5 Red Flags to Avoid When Buying a Boat From a Private Seller

If you are looking to grab a good deal out on the water, then the best bargains can often be found on the private market rather than in the boat showrooms. Of course, when you are purchasing something that isn’t brand new from a manufacturer and is most probably preowned, there is always going to be an extra set of considerations to factor in alongside the simple fact of the price. To help you navigate these potentially tricky waters (pun intended!), here are five red flags to avoid when buying a boat from a private seller.

Unrealistic Low Prices

Essentially, if something seems too good to be true, then the chances are that that is exactly what is going on! A lot of untrustworthy sellers will try to lure honest buyers in with the attractive low prices, and then try to sell on a vessel that is of a far lesser quality than is being advertised.

Inaccurate Or Incomplete Documentation

Make sure to pay close attention to the documentation of the vessel in question, things like registration, title, maintenance records, and service history. If the paperwork seems incomplete or incorrect at any point and has large gaps and inconsistencies in it, that is a clear red flag that all is not as it seems.

Signs Of Poor Maintenance

Make sure that you inspect the vessel meticulously before making any commitments to buy. A well-maintained yacht is essential for saving you costs in the long run, and you don’t want anything that has too much excessive surface rust, mold, mildew, corrosion, and other damage that has occurred through lack of care.

Hidden Damage

Even if the paint job is neat and the vessel has been polished up a treat, there may still be plenty of issues with structural integrity and various hidden damage. Make sure that you thoroughly assess the parts of the boat that can’t always be seen in generic pictures like the keel, the hull, and the hidden parts of the deck. 

Buying a Boat From a Private Seller

Any Ownership History Concerns

As much as you can, try to trace back the ownership of the boat, and if any mysterious gaps or pieces of information that don’t feel right crop up, then it is best to trust your gut. Failure to disclose a full history could allude to some serious things like the vessel having been stolen at some point in the past, and you don’t want to get involved in a chain like that.

If you are planning on buying a boat from a private seller anytime in the near future, then you may need assistance in checking and processing many of the essential documents that come along with vessel ownership. To make this part of the process much simpler, you can utilize the services that can be found on the Vessel Registrar Center website. Feel free to get in touch with a member of our experienced staff and they will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have.