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Used Boat purchase- How Old is too old?

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Used Boat purchase- How Old is too old?

Old 12-15-2018, 11:31 AM
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Default Used Boat purchase- How Old is too old?

We have been sailing for the last 6 years and are considering going to a powerboat for many reasons. I'd like to be in the 38 to 44 foot range and have been looking around at what i consider Coastal Cruising powerboats. it's surprising how much more expensive powerboats are than sailboats and therefore i am looking at used boats.

How old is too old in a powerboat purchase? Is 10 yrs old pushing it? I would like twin diesels, so the same question applies - how many hours is too many?

I know there are a lot of factors involved here, but just for rough estimates should I not consider 15 yr old boats?

I'm learning about the whole pod drive thing , and it seems like that is a touchy subject ...almost like politics these days.

Thanks in advance
Old 12-15-2018, 12:05 PM
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simply put old is never too old. old does not necessarily mean condition. I bought a 18 yr old power boat with 18 year old motors. research each boat you are looking at and the motors that it is powered by. Evaluate each boat on a case by case basis.
Old 12-15-2018, 12:14 PM
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THT Used Boat Buying Guide...

1. No wood

2. Nothing tippy

3. Pic of Wife on each potential purchase that complies with #1 and #2 above.

Old 12-15-2018, 12:17 PM
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I do diesel engine surveys as part of my business. I have seen ten year old engines that flunked due to neglect, and seen fifty year old engines that passed with flying colors.

I do not get concerned with hours. A high hour engine in good shape... Is in good shape. Above around 5000hrs, things get a lot more scrutiny, especially if high output and a planing hull.

Trawler type boats the engines can last dang near forever. If maintained.

My favorite boats to do a checkout on are the ones that have just finished a long trip, like back from the Caribbean or just finished the Great Loop. The owners did what they intended and now time to sell the boat and move on. Anything that wants to fail likely already did it and got fixed.

The worst boats are the Dock Queens. Might not have been anywhere in YEARS. SOOOO many problems on those. Some obvious, some hide really well. Nightmares for me...

Post what you are looking at. If a trawler type boat, 10yr old could be considered in its prime.

Post what engines. There are several popular engine mfr's, and all make some really great engines and some not so great. And even the great engines have some spots that need special attention for a happy life.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:41 PM
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I would take my 40+ anywhere I would take a new one .
Old 12-15-2018, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Flybull View Post
THT Used Boat Buying Guide...

1. No wood




Hmmm,..... why??????

My boat is 61 year old cedar on oak, with a pair of 61 year old engines and I am comfortable going wherever I want in her.
The comments I get where I keep the boat are ďI donít know why you have a slip, ... your boatís never in itĒ.

Last edited by NedLloyd; 12-15-2018 at 06:35 PM.
Old 12-15-2018, 09:17 PM
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I think I might draw the line at a boat that is older than I. By the way, I am 70.
Old 12-15-2018, 09:23 PM
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Isn't this exact same thread already happening?

Edit: yep When is old too old?

Looks like this one was first by an hour.

Last edited by Lookinup76; 12-15-2018 at 09:41 PM.
Old 12-15-2018, 09:29 PM
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1976 35 bertram repowered in 2005 out to the northeast canyons all the time. Just pick a good hull and make sure itís maintained.
Old 12-16-2018, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by prowlersfish View Post
I would take my 40+ anywhere I would take a new one .
X2
Old 12-16-2018, 07:02 AM
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For most people, knowledge does not come from experience but rather from what they've heard and have accepted. For example, many people accept that global warming is man made and foretells the end of the world. Probably not. If the earth is warming to dangerous levels, which is very doubtful, it is not because of man made actions. The Ice Ages had nothing to do with man made actions either. It's just change.

Just so, many have been told that wood in boats is a death sentence. Probably not. Nothing lasts forever. Wood has been used in boats for thousands of years. No need to dread a boat which has any wood in it. Fiberglass has been used for boats for much less time than wood has. I would not buy a boat made entirely of wood, but I wouldn't run from a boat just because it has wood in it.
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Reachport View Post
For most people, knowledge does not come from experience but rather from what they've heard and have accepted. For example, many people accept that global warming is man made and foretells the end of the world. Probably not. If the earth is warming to dangerous levels, which is very doubtful, it is not because of man made actions. The Ice Ages had nothing to do with man made actions either. It's just change.

Just so, many have been told that wood in boats is a death sentence. Probably not. Nothing lasts forever. Wood has been used in boats for thousands of years. No need to dread a boat which has any wood in it. Fiberglass has been used for boats for much less time than wood has. I would not buy a boat made entirely of wood, but I wouldn't run from a boat just because it has wood in it.
And lets not forget they STILL build wood boats new!
Old 12-16-2018, 08:27 AM
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Age is usually a trade off of price. The older the cheaper. Age doesn’t bother me. What concerns me is things difficult to change. Almost all fiberglass can be repaired by pros with just time and materials. But many older boats had wood bulkheads and stringers. Now things get difficult. Up to and including a full gutt job. Now it’s not fun and very time consuming.
Old engines especially diesels may be difficult to find parts. That could mean replacing. That’s another big problem.
If I was buying an older boat and I have no problem doin so, I would look at what major problems will I soon come upon. It could be said “ pay now, pay later”. I just bought a new to me boat and paid top dollar. It’s 8 years old and looks like it just left the factory. It was not a mistake. 130 hours later , not one problem. I could have bought the same boat at half the price. I assure you I would be right back to my price point after all the repairs and updates. I didn’t want the work or the down time. Something to consider.
Old 12-16-2018, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by gregb5220 View Post
And lets not forget they STILL build wood boats new!

Like many custom multi million dollar cold molded sport fish .

Wood can make a better boat
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Old 12-16-2018, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post



Hmmm,..... why??????

My boat is 61 year old cedar on oak, with a pair of 61 year old engines and I am comfortable going wherever I want in her.
The comments I get where I keep the boat are ďI donít know why you have a slip, ... your boatís never in itĒ.

Just in case anybody else didn't see my 's when I posted the THT Used Boat Buying Guide...

... IT WAS TONGUE-IN-CHEEK, PEOPLE...!!!

Nothing wrong with wood in certain instances in my book...
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Old 12-16-2018, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by prowlersfish View Post
Like many custom multi million dollar cold molded sport fish .

Wood can make a better boat
I grew up on a 36' wheeler. Nothing rides like wood.
Old 12-17-2018, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Flybull View Post
Just in case anybody else didn't see my 's when I posted the THT Used Boat Buying Guide...

... IT WAS TONGUE-IN-CHEEK, PEOPLE...!!!

Nothing wrong with wood in certain instances in my book...

And that's why I replied with four Lol

Sometimes we have to explain things to you plastic boat guys.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Flybull View Post
Just in case anybody else didn't see my 's when I posted the THT Used Boat Buying Guide...

... IT WAS TONGUE-IN-CHEEK, PEOPLE...!!!

Nothing wrong with wood in certain instances in my book...
Would that be morning wood?
Asking for a friend.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ReelPlumber View Post
Would that be morning wood?
Asking for a friend.
Pic of friend...???
Old 12-17-2018, 03:29 PM
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I found that age wasnt the big issue. How the boat had been maintained is much more important. As noted slip queens are often neglected. Often they run just well enough to be moved once or twice a year to meet marina rules. There is an old scow that is at the shore end of the pier Iím on that is so old and decrepet that I think if it sinks it wonít be far down. I noted that late in the fall he attached a 2x6 with an old outboard motor on it. I suspect just so he could move it temporarily. It has a chimminy in the middle and yesterday I noted about two cords of fresh split wood on the shore. A nice curly of wood smoke was coming out of the chimminy. He has 3 propane tanks on the deck. You canít have propane inside the boats but outside is ok.

My boat is an Ď89 34 foot express cruiser. I had expected to be one of the smaller boats and older however, itís the largest on the pier except for one house boat and the newest. Looking at others in the marina, there are many older boats and only a few newer but smaller boats.

If you are going to be on big water I certainly would look toward diesel power. I have a 99 Dodge dually truck with a Cummins thatís got 400k + miles on it and it still runs perfectly. Iím not sure how many hours that represents but since I drive about 55-65 most of the time on the highway and something less elsewhere.i guess there is beyond 10k hours on it. Boats load the motors more but diesel donít suffer gas washed cylinder walls and acidic oil like gas motors do.

As far as operation a twin engine big boat is pretty easy to operate once you understand how the shifters and throttles work. Even on one motor they arenít that difficult.

The big power boat will have various issues no doubt and older will mean updates rather than repairs. Do investigate AC,HEAT, water, hot water, and various bilge and air pumps. Refrigerators and cooking appliances often need replacing rather than repairs.

Mine just broke a roller in the cabin door that locked it up. This could have been very bad if I had been in the cabin. As it is, it will be an issue that I had not counted on fixing. I have not found a lot of help from the Internet on this so Iíve had to just dig into it and learn as I go.

So you have to really look at the boat. This is where surveys help by showing problem areas. You may not get all the issues but the important ones will stand out.

Be careful and thorough in your investigation regardless of age.

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