Looking to buy a used boat tomorrow, suggestions?

I am going to be looking at a 1982 Chris Craft Scorpion 18’. Seems like a pretty good deal at $2500 w/trailer but the price scares me. Owner says it runs good, but obviously I will check that out.

What else should I check for? Someone else said that on these boats the transom would rot? Where is that and how can I check it? Any other suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

The transom is the flat, back end (stern) of a boat. I don’t know anything about that particular but, but I would find myself a good boat mechanic (you will likely need one at some point anyway) and find out how much they charge to give it the once over.

Just remember two things, the true definition of a pleasure boat is a large hole in the water into which you pour money. Also, the happiest two days of a boat owner’s life is the day he buys it and the day he sells.

Good luck, be safe.

It’s all about the engine. I think those have an IO, and trouble with either part of that could be very expensive. If the boat is watertight, and the trailer roadsafe, $2500 might be a good deal for boat without engine.

Always liked the lines of the Scorpion. Good luck…

I’m a boater as well. I have a Four Winns 328 Vista cruiser. My boat’s 35’ but what TriPolar says is true; it’s all about the engine.

A 1982 boat is quite seasoned, so I’d check to see if the boat has its original engine and, if so, if it has been properly maintained.

As far as the transom is concerned, I believe the transom on the boat you’re interested in is slatted wood, and I would be surprised if some work hadn’t been done on it already, so I’d definitely check that out.

Whatever you do, and I cannot stress this enough, get a professional survey done. It’s mandatory is some states; it is in New Jersey where I live, but it may not be in yours. It’s worth the investment, and can also give you a leg up when negotiating as the survey will give you a really good idea of what the boat is worth and what you should pay for it.

Also, if this is your first boat, I’d invest in a boating safety course, to get an understanding of the rules of the waterways in your area.

Thanks for the advice. I’m confused, though, as you first say it’s all about the engine and then say that the boat is worth the money without an engine. Is there any fast and dirty way to check for cracks in the hull before getting the once over done?

Another question: I assume that these boats tend to hold their value. Is it worth restoration work? For example, new upholstery, new carpets, rebuild the engine? Or are those usually just throw away costs?

Buying a boat will be the second happiest day of your boating life. Selling it later will be the first.

OMG… please report back on the type of engine/outdrive if she is an I/O.

I say there is a 90% chance that boat is on the ‘do not buy’ list. It’s likely on the ‘do not accept if free list’, too.

www.iboats.com Do NOT buy a boat until you check there.

Check out the cost of replacing the engine.

I will report back after I check it out tonight. Why do you say that it is a 90% “do not buy”?

Missed edit windows: He advertises it as a 305 V8 engine.

The trailer is probably worth $800 or so, which makes this a very cheap boat. Get a pro to check it out. I am currently looking at used pontoon boats, and the things I’ve seen!!

True all that!

We’ve bought used and sold them again, it helps if you’re already familiar with stuff like that, for replacing small parts, knowing what parts need repair. Small boats, those 18’ feet and under can be a good value, but it will have issues unless the seller has gotten it in good running condition. Still they are a bit of work in and out of the water.

We sold our 26’ party barge a few years ago, sold it to its 3rd or 4th owners had to be going on 20years old, the buyers (great people) came all the way from Flint to buy it!

Miss the 4 Winns run about used to have

currently have something on a trailer int he front yard, ?!blank ,16’ aluminum hull, basic early 70’s- classic boat, easy in and out.

Hey, here’s something I bet you haven’t heard. The two happiest…

Yep, I had a fishing boat with a 9.9 on it that I towed with a Ford Escort hatchback. After two years of hard use, I sold it for exactly what I had paid for it!

We have a saying in the old car world about a deal like this: If you can get $2500 worth of fun out of it without spending another dime, then you win. If it breaks, you sell it broken for what you can get and eat the rest. That’s how much the fun cost. The moment you begin the repair/restoration dance, you will get buried in the project and will never recover financially. If the boat/trailer is $2500, then a bad engine/drive will be another $2500-5000, a major hull repair will be whatever large number it is and new paint and upholstery will be $1500-$5000. At that point you have a $6000-7000+ boat. Is there a chance in hell you could sell it today for that? Would you pay that much for a boat exactly like the one you want that needs no repairs and is perfect? Would you pay more or less for one that has had a lot of repairs?
If that’s the exact style of boat you want, buy the best one on the planet and enjoy it. Any time you buy something because it’s cheap, you end up buried. Unless of course you like doing repairs - which is cool - and that’s part of the enjoyment. Don’t ask.

It’s a 305 Marine Power Engine with a Mercruiser stamp above the prop

So? Did you buy it?

I told the guy to give me a couple of days to think about it. The hull looks great. The engine looks clean. A mechanic is going over to take a look at it today. It looks…1982. Seems to have been well cared for: the guy says that it’s never broken down, selling it because his grandkids have outgrown it…I know, I know, but if he’s bullshitting me, he’s doing a good job.

One thing that concerns me is some of the comments upthread about how this might be a 90% don’t buy or don’t even take for free. I know it is only $2500, but to me that is too much to have a $2500 hunk of fiberglass in my yard if it doesn’t work out.

Thanks again for the replies.

The thing about owning a boat though is unless you’re mechanically/electrically inclined, or willing to take on some projects yourself most repair work needs to be sent out to get taken care of, and taken care of correctly.

Your $2,500 car breaks down on the side of the road? You’re stuck on the side of the road. Your $2,500 boat breaks down on the lake? It ends up underwater, and the next thing you know you and your passengers are caught in a current and sent out to sea, clinging to an Igloo Cube cooler that only has two beers, a couple of Capri Suns, and a half a sleeve of peanut butter crackers left in it. Then you have to start looking at each other and figure out which person is probably the weakest and is going to succumb to the elements first, calling dibs on the thigh meat because you really don’t want to be the guy that says, “I’ll take the butt.” And that would just be awkward.