How to Buy a Bass Boat in 5 Simple Steps

Looking for a bass boat to purchase can sometimes seem like a daunting task. There are many styles, makes, and features to choose from. The following steps break the boat buying process down into 5 manageable steps.

Define Your Budget
Today’s Bass Boats are highly specialized fishing machines, with many innovative features to choose from. As you begin your search for your new boat, you will have to learn how those features will align with your boat buying budget.

Just like with cars, there are many brands of boats available, each of which has a perceived value and resale value. Keep this in mind, as you may be able to get more boat for your dollar just by looking at different brands in the same boat class. By doing this, you may be able to upgrade other important equipment on the boat such as your electronics.

If you are not buying the boat with cash, you should visit your bank to make sure how much you will be approved for. This will help narrow your search in the next stages, when you begin browsing the boat listings for features and price.

Create Your Feature Wish List
The first thing to consider is what size hull and engine you will be shopping for. Will you be storing it outside or in a garage where you might have limited space? A larger boat may be able to fit in a garage if it has a swing away trailer tongue. Another important feature is a good quality trolling motor, and an onboard battery charger.

Decide how much storage you need, and if you will need large sized rod lockers. Most bass boats come with a port and starboard rod locker, along with 1-2 large storage compartments on the front of the boat, and 2 smaller stow boxes in the rear.

If you fish in tournaments, the live-well should be an important feature as well. Different makes have different sized live-wells, and different layouts. Generally, you will want the larger capacity and deeper live-wells in your boat to keep your fish healthy.

Search Listings
There are many excellent websites for browsing used boat listings. Do an internet search for “bass boat listings” or “bass boats for sale” and you will find some good sites with a wide variety of listings from many different states. These sites are updated frequently, so checking often can pay off. If you are shopping for a new boat, you can find dealers for each manufacturer online. Budget Boat

Look/Test Drive/Certify
When you find a boat that meets your feature list, and is within your budget, it’s time to contact the seller and go see the boat in person. When you visit the seller, make sure to have a list of questions you have about the boat. You might want to know the history behind it, how many previous owners its had, and where it originated. You can ask about the service history of the boat, and how many hours of operation the engine has on it. Ask if the boat comes with a cover.

Take a good look over the boat itself. Check that the trailer and tires are in good condition, and that there is a spare tire. Examine the hull for any major scratches, gouges, or spider webbing on the fiberglass, as this may indicate a possible accident the boat was in. Next look at the carpet, seats, lights, and gauges to make sure they all are in working condition. All of the questions and looking can prevent any surprises, and save you money for having to replace something after you have purchased the boat. Used boats are never perfect, so use your best judgment when it comes to determining the condition of the boat.

If at all possible, you should ask to take a test drive, to make sure the boat operates in the way that you expect it to. Check that the engine idles well, runs smoothly, that the ride is good, and that the boat gets on plane easily.

Get Financing & Insurance
Now that you’ve found a boat that meets your feature list, and checks out in person, you now need to agree on a purchase price with the seller. You can use other listings and NADA Boat Guide prices as a guideline for negotiating the price. Once you and the seller have agreed to a selling price, you need to go to your bank to complete the financing and purchase details.

You’ve now invested significant time and money into your new boat, but before you take the boat out for the first time, you must have boat insurance. To understand what coverage you’ll need, make sure you read up about bass boat insurance.