Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Buy a Used Boat Without Getting Duped

Boating is a fun activity for the entire family. You can enjoy some simple bird watching, fishing or just a simple sunny day diving in the lake. You do not have to spend an enormous amount of money buying a new boat to enjoy this fun activity. There are plenty of used boats for sale in great condition and at a really good price. In case you want to buy a used boat, here are a few things to consider. The overall maintenance condition of the boat can tell a lot about how the previous owner used and treated it.

Check the fiberglass

Look out for any cracks in the fiberglass above and below the waterline of the boat. In case you see small cracks that look like spider webs in localized areas, you do not need to worry too much. These can be easily fixed to prevent them from getting worse. In case the crack is larger than two inches, you should be concerned about larger problems inside the boat such as a collision. Gel coat patches are a great indicator of extensive repairs that should make you question the general condition of the boat.

Signs of damage

Check for general signs of damage in the fiberglass and wooden areas of the boat including the floor, transom and the hull. Flexing, cracking, mold and moisture are tell tale signs of wear, delamination of the plywood and break down of the fiberglass. This is not a boat you want to buy.


Thoroughly check the boat for any signs of mildew. Remember to check the storage lockers too. Even if the upholstery and covers have been cleaned and replaced, extensive molds inside the seats and other parts of the boat is a really bad sign of problems beyond what you can see.

Check the electronics

Ensure that all the electronics on the boat work. In case it needs electrical repairs, you can use this as a bargain point to reduce the cost of the boat. Things like burnt out bulbs are inexpensive to replace. However, if there are multiple devices not working, the boat could have serious wiring problems or a faulty battery, which costs so much more. In case the labels on the engine have peeled up and insulation wires have melted, you know the engine is overheating which is trouble that is even more expensive.

Start the engine

Just like a car, you can also get to test drive a boat to see how well it performs. When you start the engine, listen for excessive noise, unusual vibrations or excessive smoke. These could be symptoms of something as simple as old gas or too much oil, which can easily be fixed during a tune-up. It could also indicate bigger problems such as low compression in the cylinders, which requires an engine overhaul and this can be quite costly.

It is advisable to carry along a boat expert when inspecting used boats for purchase. You do not want to miss anything that could potentially cost you a lot of money.
Posted by: Stowaway Marine   http://stowawaymarine.net

Friday, March 18, 2016

Winterizing Your Boat for Ashore Storage

Boating is a fun activity for those who like being on the water. Storing your boat properly in winter will ensure that your boat is ready for the water in spring when the last of the snow melts away. Boating in winter is not possible because of the cold temperatures that often cause the water surface to freeze over, making this the best time to carry out repairs and maintenance on your boat. The following are some of the tips of winterizing your boat for storage.

Change the oil
Water and acids in the oil may end up corroding the engine and damaging it. You should change the filter and flush it out before changing your oil. You should always store your boat with fresh engine oil during winter.

Refresh the engine coolant system
You will also need to drain out the current coolant and flush it out with water. You can use antifreeze to replace the coolant. But you need to be very careful about the anti freeze products that you buy and diluting it to manufacturer specifications. The anti freeze solution is great for preventing your engine from freezing and also protecting parts of it from corrosion.

Spraying fogging oil
Winter can take a toll on the moving parts of your engine. Spraying fogging oils is crucial for protecting these moving parts. While your engine is turning over, spray the fogging oil through the spark plug holes or into the engines carburetor depending on the instruction manual.

Remove the drive belts
Drive belts are made of rubber. This rubber can get damaged when kept under tension for long while exposed to extreme temperatures. To prevent them from cracking under the tension stress, you can loosen or remove them and store them away until the end of winter.

Waterproof grease on the steering mechanism
You have probably noticed by now there is a lot of oiling and greasing going on. This is to keep every working part of the engine in great condition while in storage. A large tub of waterproof grease can come in handy for this process. Keep the steering and controls joints well greased up for smooth operation when you take your boat out of storage.

You should always disconnect your battery when the boat is in storage. Keeping the battery in circuit through the long winter months can drain it since there is a small amount of charge being lost every day. You should also charge the battery every once in a while to make sure it works when it is time to take the boat out of storage.

Fill in the gas tank
This helps to avoid condensation from building up in the empty tank. This condensation not only causes corrosion but can lead to worse damage if it freezes up. A gasoline stabilizer addition can also keep the fuel ready to use when it’s time to take out the boat.
Finally, seal the exhaust ports and other openings where pests and other small animals can enter through.

Posted By: Stowaway Marine  http://stowawaycenter.com/marine/index.html

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tips for Storing Your Boat in Winter

Boating activities usually subside in winter since most lakes are frozen over and the temperatures are too low to have fun. Then comes the all too important time of preparing your boat for storage. You need to take your boat out of the water for the cold season. There are various self-storage units that are designed specifically for boat storage. However you can’t just park your boat and leave it there for the next three or four months. You also need to do the following:

  • Take your boat out for one last trip before taking it out of the water. This final round gives you the perfect chance to see if there is anything that needs repair or replacement before winterizing your boat. This will ensure that your boat is ready to hit the water when spring comes around while everyone else is fiddling with wenches. You should mend any hull damage on your boat before storage since cracks and other forms of damage may get worse during storage.
  • Clean your boat thoroughly immediately it hauled out of the water. Your boat should be store completely clean. You should scrub off all the gunk and grime from the bottom of the boat. Scrub the decks and the cabin to make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned. You should also clean your hulls, strainers and open the seacocks to drain any water that may still be trapped inside. Wash your boat early enough to give it enough time to dry completely before going into storage. After cleaning, place mildew control bags in the cabin compartments to prevent that nasty storage stink.
  • To avoid damaging your engine during storage, top up your gas tank and add a gas stabilizer. This will reduce the risk of condensation, which can ruin your engine. Just before locking up for storage, run the engine for about 15 minutes so all the additives reaches the gas in the fuel lines and the boat engine. Replace engine oil and filters, check hoses, belts, clamps, clean the strainers and flush the coolant system while at it. You can buy an anti freeze formula for the storage period. This process can get quite complicated and you should consider leaving it to a qualified mechanic.
  • Remove the electronics from the boat before storage. You should remove the battery and store it in a warm and dry place. Make sure you clean the battery terminals of any corrosion and slightly grease them to prevent rusting too. You should store the battery in full charge; you can use a marine battery charger to do this.
  • Jack up the boat while it is in storage. You need to find a strong support system for the boat while it is out of the water. Proper hull placement will ensure it doesn’t become distorted or compromised. You can create a custom cradle for your boat that supports the engine, the bulkhead and the keel of your boat. 

Posted By: Stowaway Marine   http://stowawaycenter.com/marine/index.html

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Boat Buying Tips for First Time Buyers

If you are a first-time boat buyer, give yourself a lot of time to explore all the different options available before you make this important purchase. Boats area big investment and that’s particularly why you shouldn’t take the buying process lightly. You can find a good used boat at a fraction of the price of a new one. We’ll give you a few tips to help you get started.

Do your research
Like cars, you’ll find lots of places where they list the value of most used boats. You’ll need to go through these sites and have an idea of how boats are valued. It’s important to know what you want before you go shopping for a boat. Start with the price that you can afford. How much have you set aside for this purchase? This will guide you on the features to look out for.  Boats have certain specifications that make one better than the other and you’ll need to look at more than just the visual appeal.

Visual inspection
You can tell a lot about the boat itself by conducting a visual inspection. If the boat is dirty, scratched up and rusty, it could mean that it hasn’t been well maintained. Check the floor of the boat and walk over it. Any signs of rotting or poor construction should be a red flag. Just remember, the floor is usually one of the most expensive items on a boat to fix. But don’t buy a boat because of its flawless appearance. A used boat can look clean and shiny but this could be a disguise used to cover hidden problems.

Have a test drive
As soon as you’re done with the visual inspection, it’s important to take the boat for a test drive. Take it on the water and feel how the boat rides when you go fast, slow or make turns. This is the only way you’ll know how the boat operates before you buy. Go with your family or your friends for the test drive, the same way you would when going for a boating trip. It’s important to also get their approval before you buy the boat.

Find a reputable boat dealer
First of all, you’ll need to find a trustworthy dealer who can offer you a selection of boats that meet your budget and needs. You can find dealers who have over 20 boats to choose from. That’s better because you will not be restricted to a select few. Compare the boats offered by the dealer and decide what you like and don’t like. A good dealer should be able to advice you on what to look for in a good boat. You should easily tell whether someone is genuinely interested in helping you find a boat or just making a commission.

Hopefully, you now have an idea how to select the right boat. With this basic information on choosing a good used boat, you should now go out and have fun shopping for the best investment you’ll ever make. 

Posted By: Stowaway Marine   http://stowawaymarine.net

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Stay Safe While Boating

If you are planning on going boating, it’s wise to be prepared and plans ahead of time. Know what you can do during emergency situations and do your best to prevent accidents from happening. At the end of the day, the experience will be great if you plan for it accordingly. So here are some tips to help you stay safe when you go on your next boat ride.

Check the weather before you start riding
Weather patterns can tell you when it’s not appropriate to go boating. Avoid water bodies during periods of high tides. Watch out for quick weather changes that may put you in a dangerous situation whenever you choose to go boating. If you are not so sure about the weather and tides, it’s best to postpone the boat ride.

Wear appropriate life jackets
Always wear a life jacket when on a boat. It doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are; a good life jacket will help you to keep your face above the water in the event of an emergency. Make sure the lifejacket is the right size and the straps are tight enough.

Have a reliable means of communicating in case of an emergency
Anything can happen while on a boat ride and that’s why it is important to take all the necessary steps to keep yourself safe until you get help. First, always tell other people where you are planning on going and when you expect to be back. Secondly, carry with you something that you can use to alert others during an emergency such as a whistle, a flare or your mobile phone. If you are using the phone, make sure it’s waterproof and fully charged. However, don’t rely so much on the phone because it may lose signal if you decide to go further away from land.

Attend a boating safety course
This gives you the opportunity to learn about boating safety from the professionals. You can also have your vessel checked by the authorities to ensure it is safe for use. Such causes will cover the basics of identifying signs of danger and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from any danger. You may also need to enroll in CPR training so as to know how to help someone in an emergency situation.   

Avoid alcoholic drinks when boating
Drinking while on your boat ride is not recommended because a lot can go wrong when you are not sober. Some people may even insist on jumping into the water for a swim while drunk and this can be life threatening. Wait until you get back on land to enjoy your drink.

Have an alarm or sensors installed on the boat

They can help to notify you in case of danger such as fumes that are emanating from the engine. When you know the source of danger, it is easy to work towards eliminating it. Sensors or an alarm system on your boat may seem like a costly installation but it may end up saving a life.  

Posted By: Stowaway Marine  http://stowawaymarine.net

Friday, October 16, 2015

5 Tips That Help You Properly Price Your Boat For Sale

When you're ready to sell your boat, trying to determine its boat book value can be tough. You don't want to put the price to high because no one will buy. On the other hand, you don't want to list the boat price much too low because you'll sell quickly, but you definitely won't get its full worth. The price needs to be just right to make your buyer and your wallet happy. When you're ready to start trying to find the right price to sell your boat at, keep these 5 helpful and informative tips in mind.
1. Do your research about your particular boat
The best place to start to discover your boat book value is online. Run a Google search on the year and model of your boat; you can also include keywords that offer more information like used, for sale, and price. The goal of this exercise is to see what other boat owners are pricing your particular boat at. Of course, this isn't an exact number because other factors like condition and use come into play.
2. Check out other boats for sell in your area
If possible, search seller pages like Craigslist for other boats for sale in your area. Sometimes the state, city, or area where a boat is being sold will have an impact on its price. Try to run a search for you model of boat being sold in your area. This will give you an even better understanding of what a boat book value would be for a sale in your area.
3. Talk to a local dealer
Sometimes it's best to talk to a professional. If there's a local dealer in your area, make an appointment to go in and ask a few questions. Remember to take photos of your boat and any questions you have with you to the meeting. As the local dealer what he or she thinks might be the best boat book value.
4. Sell at the beginning of boating season
Some boat owners advise that the best time to get a great price for your boat would be at the beginning of boating season. This is when people are really looking to purchase, and if everything else is either taken or priced too high, they'll look toward purchasing a used boat from an owner.
5. Prep your boat for sale
After you've decided on your boat book value, begin to prepare for the sale. You'll want to clean and detail your boat. When taking photos to post on websites for sale, be sure that you're taking clear and high-resolution photos. Sometimes people will want to try and negotiate over the price that you've asked for. Whether you will entertain negotiations or not is absolutely your decision. If you do decide to accept offers, people might be more comfortable buying a higher priced clean boat.

Posted By: Stowaway Marine  http://stowawaymarine.net

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tips for Maintaining your Boat in Mint Condition

Boating is a fun activity. Nothing is a relaxing and liberating as being on the open waters. If you are a first time boat owner, the most important thing you need to know about boating is maintaining your boat.

Wash the boat regularly
Washing your boat is very important, especially if you boat in saltwater. You need to rinse the boat with fresh water first to remove all the salt residue because it will prevent the cleaning agents from being effective. Salt from saltwater boating also corrodes fasteners and metals on your boat. You should find the right cleaning agent for the gel coat. You can also use carwash soap to clean your boat.

Change the oil
Boat engines run quite similar to car engines. You need to check and change the oil as frequently as you use the boat.  In most case, you will need to change the oil after every 100 hours of use. If you do not use the boat very often, you may need to change the oil only once a year. To change the oil, you will need an oil extractor pump that can remove all the old oil through the dipstick tube. Replace new oil in the fill port when you are sure you have gotten all the old oil out. In case your engine has a drain tube, then you do not have to get the pump. You can refer to the manufacturer’s manual to take the boat to a service shop for the engine change.

Make sure to use marine grade oils since boat engines work much harder than car engines. You cannot use automotive oil on your boat.

Check the propellers before launching
Outboard or stern drive boats have propellers that rotate in the water to move the boat. The spinning movement of the propeller often entangles a lot of items that can cause it to jam up in future. Your propeller can end up wrapped in old fishing nets, fishing lines, water vegetation and other debris floating in the water. Make sure you inspect your propellers for any dents or damage as it could affect the boat’s performance and cause it to use more fuel when running. In case you notice anything obstructing the propeller or propeller shaft, call a technician to handle the repairs.

You also need to grease the propeller shaft to maintain a smooth rotating motion throughout the drive. You need to use special waterproof grease, which is more effective under water. You have to remove the propeller blades to grease properly but make sure you put everything back the same way you took it out.

Leave the hard work to the professionals
Unless you are a DIY enthusiast who has done this before, you should leave all the repair work to the professionals. Most vehicle owners will approach the boat engine similar to a car engine when there are numerous differences and this can put your safety at risk. In case of any problems with running the boat, call a qualified technician to trouble shoot and repair.

Posted by: Stowaway Marine http://stowawaymarine.net