BOAT BUYING TIPS (12) – The on-water test

It’s unlikely you’d buy a car without test driving it first, so take that same approach to buying a boat.

It’s when you ask to test a boat on the water that a lot of salespeople start to come up with excuses: “It’s too windy… we don’t have time… we don’t have one available to test…” are some of the common excuses.

If the boat is as good as they say it is, they must be prepared to prove it to you on the water. If they want to take your money without being prepared to prove the boat to you, this is the time to walk away. The boat is probably a lemon and will not perform.

The reality is that all boats perform well on a calm day. The big test is to test a boat in a bit of wind. Ideally, 15-20 knots of wind and up to a metre of wind chop. It’s at a time like this that the boat will either pass or fail the test.

Ask the salesperson to run the boat with the waves. Then run the boat into the waves. Stop the boat and see how stable it is at rest. Stand at the side and get a feel what it’s like to fish from. Sit on the side decks.

Ask the salesperson to do a few tight turns with the motor trimmed in. Does the prop aerate and engine over rev in tight turns? Note how fast the boat gets onto the plane. Note if the boat feels predictable and comfortable through the water. Does the engine seem well suited to the boat?

Note how well the boat launches and retrieves on and off its trailer.

If you’re satisfied with the boat after the on-water test, that’s the time to sign a contract for your new boat.

Our dealers really put Bar Crusher boats through their paces during on-water tests to demonstrate what each boat can do and handle. If the wind is up and the water’s choppy, don’t be afraid to ask… it’s in these conditions when Bar Crusher boats really set themselves apart from the pack!

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