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Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Nautique

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  • Questions to Ask Before Buying Your Nautique

    There are a variety of questions to ask a seller before signing on the dotted line. We have broken it all down with the best general questions to ask, maintenance concerns you should keep in mind, and some additional tips to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

    1. Are you the original owner of the boat?

    a. How long have you owned the boat?

    2. Why did you decide to sell?

    3. Is there a warranty left on the boat?

    a. If yes, is it transferable?

    b. If yes, what does the warranty cover?

    4. How often was the boat serviced?

    a. Who serviced it?

    b. Do you have documentation of those services?

    5. How many hours has the engine been used? (An estimate will work)

    6. Where did you store the boat during the off-season and during a storm?

    7. What maintenance issues has the boat had?

    8. Were there any major repairs to the boat or outboard?

    a. Is this the original motor that came with the boat?

    9. Does the boat have any little quirks?

    10. What was the worst problem you had with the boat in your opinion?

    11. Was the boat used in saltwater or freshwater?

    a. If used in saltwater, did you rinse with freshwater after every use?

    12. Is there additional equipment included in the sale?

    a. Cover?

    b. Trailer?

    c. Personal Flotation Devices?

    Is the trailer galvanized or painted?

    13. What is the boat’s max HP?

    14. How is the condition of the wiring onboard?

    15. What is the condition of the boat’s accessories?

    a. Running lights?

    b. Lines?

    c. Anchor Chain and Amp?

    d. Rode?

    16. What condition are the electronics in?

    17. How many bilge pumps are there?

    a. In what condition are they?

    18. Would I be able to do a sea trial?

    19. Are float switches automatic?

    20. What size are the scuppers?

    21. Are there any cracks in the fiberglass?

    22. Is there any water in the transom?

    23. Are any hubs or bearing rusted?


    Other Tips:
    • Have the boat surveyed
    • Get the service records
    • Have the engine inspected by a certified marine professional
    • Look for any small cracks, mold, or moisture in the fiberglass and/or wooden areas. This can indicate rot in areas like the hull, transom, and floor. If any of these signs of rotting are found, I would personally walk away from the sale.
    • Look for loose seats, which can indicate the floor may be rotten (worst case-scenario), or the bolts are stripped.
    • Look for mildew on the seats, boat top, or carpet.
    • Check for thin, worn, or cracked belts.
    • Look at the oil in the outboard. If it feels gritty, this could indicate metal filings in the engine. This would be a big problem. If you have a suspicion that there is oil in the engine, ask to get it analyzed before the purchase.
    • Take a boat loan even when able to pay with cash. With the bank involved, they will go the extra mile to get a title search before loaning you the money. They require a certificate of title.


  • #2
    I applaud the effort here but this is pretty much a general boating punch list that in some cases doesn't make a lot of sense for a Nautique or for that matter any ski specific inboard/vDrive. You could basically eliminate a third of these questions by first doing the smart thing any person making a significant purchase (such as a boat) should do and that is research.Here are some suggestions that I would make.....

    Decide what you want before you look - Make a list of the activities you'll want to use the boat for and research which models would best fit those activities. Members of this and other enthusiasts sites are typically more than happy to share their experiences with various models within a given manufacture's product line both past and present.

    Set your budget - Whether it be $10K or $100K know your limits or at least you comfort zone for your purchase. Knowing this up front will help you zero in on what models and years you can realistically peruse. Once you have this locked in you can then use tools like NADA or Kellys to get a very general ideal of what models you might be interested in and which are going to be realistic for your budget.

    Define your target models and know them cold - The key to getting a good or fair deal is to know more about the product than anyone in the room. Once you have defined the boat you're going after down load the owner's manual for both the boat and the engines that were offered for the boat you're considering. Doing this now will eliminate many of the questions on the list and will signal to the seller that you are an informed buyer which is always a better position to negotiate from. Lastly here certain years that had certain problems. Whether it's vinyl, gauges or trailer components coming to a site like this will educate you on what to expect or look for in that model.

    Focus on the boat - While getting ropes, tubes and skis in a purchase is nice, never let the "toys" influence your purchase decision. You're here to buy the boat not someone's used gear that is not going to be worth much in the end. All you need to do is look on craigslist or go to a used sporting goods store to see how these items plummet in value once they leave the store. Keep your eye on the boat/trailer and only the boat/trailer. If the boat is advertised with a bunch of gear ask what the price is without it.

    Quick assessment and elimination- Another thing I do when shopping for myself or friends is to quickly look at the ad write up and pictures to move through available boats. Look for red flags that can either help you move past the junk or help you tune your questions so you don't waste your time. Examples would be.....
    • A boat with bottom paint - probably store in the water, not typical for these boats and will take value off the boat. Walk away.
    • A galvanized trailer - While some people love them the ones that do are typically salt water boaters. Salt water boats have a hard life and this is typically reflected in resale price. For me Salt diet boats are a no go.
    • New Engine - Why? High hours? poor maintenance? This can be good or bad. The questions here will all revolve around the quality of the engine, who did the swap and any usable warranty that may come with the engine/installation.
    • Newer boat with poor interior - This typically means poor care in general. If something like the interior is beat up, the engine it probably as bad or worse. Poor maintenance boats can be a great opportunity if you have the skills to repair them. The poorer the condition the higher the risk. The higher the risk the lower the price will be that I'm willing to pay.

    While I do see value in many of the questions I feel taking the approach above will serve you much better than spending needless time asking many of these questions.