Yesterday a want-to-be boater approached my boat and me wanting to chat. He is getting ready to buy a boat, his first boat. He’s going to buy that boat in a couple of weeks and boy is he excited. He told me everything he could remember about this used boat, a long and detailed list.
That conversation got me to thinking about all the immediate maintenance things he should do once he buys that used boat. Some of them are safety issues and others will make the difference between fun and frustration. I’ve owned several used boats; which of course all had deferred maintenance issues, so in an attempt to hold off Neptune’s practical joke tendency, here’s my list of the top 10 things to do when buying a used boat. (We are a do-it-yourself couple; if you’re not then hire someone do this for you.)
Change the impeller. This is the very first thing we do when buying a used boat, it’s an easy item to change out and not very expensive. Be sure to buy the tool that pulls the impeller out. Life is much easier with the correct tools. Keep it on the boat along with a spare impeller. Once the impeller begins to deteriorate small pieces can and do flow into parts of your engine that will cost you tons of money to clean out. Plus if the impeller is bad and you run the engine and no water is being sent through the engine…you can burn up the engine.
Change the oil and oil filter. Word to the wise, if you can splash your boat or if it stays in the water, run the engine to warm up the oil, it will be much easier to pump out. There are several tools for removing the oil. We’ve tried several types of hand pump out types and recently discovered a great tool that makes it fast and clean. It’s a 12 volt oil changer, it lays flat, has a 3+ gallon storage tank, is self priming and its easy pour spout makes emptying it a breeze. It is a bit spendy but you’ll save yourself lots of cash if you learn how to change the oil on your boat, so it’s a good investment.
Check the bilge pump. Be sure it’s in good working order. The automated bilge pumps are best especially if you’ll be staying on the water for a few days. As a precaution keep a small plastic bucket stashed aboard just in case. Nothing bales a boat faster than a terrified man with a bucket!
Check the batteries. If the batteries are nearing the end of their life expectancy then change out.
Check the trailer if you’ve got one. Nothing can ruin a trailer boat experience faster than getting a couple of blocks from home only to have problems. (See post)
Replace the fire extinguisher. This is an often over looked item, while we all hope never to experience a fire aboard they do happen.
Change the transmission fluid.
Check your running lights. That’s the red and green on the bow (front of boat) and the white one on the stern (back of boat).
If you have an outboard engine, check to see if you have extra ‘pins’. If not get them and be sure to keep a small hammer on board. A hammer you ask? Yep, you’ll need one to replace the shear pin if you break one.
If you have an inboard gas engine, check the blower. You have to blow out your engine compartment or you run the risk of blowing up!
While this list isn’t everything you’ll probably need to do to that used boat, it is a good starting point to have a fun time the first time you take the boat out. Boating is a great family activity, can offer a single boater some much needed solitude and will bring you friends you never imagined you had.
Have you or someone you know had another maintenance issue that would be great to include in this list? Then please add by commenting on this post. Thank you!
1 Comment posted on "Buying a Used Boat?"
MacGregor Sailboat part one on February 5th, 2008 at 5:50 pm #
[…] out the tire was just sunk in the mud from sitting so long. We bought her on the spot (please click here if you’re new to boating) and we drove to a tire place to have the tires checked and the wheel […]
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