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"Things to Consider When Buying a New or Used Boat"
By: Chad Morgenthaler


Today the cost of a fully rigged bass boat can put a real strain on family finances.  Buying a new or used boat is a major purchase and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Even though it’s a serious matter, if approached in the right way it can be an enjoyable process.     

Over the past 15 years I’ve bought and sold a lot of new and used boats.  Sifting through the information can be frustrating, so I’ve put together a few tips and suggestions for buying your next rig.

Research, research, research, and never buy on impulse. I can’t stress these points enough.  With internet access anglers can learn a tremendous amount of information regarding the boating industry without ever leaving home.  All major manufactures have websites describing their products in detail.  Most sites also have programs available so anglers can pick and choose their boat options, layout, and colors then print an actual image of their choices. 

After viewing the manufacture’s sites check out local marine dealers.  Nowadays a growing number of dealers have websites listings their new and used boats.  Nameoki Village Marine is the largest volume bass boat dealer in the St. Louis area, and they have a great site for anglers  Using a reputable dealer to purchase a used boat can provide anglers with valuable information. More than likely the used boat was a trade-in and probably sold new to the previous owner.  In this situation it’s highly probable that the marine dealer has all the service records.  If not, the dealer has at least checked the boat and motor for problems before taking it in on trade

Don’t rule out bass fishing websites such as   I would use caution, but not shy away from these types of sites. Anglers can find really good deals this way.  I’ve personally had very good experiences from selling a certificate for a new boat as well as several used boats by placing an ad on a similar site.

 If buying a used boat from an ad set a few ground rules.  Make sure the seller is within driving distance so test driving is an option.  Have a list of questions ready including, engine service record, warranty, and boat use.  Make sure and pay attention to carpet and upholstery wear and tear.  This is the first indicator regarding how well the boat was maintained.  Make sure the trolling motor and electronics will at least meet your requirements, and don’t forget to check for worn trailer tires.  All of these items can be very costly to replaced, so know what you’re buying. 

Purchasing a new boat is a little simpler.  Most anglers have a boat preference, but I suggest doing a little research to make sure the company hasn’t had a lot of past problems.  A company’s history, good or bad, can determine future resale value.  Whether purchasing new or used, the most important thing to consider is brand recognition.  Like with automobiles, there are boats that will not hold-up as well as others.   Use caution and protect your investment by staying with a name brand that has longevity in the business, such as Ranger Boats.  Even though a Ranger boat is costly, they are quality built and have a high resale value.  

Use the same philosophy for all required equipment.  I run a Yamaha engine, Minn Kota trolling motor, and Lowrance electronics. I’m sponsored by these companies, but I also have full confidence in their products and their reliability. 

Make sure and load your boat with the correct electronics.  Lowrance’s GPS units and depth sounders, such as the X26c HD, is an excellent choice.  Always keep in mind where and how you fish before selecting a trolling motor. Trolling motors are fairly matched out of the factory, but if fishing in a lot of current situations I suggest upgrading to a 36 volt 101 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor to handle the job.  If towing long distances consider purchasing a tandem trailer.  It will make all the difference in the world during long hauls.  When selecting a motor check with the dealer.  The dealer will know the allotted horse power recommend by the boat manufacture.  The boat will handle and resale much better by staying within the manufacture’s recommendation

Regardless if purchasing a new or used rig, be smart and protect your investment and stay with good quality name brands.  Research the market and find a boat that will best suit your needs.  Make sure it has the proper equipment and was well maintained. There are a lot of different choices, so be smart when spending your hard earned cash. 

A special “Thanks” to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano , Table Rock Tackle, Penetrator, Reaction Innovation and Nameoki Village Marine.

Make sure and log onto my web site and signup for my fan club.  E-newsletters are forwarded monthly and one lucky winner each month receives a prize.  Tournament summaries are posted after each tournament and pro tips are updated every two weeks.  It’s a great source of bass fishing information.