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Don't Buy A Storm-Damaged Lemon

8 Telltale Signs That the Used Boat You’re Buying
Could be a Storm-Damaged Lemon

While many of the more than 60,000 boats damaged as a result of 2017 hurricanes will be repaired and more years of life on the water, some used boat buyers in 2018 could end up with storm-damaged lemons.  Boat US, cautions used boat buyers that some boats affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are beginning to hit the market and that getting a pre-purchase survey, called a condition and value survey is very important.

“It’s not that you don’t want to buy a boat that’s been repaired, but you should have full knowledge of the repairs and know that they were done correctly.  It’s a transparence issue that will help you negotiate a fair price, “said Boat US Consumer Affairs Directory Charles Fort.  Boat US offers eight tips to help you spot a boat that might have been badly damaged in a storm

  1. Trace the history.      When a car is totaled, the title is branded as salvaged or rebuilt, and      buyers know up front that there was major damage at some point in the      car's history. But only a few states brand salvaged boats – Florida and      Texas do not – and some states don't require titles for boats. Anyone      wishing to obscure a boat's history need only cross state lines to avoid      detection, which can be a tipoff. Look for recent gaps in the boat's      ownership, which may mean that it was at an auction or in a repair yard      for a long time.
  2. Look for recent hull repairs. Especially on older boats, matching gelcoat is very      difficult. Mismatched colors around a repaired area are often a giveaway      and may signal nothing more than filler under the gelcoat, rather than a      proper fiberglass repair.
  3. Look for new repairs or sealant at the hull-to-deck      joint. Boats that bang against a dock      during a storm often suffer damage there.
  4. Evidence of sinking.      Check for consistent corrosion on interior hardware, such as rust on all      hinges and drawer pulls. You might be able to spot an interior waterline      inside a locker or an area hidden behind an interior structure.
  5. Corrosion in the electrical system. Corrosion on electrical items, such as lamps,      connectors and behind breaker panels might mean the boat sank recently.      Does the boat have all new electronics? Why?
  6. Look for evidence of major interior repairs. Fresh paint or gelcoat work on the inside of the hull      and engine room is usually obvious. All new cushions and curtains may be a      tipoff, too.
  7. Look for fresh paint on the engine. It may be covering exterior rust as well as interior      damage.
  8. Ask the seller.      In some states, a seller isn't required to disclose if a boat was badly      damaged unless you ask. If the seller hems and haws, keep looking. 

Visit to learn more about marine surveys and access a free online boat-buying guide from BoatUS.

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