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Old 09-02-2019, 08:10 PM   #1
mishman
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Default Used boat buying, a little help please

Looking to upgrade from a 28 yr old boat to a gently used 2-5 yr old i/o bow rider, approximately 20-22 ft. Don't know a whole lot about the different brands. Looking for a very good quality boat that I can keep for twenty years. Cobalts seem like a top grade, Four Winns as well but the other boat manufacturers - hard to tell how to grade them in the hierarchy. Our current boat is a SeaRay. It has served us well but we'd like a bit of an upgrade without spending a fortune (hence looking for a lightly used boat). There are some Cobalts for sale from a rental fleet but I am a little hesitant about buying a boat that many others have driven - even if only for 200 hrs. Should I be concerned buying a previous rental vs buying from a single owner. Appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:42 PM   #2
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Default Robalo

I have a 2018 Robalo 24 Bow Rider I am selling. I know its bit bigger, but its an amazing boat and the 300HP Yamaha on the back will run forever and is under full warranty until 2024
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:46 PM   #3
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Default

Do you do your own repairs/winterization? I would think that that might be an important question in terms of brand and marina you might work with. We went with Harris because Melvin Village Marina is great to work with and close. Most people in our association have Four Winns or Robalo for that reason.

Good luck!

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Old 09-02-2019, 09:12 PM   #4
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From someone who has bought 3 used boats, take some time to look at a few different brands, and find the layouts and options that appeal to you and your family. Then start shopping around for the best deal, and do your due diligence to ensure you don’t buy someone else’s problems.

Marina or individual is a personal choice, sometimes better deal not going thru a marina, but comes with a risk.

This is a great time to buy a boat,good luck
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:21 PM   #5
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Default further clarification

I don't do my own mechanical work - just waxing hull etc. Will depend on a local marina in Meredith or Moultonborough for winterizing, oil changes etc. Willing to pay more for a quality built boat on the front end in the hopes it will be worth it (fewer problems) in the long run. I know this may be wishful thinking. We don't put a ton of hours on our boat each year (maybe 30-50 hrs).
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:06 PM   #6
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Default Trade?

If you want to sell/trade a 28 year old boat, the dollars won't be much but there is a certain convenience to trading vs selling and buying. I've always been an advocate of establishing a relationship with a local marina. More valuable to me than saving $2-3000 on a buy/ sell. Assume your 28 year old boat is worth an oil change or some other service in the future, work with a dealer who has the boat you want. I can't see any reason to do a private sale unless there is an absolute steal on a model that you absolutely have to have. I'd be picky there if you want to keep it for 20 years.
Summary: If you want a 20 year boat, be very sure what make/model and look all over. The boat you want may be in Minnesota. Thirty years ago, we went up and own the east coast looking at boats and ended up with a Winni boat that we kept for 25 years. The current boat, we've outgrown after 5 years. Who knew?
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:45 AM   #7
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I have bought both new and used boats. The only absolute for me is I won't buy a boat that has been in salt water.

If you expand your search area there are some great deals. Many years ago I bought a 34 foot boat on the St Lawrence in upstate New York. I had it for 6 years and got everything I had into it back. That is the purchase price, trucking, and even adding air conditioning.

I look at used boats often and one of the ways I have found using sites like Boat Trader is to do a 500 mile radius search but use a zip code like Chicago (60606). That way almost every boat that meets your search criteria is a fresh water boat.

No rush. It is all about getting the right boat at the right price.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:13 AM   #8
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Default 09 Mariah 25 ft

My 09 25 ft Mariah is for sale. See the ad in the classifieds on this site. Parker Marine had the boat. 335 hrs.

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Old 09-03-2019, 07:43 AM   #9
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The following is written solely with the subject of longevity as the main concern:

For I/O bowriders in that size range, would stay with top brands like Cobalt or Bryant. IMO, they have the best build quality in areas you can't readily see and will be less likely to suffer from structural issues (rotted stringers, bulkheads and transoms) 20 years from now. That said, perhaps most boats built in the last 5 years have made improvements in the construction quality of these hidden areas, I don't know, but I know for sure that Cobalt and Bryant have been doing it right all along. I have crawled around in a lot of boats and many other "premium" brands are not as well thought out or executed as Bryant or Cobalt.

I also have to agree with others here that you should include the mid-west in your shopping area. I bought my last two boats in Indiana and Michigan, with great success. My current boat is 27 years old and has never been Winterized, it spent 6-7 months of the year in a heated building in Michigan (where such storage is common and reasonably-priced), and it shows. It was priced identically to the same make and model that had been kept in salt water 365 days a year in CT.

I kept my last boat on a trailer, under a big car port when I was not using it and despite being 19 years old, it looked fantastic when I sold it. Since you intend to keep the boat for a long time, do everything you can to limit the amount of time the boat spends in water and in the sun, which are, oddly enough, the two worst typical environments for a boat. If you plan to keep it in a slip, ensure it has great canvas to keep the gel coat in good shape OR strongly consider getting an all-white boat. People that have to maintain big fiberglass boats will tell you there are only two colors for a boat: white and stupid. The only exception would be a boat with a painted hull; paint is much more resilient to sunlight than gel coat. Formula is the only common brand I'm aware of that comes with a paint from the factory. I don't believe they make a bowrider in the 20 to 22 foot range though.

I know you said I/O power, but you may want to think about and outboard powered, dual console boat instead. They are typically better built than an I/O boat and should last a lot longer. Look at a Grady White Freedom 215 for a great example of a rugged DC boat.

Good luck! I'm sure the perfect boat is out there.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:33 AM   #10
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Default Happy with our 2017 Cobalt 220S

We purchased a 2017 220S Cobalt rental boat from Goodhue & Hawkins and have been very happy.

We bought our house in July of 2017 and since this is our first boat, our plan was to rent the first summer for a few weekends to see what we liked and search for a 1-2 year old boat during the winter of 2017-2018. Plan is to keep the boat 3-5 years to see what like and don't like to incorporate in our next purchase.

The convenience of G&H and the friendly service kept me going back there to rent and got me to look at their used inventory.

After searching around different Dealers on the lake for new and used options and going to the Boat show in Boston, we went to G & H in February to see the boat in their heated storage and decided it was the right boat for us. It is one of the boats we rented a couple of times.

We certainly saved $$ compared to a New 220S. I am sure we paid more than if we purchased from a private owner, but we have the peace of mind that we can go to G&H if any issues come up.

They did a complete tune up of the engine/drive and we received the boat in May looking and running like a brand new boat. We still had 4 years of the 5 year warranty remaining when we took ownership.

Also, since this is our first boat, I plan to store the boat a G&H for at least the first 2-3 winters and have them perform regular maintenance. I didn't even buy a trailer because I knew I was never taking the boat to another body of water. Every year when I get the boat from them in May it has been like getting a new boat!

I've seen comments on the forum that some people would never buy a rental boat and I understand their concerns. However, after seeing how G&H take care of their rentals and having rented this boat for 30-40 of the 120 hours it had when I purchased it and the 4 years remaining on the warranty, I was very comfortable buying this boat. We have had two great summers on the lake since purchasing the boat. It has everything we need/want for a boat.

Sorry I sound like an AD for G&H, but thought it would help to tell about our experience. I am sure there are many other dealers/marinas on the lake that are similar.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:42 AM   #11
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Dealers sell used boats that they own and also used boats that they broker for others.

If you are looking for a used boat at a dealer be sure to find out which arrangement it is and what warranty, if any, comes with the deal.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:27 AM   #12
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75% of the value in a used boat is going to be the engine (give or take). Engine hours, brand, service history can make the difference between a boat that is fun and hassle-free, and one that is a money pit of frustration.

Hull construction method is probably the next most important thing, however I think it is of less concern for a lake boat that is only used a few months per year, as long as it has been properly stored and maintained overall. You ideally want to avoid foam and wood in the hull (boats 20 feet and under are required to have positive buoyancy, and thus will almost always have lots of foam).

For most brands you can find brochures online for the model year that outline construction techniques.

Boat manufacturers fabricate the hull, liner, and cap, but almost everything else comes from some other supplier. The difference between a lower-end brand and a higher-end one will be the level of quality they use for these 3rd party components, and how they are assembled.

You can get into construction techniques over things like fiberglass laminate schedules, and the use of CSM/"chop guns" vs. heavy weight woven biaxial fiberglass, but for the average conditions on Winnipesaukee, this is more academic than a major deciding factor (IMO).

Things I would look for when buying a lake boat:

1) Motor brand/HP - You mentioned I/O, so a Mercruiser setup with an Alpha One or Bravo drive would probably be my first choice. In regards to HP, you can never have too much, and the default engine package is almost always anemic. In many cases you will find that higher HP engines use the same fuel, or sometimes even less, than a lower HP version on the same boat.

2) Dry weight - all other things being equal, a heavier boat will ride better than a lighter one. If you plan to tow the boat, this can be a factor to consider.

3) Hull deadrise. Steeper deadrise will ride better in a chop, but be more "rolly" when anchored at a sandbar. For the most part, I never found this to be a major issue on smaller boats, so I'd look for the steepest deadrise possible.

4) Fittings and finish - metal through-hulls vs. plastic, higher quality vinyl seats, stainless rails for a bimini, etc., will tend to be signs of a better-built boat.

5) Brand - I'd mostly be concerned with the brand still being active and in business - makes it somewhat easier to find spare parts, and tend to help resale value vs. a brand that is no longer around (IME).

5a) If you're concerned with appearances, then brands like Cobalt, Formula, and Chris-Craft will have a higher level of perception than SeaRay, FourWinns, Bayliner, etc., though in the end they are all non-custom production boats.


No matter what you decide on, hire a good marine surveyor to go over the boat.
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Old 09-03-2019, 02:19 PM   #13
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Default great info

Thank everyone. Very helpful info. I will start viewing boats, keep learning and asking questions and pull the trigger by late fall (hopefully).. I appreciate everyone's input.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:04 PM   #14
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I wouldn't be scared by preowned rental fleet boats. Just have the boat inspected by a 3rd party surveyor to be safe. 350-400$ to have the boat inspected could save you lots of money and hassle down the road.

And if going the rental route you need to look for typical mistakes that renters make like dings on the outdrive/prop, nicks on the fiberglass, paint scuffs, and interior blemishes. All are easily repairable but they will help you negotiate a better price.

Any Marina no matter how good they are (Goodhue Included) will try to cut corners on repairs to save money and time (especially during peak season). The surveyor will be able to look for signs that some things may have been repaired recently (especially on the outdrive/hull).

Since you are looking at newerish boats your boat surveyor should also be able to scan the engine computer too so you can see runtime hour history associated with different RPM ranges. If you are looking at a boat with 200 hours and for 90% of those hours the engine was ran under 3,000 RPMs that's a safer bet than a boat that was driven hard at high RPMS for long hours.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:43 AM   #15
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I will tell you that this is a FANTASTIC time of year to be looking for a used boat. People who are looking to get out of boating, or are looking to trade their boat in, are doing so a lot this time of year, so they don't have to pay for winter prep and storage (many times a dealer taking a boat in on trade will take care of that while the new boat doesn't come in until spring).

So if you are ready to go, I'd make those contacts with local dealers who will be taking in some cream puff boats just a few years old between now and mid-October. Plus you can still get some sea trials in which I would recommend for anything.
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Old 09-06-2019, 10:57 AM   #16
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We bought our used boat on consignment from Paugus Bay Marina, great people, and have had virtually no issues. I think buying from a local marina that has a history of storing / maintenance on a boat is the best option. We have had a couple of people do the same, one at Paugus and one at Irwin and nobody has had any issues and you get all / most the history of the boat with the sale. Also, most of these marinas locally want to keep their names in good standing so they aren't selling junk boats IMO. Looking around the inventory seems pretty low this time of year but there is still some decent choices around...

What is your price range?
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Old 09-06-2019, 07:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Downeast View Post
Look behind the scenes. if it's thrown together where the sun doesn't shine, its probably junk

Hire a private, experienced mechanic and marine electrician to look over the ENTIRE boat. ..or hopefully the hired surveyor will notice (and mention) these rights and wrongs as well as moisture ingress inside the hull.


Avoid a salt water boat if its had enough seasons festering in the salty water..

is it easy to work on and peek into hidden areas? --->

Some twin engine I/O boats such as an early model Formula have so little space between the motors its nearly impossible to access plugs and starters... hard access like this won't make you friends with your service tech..

IMHO Id go with diesel inboard, an outboard, then single I/O.

seek out those with Clean mechanical systems, clean and organized wiring, clean oily free bilge..decent topsides.. hull shape..
I don't know of any 20 - 22' boat that came with a diesel motor, or twin motors from the factory, (with the exception of some of the smaller jet drive boats, like the sea doo's and the like, some of those come with small, but fast!! twin motors), so those are probably not going to be an option for that size boat. Going to come down to an O/B, or I/O most likely for this size boat.

Last edited by Cal Coon; 09-07-2019 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:49 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by znh View Post
We bought our used boat on consignment from Paugus Bay Marina, great people, and have had virtually no issues. I think buying from a local marina that has a history of storing / maintenance on a boat is the best option. We have had a couple of people do the same, one at Paugus and one at Irwin and nobody has had any issues and you get all / most the history of the boat with the sale. Also, most of these marinas locally want to keep their names in good standing so they aren't selling junk boats IMO. Looking around the inventory seems pretty low this time of year but there is still some decent choices around...

What is your price range?
I second Paugus Bay. We bought a used Regal a couple years back. Having a lot of fun with it. The boat was stored and serviced there. So by purchasing through the dealer/marina you get a feel for the history & maintenance. I had them do a compression test before purchase. Rick Kelly was our sales rep. Good guy and professional. Good Luck.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:46 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by betterthanbacon View Post
I second Paugus Bay. We bought a used Regal a couple years back. Having a lot of fun with it. The boat was stored and serviced there. So by purchasing through the dealer/marina you get a feel for the history & maintenance. I had them do a compression test before purchase. Rick Kelly was our sales rep. Good guy and professional. Good Luck.
Re; Paugas Bay - Same here, we just traded a super clean 23' Caravelle Interceptor with like 60 hours on a Formula and Paugas Bay and Rick were possibly the best buying experience I have ever had with boats.

We loved the Caravelle, it was a flawless performer, but we wanted a bigger boat and a bowrider this time and after climbing into the Formula 270 just once we knew it was the boat for us.

For the price the Caravelle was a really good boat and well made (again for its price range) but the Formula is in a whole different class and it is instantly clear what you are getting for you money. Its not just a pretty boat for more money, they added so much more detail and features compared to less expensive boats.

I now understand why there are so many Formulas on Winnipesaukee, but I will continue to sing the praises of our Caravelle. Unfortunately I'm not sure Caravelle is still in business, like so many other brands that have folded recently, I fear they may be gone,,,

Also be aware that boats in the 20 - 22' range are good on calm days on Winnipesaukee, and can be real easy to handle at the docks, but on a windy day or busy Saturday, you may wish you had a bigger boat. I see a lot more of 27 - 29' boats out there these days. They really take the rough water so much better than most of the 20 - 22' boats.

Good luck shopping
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Sunseeker Jimmy View Post
I have a 2018 Robalo 24 Bow Rider I am selling. I know its bit bigger, but its an amazing boat and the 300HP Yamaha on the back will run forever and is under full warranty until 2024


Any pics? Or price? Does it have a trailer? Thx


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Old 09-16-2019, 04:40 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Re; Paugas Bay - Same here, we just traded a super clean 23' Caravelle Interceptor with like 60 hours on a Formula and Paugas Bay and Rick were possibly the best buying experience I have ever had with boats.

We loved the Caravelle, it was a flawless performer, but we wanted a bigger boat and a bowrider this time and after climbing into the Formula 270 just once we knew it was the boat for us.

For the price the Caravelle was a really good boat and well made (again for its price range) but the Formula is in a whole different class and it is instantly clear what you are getting for you money. Its not just a pretty boat for more money, they added so much more detail and features compared to less expensive boats.

I now understand why there are so many Formulas on Winnipesaukee, but I will continue to sing the praises of our Caravelle. Unfortunately I'm not sure Caravelle is still in business, like so many other brands that have folded recently, I fear they may be gone,,,

Also be aware that boats in the 20 - 22' range are good on calm days on Winnipesaukee, and can be real easy to handle at the docks, but on a windy day or busy Saturday, you may wish you had a bigger boat. I see a lot more of 27 - 29' boats out there these days. They really take the rough water so much better than most of the 20 - 22' boats. Good luck shopping
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