Most people have heard of Carfax for uncovering a car’s history. Well, you can do the very same thing prior to purchasing a boat. If you have the hull identification number, you can go online and look up the history for free. It will tell you if the boat was damaged, in an accident, and much more.

Prior to obtaining boat insurance, you will need a surveyor to look the boat over. In some instances, it may not be necessary, if the boat is pretty new. If a survey was performed recently, that information may be available to you to review, to get an idea about the boat’s condition. Anything the surveyor finds should help you to negotiate the price and/or help you make the decision whether you want to spend the money necessary to make any repairs he recommends.

The boat’s value drops significantly within the first few years. A boat that has been equipped with many manufacturers’ options will maintain its value much longer. Limited-edition boats also retain their value for a much longer period of time. A well cared for boat will hold its value longer, as well.  You can save a bundle of money purchasing a boat that’s just a few years old and has been taken care of.

The costly replacements are the motor, engine, props shafts and runners. If the deck is delaminated, that’s a lot of work, too. If the boat’s electronic equipment is out-dated, you may want to stay away from it. Often times, the through holes won’t match the size of the replacement, necessitating major work to make them fit. You may end up buying a whole new panel to have everything match. On top of these issues, a sailboat could have very worn sails, which cost thousands to replace. The shrouds and stays are also expensive.

If the boat’s electronics have been updated, they increase the value of the boat. Other updates that add great value are the knot meter, depth finder, rudder indicator, auto-pilot, GPS, chart plotter, radar, fish finder or wind indicator.

In the navigation station, it’s a big plus to have repeaters and a sit down area. One of the latest, and most luxurious updates, is the bow thruster, an open tube that shoots water from one side to the other to assist in docking. Stern thrusters, in the back of the boat, serve the same purpose.

The hi-tech bonuses are great to have and are quite valuable. If there’s closed circuit tv for watching over different areas in the boat, it lets the captain know what’s going on at all times.

Salon and stateroom stereo systems and a flat screen television are great options to have.

The lower the engine hours, the better off you are. The more engine hours on a boat, the closer you are to replacing the engine. When the boat is equipped with a properly functioning generator, air conditioning, and refrigeration, you’re in good shape. If in bad shape, they can decrease the boat’s value quite a bit.

If you enjoy doing renovations, there are plenty of great deals to be made.