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The Essential Boat Guide to Buy and Clean Your Boat

Updated on June 1st, 2022

You've found a used boat in the right size and price range, now what? Buying a pre-owned boat is not like buying a pre-owned car; many factors can affect the value of a boat. Even so, there are some basic steps you can follow for any purchase that will help ensure you get the best deal possible on your new boat. After buying a boat, you'll have to keep it in a good shape. And we will include a guide for you to mintain your boat regularly.

Part 1: How to buy a boat

The first step in buying a boat is to determine what type of boat is right for you. This can be a difficult task, as there are so many options available on the market. It’s important to take your time and consider all the different factors that will impact your decision-making process. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The size of your family. If you have more than two kids or pets, it might be best to go with something larger than what would normally be considered “luxury” and find ways to make it feel homey despite its larger size. For example, adding rugs and furniture can help create an atmosphere of coziness and warmth without compromising style.
  • How much money you have saved up for this purchase—or whether or not it fits into existing plans for future investments like saving up for retirement funds or paying off debt from student loans/credit cards/etc.

Know your budget

Before you start shopping, it's important to know your budget. If you're buying a used boat, there's no point in spending too much on repairs because the boat may not be worth what you paid for it. On the other hand, if a new boat is out of your price range and all you can afford is a used one, don't let that stop you from getting on board and sailing away!

When deciding on how much money to spend on a boat, keep these tips in mind:

Be realistic about what type of vessel best fits your needs. Do some research before making any decisions so that when it comes time to buy a boat (or cars or houses), only then will come into play as well.

Know what kind of materials are being used by the manufacturer—this will help determine whether or not those parts need replacing during maintenance down the road.* Consider whether or not any modifications need made before making purchase. Give yourself enough time before making purchase so as not rush decision-making process. Consider financing options, if possible.

Choose a boat style based on how you'll use the boat.

Consider the type of boat you'll use most often. Your personal preference is the biggest factor in choosing your ideal boat style, but it's also important to consider how you'll use the boat and what size you need. For example, if you'll be fishing in shallow waters and want to keep your boat close to shore, then a small jon boat might work best for you (although these boats are not known for their speed and range). If your primary purpose is fishing offshore or traveling long distances by sea, then opting for an open deck cruiser may be more practical (and comfortable).

The length of your typical trips will also greatly affect how much storage capacity is needed on board—which is why smaller vessels don't always have as much room as larger ones. And if multiple people will be using a given vessel at once (such as with family vacations), having enough seating area and roomy cabins can mean less stress when everyone wants their turn steering the ship!

Find a used boat first, and then work your way up to a brand-new one.

You can save a lot of money on a used boat. You’re not just saving the initial cost of buying it, but also the depreciation costs that occur over time (which is usually around 10 percent per year). Buying new means you’ll have to pay full price for everything. You might think this is better because it will last longer and be more reliable, but if you purchase well-made boats with good quality parts they should last quite some time even when bought used. In addition, by purchasing used first you can learn about what features are important in choosing boats before committing yourself financially to an expensive new model.

Some regular ways to get extra savings.

  • Check online listings/go to boat shows/talk to local dealers.
  • Check online listings.
  • Go to boat shows.
  • Talk to local dealers.

Inspect the boat in person (including the waterline)

When you find a boat that you like, make sure it's safe. The first step is to check the boat's registration and make sure it hasn't had any major accidents or been reported stolen. Next, look at the hull of the vessel to check if there are cracks, they could mean that water is leaking into your new ship. Then look at all of the equipment on board: Does anything appear outdated or in need of repair? Finally, inspect any safety features that are installed on board: life jackets (and flares), fire extinguishers (and batteries), pumps (and hoses), as well as other items that you can visually see.

When you inspect the boat before buying it, you'll need to make sure that the hull isn't damaged and that there aren't any leaks in the engine. You'll also want to check for damage to the rigging and sails. It's important that you look at all of this yourself, so don't rely on someone else's assessment of a boat's condition.

When inspecting a used sailboat, pay close attention to the hull for corrosion from salt water exposure (this is more difficult with fiberglass boats) and make sure there are no obvious signs of leakage around drain holes or through rivets or other seams where two different types of material meet. Also check out any lines connected to equipment on board as they can sometimes leak oil into nearby compartments when not stored properly—particularly if they've been used regularly over many years!

Using these guides will help ensure your next boating experience is safe and enjoyable!

  • Test drive the boat.
  • Before you make any commitment, it's important to test drive the boat.
  • You'll want to make sure that:
    • The engine runs smoothly and efficiently.
    • The steering works well. (It would be hard to steer a boat if the rudder were loose, or if your tiller were missing.)
  • There are no leaks in the hull or rigging. You can check this by looking for puddles of water on the ground around your prospective purchase—but don't get too close! If you're concerned about checking for leaks without getting wet yourself, bring along a waterproof camera like a GoPro so you can take photos of problem areas from afar.
  • The electronics are functional and fully charged before setting out on an extended trip through rough waters or overland terrain that might damage them otherwise (and even then...).
  • Make sure there isn't any oil leaking into either compartment of your vessel during operation—a sign that something needs replacing soon!

Get a surveyor's report

The surveyor’s report is a crucial part of the buying process, because it will let you know the boat’s condition from an expert.

As a buyer, you need to trust that the surveyor has done their work thoroughly and has not missed anything important. The last thing you want is to buy a boat that later turns out to be structurally unsound or too expensive for repairs.

Surveyors are trained professionals who have been taught how to identify problems with boats in order for them to make their assessments as accurate as possible. They are independent and impartial so they won't try selling you a boat or sugar-coating any issues with your purchase. However, they aren't infallible—sometimes they can miss something important!

Make sure everything you want is included in the sales contract

When buying a used boat, it is important to make sure that everything you want is included in the sales contract. Also, try to get a warranty on the motor and outdrive. This way, if anything goes wrong with those two items, you can return them to the manufacturer or mechanic who fixed them for free. Additionally, make sure that there is a surveyor's report that lists all problems or repairs needed by your boat so there are no surprises later on down the road (and hopefully a good deal of money saved).


Now you're ready to go out and find the boat of your dreams! It may take some time to find the right one, but once you do it will be worth it. Just make sure that you are patient and take your time with this decision because there's a lot at stake if something goes wrong. When I bought my first boat, I spent weeks searching online for boats before finding one that seemed perfect for me.

Part 2: How to Clean a Boat

Cleaning a boat isn't just about making it look good. It's also about keeping it in good shape, which can be worth thousands of dollars in maintenance and repairs down the road. Plus, a clean boat is more comfortable to spend time on and more hygienic for you and your passengers. Let's take a closer look at how to perform basic cleaning tasks for both your boat's interior and exterior.

Cleaning the outside of your boat

Pressure wash the boat with a good soap. Use a pressure washer to clean off all of the sand, dirt and grime that has accumulated during your trip.

Wax the boat with a good wax. After cleaning, apply a coat of wax to protect your boat from dirt sticking to it in the future.

Clean upholstery with a sponge and some water—dampen but don’t soak—and use dishwashing liquid as needed for those tough spots; rinse afterwards (don't dry). Use an old toothbrush or soft brush on any hard-to-reach areas like corners and crevices. If you have vinyl furniture on board, try using Armor All Tire Shine Gel - Original Protectant Sealant Spray - SA93217 (see below) instead of dishwashing liquid as it will give it added shine without drying out like dish soap would do!

Wash windows inside and out using Windex Original Glass Cleaner Concentrate & Tinting Cloth Pair Pack - 1810380991 (see below). Make sure you use window cleaner specifically designed for boats since they tend to be very oily because they contain special ingredients which repel water better than regular ones do!

Cleaning the inside of your boat

You’ll need to clean the floor, walls, ceiling, cupboards, sink and toilet.

You should also clean the shower and engine.

Finally, you should clean the fridge and stove.

Maintaining your boat

Regularly check the engine. If you're the one who drives your boat to and from the lake, take a moment to ensure everything is in good working order before you set off on a trip.

Keep your boat clean. Don't let it get dirty! A dirty boat will require more work when you're ready to clean it up.

Check fuel, oil and water levels regularly (at least once per month). Knowing that these are at proper levels means that any issues with maintenance can be addressed sooner rather than later - saving time and minimizing headaches later on down the line.

Check the battery regularly (at least once per month) as well - though this task tends to be easier than checking either of other two things mentioned above because batteries typically don't need changing very often unless they become damaged or worn out due to age or overuse by an inexperienced operator (like yourself!). A dead battery isn't uncommon after spending all day out on open waters so if yours does happen upon such misfortune make sure not only do keep track but also replace immediately so you don't find yourself stranded somewhere far away from home without much hope left for getting back safely again!

Keeping your boat clean is pretty easy, and will keep it looking new

By far the easiest way to keep your boat clean is regular maintenance. By establishing a routine and sticking with it, you can make sure your boat stays in good condition.

Clean the outside of your boat regularly by washing off any dirt or grime that has built up. Use something mild like soap and water or mild detergent if needed; avoid harsh chemicals that might damage the paint job or other parts of your boat.

Clean the inside of your boat regularly as well so it doesn't smell musty when you're on board (though fresh air is better than spending all day in an enclosed space). This includes cleaning out drains and vents, wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth, vacuuming rugs if they have them—and yes, we know this one's hard to do when there's no internet access nearby but don't worry about it until it becomes necessary!


Remember, a little bit of cleaning goes a long way. When done properly and regularly, you can avoid major issues like rust or mildew. And while it may seem that boat cleaning will take up your whole day, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you break it down into smaller tasks—and we promise it will be worth the time in the long run!

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