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Buying Without Sea Trial?

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Old 12-18-2016, 08:07 PM
  #21
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Wow! I'm surprised at the responses here, I thought everyone would say a sea trial is essential. Seems it's about 50/50.

I used to say to friends "Did you buy that $30 pair of jeans without trying them on?" Its easy to give advice but difficult to take it. I've bought many boats without sea trials and some unseen too. I've only ever surveyed one. Maybe I've been lucky, never had any major disappointments. As people have said here, it's a used boat so expect some things will need attention. No used boat is perfect.

I would sea trial if it's convenient but don't be put off if it can't be done. Investigate thoroughly, check out the vendor and get a good/bad feeling for his honesty and integrity then go for the jugular on price! Try for the absolute best deal you can get from him and accept there may be problems after sale. Happy shopping!

RR

P.S. I still try on jeans before buying but I'll take my chances with a boat.

Last edited by rak rua; 12-18-2016 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:08 PM
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You have to sea trial it unless you know someone personally who has recent experience with the boat.
Some people do shady stuff when selling like putting on junk parts, keeping the right props, etc. etc.

I got screwed on a Yamaha PWC purchase and a Sunkisst jet boat purchase, both that I bought without sea trials.
I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:24 AM
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sea trial is a test drive , all systems go ? unless you know seller honesty and boat condition intimately why not / who all buys cars trucks toys bikes big rigs heavy equipment without a test drive ? anybody ?
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:01 AM
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I bought my last boat sight unseen and couldn't be happier. Upon arrival, it was in even better condition than I expected.

It did make me a little nervous buying without testing or even seeing the boat, but all turned out ok.
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Old 12-19-2016, 09:32 AM
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I'm in Florida too, looking for a used boat. Those MCOB's are hard to find in this region, for some reason. So, you do have to expand your search quite a bit. I WAS looking for a MCOB, but have decided to go with a
performance style center console for the first time. Both of my Formula's I purchased without a test drive. However, both needed engine work that I knew about up front. Ideally, sea trial. But, like others have said, just make sure you get a good comfort level with the seller and a survey, then go for it! My biggest concern with the Northern boats is whether or not they were winterized properly. That almost requires a sea trial. But, I bet the surveyor could do that for you.

As a side note, due to a ear issue, I am unable to fly. So, unless I can find a deal locally, I'll be in the same situation as you, OP. I'd like to find a twin engine CC that could use a repower for a great price and buy the hull!! Then, I get new(er) motors with warranty. Problem solved (like I did with the other Formulas).

Survey (or not) and buy (or not) and then SHIP IT & hope for the best!!

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:08 AM
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I (from CT) bought a used boat from Texas sight unseen. It was a big ass 1982 40ft Excalibur Hawk that had a bunch of money into it with big power. The owner had a very extensive build thread and many many pics of the boat to offer. At first I was sceptical .,..but after talking to the owner a few times, my nerves were at ease, and I shipped the boat to CT without placing a finger on it.It was alot of money for me to give up not test driving the boat first, but I took a chance and the boat was everything the owner said it was. I would buy a boat from TXHAWK again no questions asked if it ever happened again....It would be nice to assume that most boaters would be honest, but reading the horror stories on here, I know thats not the case!
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:28 AM
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I took my Active Thunder for a test drive on December 23rd at 28 degrees. It was a miserable experience, but I felt better about the whole purchase knowing it ran as expected.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:05 AM
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...To contradict myself:

I sold my 26 Sonic years ago, sight unseen from Virginia to Montana. I sent him Gigs of pictures, and had a pretty good reputation here on OSO. (That has since gone by the wayside. )

But, if you feel like the seller has a decent reputation in the industry/community; that's a little better in your risk equation.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:20 AM
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If your looking at boats that have wood stringers, transom, etc. it;'s even more critical you do homework on surveyors and get the best you can afford. Google their business, their name, find out everything you can. Honestly, after talking to a good amount of surveyors over the phone the past 15 years, the knowledgeable ones show thru in the first few minutes. Also make sure the surveyor can talk your type of boat with you. Nothing is guaranteed, surveyor could be a flake on the job, drives blow at your first full throttle, 5 of 6 tires blow out on the ride home, etc. Since your buying a boat in the winter, it should be priced accordingly and negotiate enough room in it to cover problems or issues because of the less than perfect buying environment. If at any time the deal makes you nervous back off and go to plan "B". It's a boat, nothing more than that.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:34 PM
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Fly Ed Cozzi out to look at it.
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