If tomorrow’s start of the Napa /Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series World Finals at Firebird Raceway has you has you jonesing for a fast ride on the water, E3 Spark Plugs offers a few tips on finding and buying a great sport boat.
First, decide exactly how you plan to use your boat and choose the type accordingly. Want to power down the coast at breakneck speeds and throw your boat in to hard turns for thrills? You’ll want to choose a smaller sport boat with a strong engine. Want to cruise in comfort with your family and friends aboard? Opt for a larger, full-featured model with more substantial seating, grab handles and lots of dry storage for coolers, life jackets and extra towels. If you’ll tow skiers, consider a boat with a large in-floor locker.
Once you’ve narrowed your choice to a few sport boat models, E3 Spark Plugs recommends doing some through research. Contact owner groups and associations, marine insurance brokers, marine surveyors and local boat yards for a heads up on known construction or performance problems with particular models. Check with the manufacturer to see if there have been any recalls or reliability issues with boat models and standard accessories.
Everyone loves the feel of a new boat that still has the equivalent of that “new car” smell and a shine that you could serve a four-course meal on. But if your budget is limited, you stand to get a bigger, better boat for your money by choosing pre-owned. You’ll just have to do a little homework and perhaps some undercover investigating. For instance, a clean boat with a fresh wax job, shampooed upholstery and a sparkling engine can be a sign that the boat’s previous owners kept it well maintained. But a new coat of paint on the boat or engine could be designed to hide signs that the vessel has been sunk or damaged.
When inspecting a pre-owned sport boat, look closely for faint waterlines on the carpet or upholstery. Unplug wires to check for corrosion. A small amount of corrosion is expected if the boat has been taken into salt water, but excessive corrosion can be a telltale sign that the boat sank. Look and feel for patches or raised sections of fiberglass that indicate significant repair work. And be wary of a new or newly painted engine, which could indicate that the boat is older than the owner is letting on or that it has taken a dive under water. Most importantly, write down the serial numbers and call the manufacturer’s consumer affairs division for a quick check.
Ask the seller questions about the boat and its history, and request copies of the maintenance history, receipts and hull and engine warranties – especially if those warranties are transferrable. If the owner or seller is less than forthcoming, it may be a red flag.
Be inquisitive. Ask the owner questions about the boat and its history. Does he know the previous owners or still have their phone numbers? Do they have a copy of the maintenance history? Copies of receipts? Does the boat still have a hull warranty from the manufacturer? What about an engine warranty? Are those warranties transferable? Using a broker to find the perfect sport boat for you likely will cost about 10 % of the sales cost, but could be well worth it – especially if there are problems after the sale. Also, never take delivery of a new boat at night. Insist that it be delivered in the daytime when the sun is out and a proper check can be made before you sign on the dotted line. And – new or used – be sure to outfit your new sport boat engine with E3 performance spark plugs.