Yesterday we did a story on Classic Boats being the best value in boating today. With that said we thought we would publish an over simplified guide to buying a classic boat. So why over simplified? Well, the deal is that buying a classic boat can sometime be rather emotional and spontaneous, and has its quirks since they are rare, and spread out all over the globe. Of course each of the five tips can be deeper and deeper as you get into them. But these cover the basics ans are easy to remember.
- Water test, water test water test. Does it leak, how does it run, do you like the ride. Bring others with you. As I say sometimes, Run it like a bitch for a bit and test it. Turn it, reverse it. You would be shocked what a 1/2 hr run will tell you. If possible water test the boat in your waters, or waters like yours. Small lakes and large bays are night and day differences. I have owned boats I like looking at, and hated riding in. The boat gets very ugly after a rough ride. TEST TEST and RE TEST! This is the biggest thing to do. The boat will tell you the truth.
- Decide how you are going to use the boat. Got a family and like social cruises, or need a fun runabout. Shop around and see lots of boats to make sure its the boat for you.
- Once you have decided on a model, utility, runabout, racer, etc. go see lots of them. Each boat is as individual as you are. Its OK to look at 10 U22’s.
- Know the boats history and who did the work. The difference of one restorer and others can be the difference of a nightmare or a dream. The great restorers are confident of thier boats and will always be glad to share info and what went into the boat. In some cases some even offer Warranties and guarantees. In the case of hacker Craft, they can restore the boat at the factory like new. If you are buying a un-restored boat, know what you are buying. See #9
- Always get a qualified person to look at the boat with you. Someone you trust and will be objective. Brokers are not objective. And standard surveyors don’t understand these boats. They look at all sorts of boats, but its very hard to tell if a frame is bad, or other things may happen. Ask around for someone in the area that knows stuff about these boats and has been through restorations. ALWAYS go into this with wide open eyes.
- Pricing a boat is very tough. Yes there is the Hagerty Price guide, but even that can be a bit confusing. Some boats may seem over priced, but are really bargains when you consider the expense in a correct restoration. Look at the entire package of what your considering. The cheapest boat I bought cost me the most.
- Join the Chris – Craft Antique Boat Club and the ACBS. Read Woody Boater before you buy. Get to know the community and who is good to deal with. Ask folks in the culture about a certain boat. Trust us, everyone knows everyone and every boat. Like we said , each boat is an individual. This is one of the main reasons we created Woody Boater.
- Rule of thumb. The best boats are at brokers, or dealers. Yacht brokers and odd ball selling sites are a crap shoot. They sell larger boats and rarely have no idea what they are selling. Sorry. ebay is not the place to buy a boat. See all the above reasons. It’s fun to see cool stuff. But if its on ebay on its own. Be careful. Of course some dealers use ebay for awareness. That’s different. And yes I bought a 25 sportsman because of ebay. But I googled the boat and found it all over the place. ebay was great for awareness. And Craigslist is just a train wreck. Always fun, and maybe good for finding a wreck. Sure, there are always exceptions. But always google the boat. You will be shocked what shows up.
- Buy restored first. BUT, If you can not find your dream boat, then buy a fixer upper. But do it with a restorer that you trust. If you are doing that ask for the truth in the cost and worst case scenario, and add to that. There are two kinds of restorers. The kind that low ball you and suck you in, and the kind that tell you up front. ALWAYS go with the upfront guy. ALWAYS! You will like them during and after the restoration.
- Go to boat shows, don’t be afraid to travel and get to know different boats. Ride in them, meet the owners. West Coast boats are a bit different than a Florida Boat. Yes the weather makes a difference. The water you are going to use the boat on is critical.
FEEL FREE TO ADD ANY TIPS YOU HAVE FOUND ALONG THE WAY! This post should be Bookmarked for future reference or send to a friend in need.