly what type, style and shape of boat that you think you need, versus what may actually best fit you purposes.
As a newcomer to boating, it's tough to make intelligent choices mainly because you don't have enough experience. That often leads to the situation in which the boat you think you want ends up not really fulfilling your needs.
Of course, if you've got the money to spend, that won't make much difference. You just go out and buy another one. I'm addressing here primarily those who can't afford to make a first time mistake. Entire Article
In Part II, we made the recommendation that an used boat offers excellent value and good prospects for reliability. But how old of a boat? And how do you go about completing a deal?
Our experience indicates that boats in the 2-4 year old range usually offer the best prospects.
Of course, boats that are only one year old are hard to find since not many people sell at that age. Secondly, you have to ask yourself why would someone get rid of a boat that is only a year old?
The reason could be financial distress, but you also have to wonder if they're getting rid of it because it is a turkey. Entire Article.
How Hull Shape and Weight Affect Performance
Five of the last six twin engine CC boats we've tested chine ride. The sixth one also did, but was generally controllable with careful steering. The others would ride on one side of the hull or the other no matter what you did with wheel, engine trim or trim tabs. Entire Article.
Light weight equals faster speeds plus better fuel economy. That's the advertising hawk we see in boat ads over and over these days. Is that really true? Actually, it is, but unfortunately that is only part of the story. The other side of the story is the one that's rarely told. Entire article
From Cores and Structural Issues
And Why New Boat Surveys are Becoming a Necessity.
Putting cores in boat structures is now THE thing to do. Almost all late model boats we run into have more and more coring. Decks, hull sides, bottoms.
Which leads me to wonder if boat builders know why they're doing this and what the potential consequences for their future reputation is.
Builders are coring everything because their cost analysis suggests that using a lot of foam is cheaper than very high cost plastic resin, particularly the vinylesters and orthos that are needed on bottoms to avoid blistering. After all, cores make structures stronger, right? Entire Article
From Marine Surveying
Do They Produce Reliable Results?
This article and the two months of research that preceded it were prompted by the numerous phone calls and e-mails that I receive from boat buyers asking this question.
They have had surveys performed on boats they propose to buy on which the surveyor used a moisture meter on the hull. The surveyors gave them the results of the meter readings, but were apparently unwilling or unable to provide a comprehensive explanation of those results; at best, these people told me, the surveyor’s advice was vague.
This, of course, left the boat buyer with more questions than were answered. Entire Article
Direct Links to Some Chapter Contents
Basic Considerations(Mid Size Power Boats)
Boat Types: Which is Right for You? Mid Size Power Boats)
Old Boats, New Boats and Quality (Mid Size Power Boats)
The Art of the Deal (Mid Size Power Boats)
Make an Old Boat New
For the lack of a better idea, we decided to use the eye-catching name of this boat as the title of this article. It's been many months that I've been looking to feature a fine example of a restored older boat, particularly a Bertram, but the opportunity hasn't presented itself until now.
Fortunately, we have an exceedingly fine example for you here. Why Bertram? Well, mainly because there has been such a great resurgence in the popularity of these boats, along with a lot of really fine refurbishing projects that have been going on over the last few years. Entire Article
David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.
Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.
Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:
In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from nearly 80 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.
In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.
On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.
Biography - Long version