Boat Buyer's Guide:
Checklist for Buyers and Sellers
Evaluating a boat's condition before purchase makes it easier for the prospective owner to say "good buy" or "good bye" to a deal. Likewise, an objective eye for problems that need to be corrected makes it easier to prepare a boat for sale.
Use the checklist below to make a preliminary evaluation:
- Make copies for each boat you look at
- Rate each area using a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = poor and 5 = excellent
- You may want to keep shopping if your evaluation has more than 10 scores of 2 or under.
- Take a good hard look at what shape the boat is in:
- Is it clean?
- Are there signs of rust, hull blisters, peeling paint or varnish, previous repairs, cracks or corrosion?
- Don't forget to check operating gear like winches, steering systems, running and standing rigging on sailboats, lights, head and galley equipment, electronics and instrumentation.
- Start up the engine and take a sea trial.
- Check for compliance with U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment requirements listed on the BoatUS Buyer's Guide USCG Minimum Requirements section.
This checklist is NOT a substitute for inspections by a competent marine surveyor and a marine engine mechanic. For more information visit the BoatUS Buyer's Guide Sea Trials section.
1 - 5
- Bottom Surface
- Hull Finish
- Helm Station
- Hull-to-Deck Joint
- Molding Trim
1 - 5
- Water Tightness
- Cabin Security
- Locker Space
- Gallery Equipment
- Head/Holding Tank
- Air Conditioner
1 - 5
- Steering System
- Shifting System
- Wiring Connection
- Bilge Pump(s)
- Fuel Tank(s)
1 - 5
- Running Rigging
- Standard Rigging
Click to Download Printable PDF Version of Boat Checklist