How to buy used? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-10-2015   #1
 
New Castle, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 85
How to buy used?

I see a lot of people asking the similar question of what raft to buy for their first boat, however I don't see a lot of people asking how to buy a boat. I too am looking for my first raft, and wondering, what questions should I ask as I look at used boats?

I seem to find a lot of more affordable boats coming from commercial companies, however I don't really know what to look for when I go and check out a boat. I have been screwed over in the past buying used stuff without having the knowledge of what I'm looking for. I am hoping this community might help me with a few questions as I search for a raft.

What questions should someone ask when checking out a used boat?
What do you look for when checking out a boat in person?
What advice would you give to someone looking at used boats?

Thanks!

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Old 02-10-2015   #2
 
InflatableSteve's Avatar
 
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Questions to ask:

How has the boat been stored? Inside and inflated to soft pressure is best, but rolled and stored is fine to. As long as it isn't just thrown outside with no cover.

How much use has the boat seen?

Are there any leaks, patches or any repairs that have been done or need to be done.

Do your best to get a strait answer of what comes with the boat (if anything) and what shape the gear is in.

Things to do:

If you get the chance to look at a boat in person, ask them if they will inflate the boat. Doesn't have to be to full operating pressure, but enough to be able to spot any damage or find leaks.

Ask if you can do a soapy water test. This is done by spraying soapy water on the inflated boat and see if you can spot bubbling. This is an indicator of a pinhole leak.

Check all the valves and make sure they work well and are in good shape.

Check for fading in the material color. Most boats fade over time from use, but if it looks really faded, it may have been left out in the sun and this can cause the boat to start to deteriorate.

If there have been repairs made or it needs a couple of repairs, doesn't mean that the boat is no good. It just depends on how well the repair is done. A properly repaired boat can last for years.

Good luck on your search!
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Old 02-10-2015   #3
 
New Castle, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
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So let's say I find a used boat with patches, is that necessarily a bad thing? I've seen a few used boats in the classifieds on this site with patches that are tempting.
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Old 02-10-2015   #4
 
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I just went through this process for buying my first boat, and learned a lot...I would first recommend to see if you could get the boat taken to a repair shop and have it inspected prior to purchasing, just like you would a take a used car to mechanic for an inspection before buying.

If you cant do that then first get real familiar with how boats are constructed... especially the self-bailing floor. Then I would do the following when inspecting a boat for purchase.

1. go to a hardware store and buy one of those pressurized spray bottles for gardening and weeds. Fill it with a bottle of dishsoap, and spray down the entire boat looking for leaks. They will be pretty obvious. Dont fear a few small patches, but this can easily run you $100 in patch materials and glue, so account that into the purchase price

2. The main tubes are composed of 4 chambers and separated by a baffle inside. Blow up each chamber separately to make sure the baffles are not blown. If they are blown then run away.

3. Take a hard look at the floor. If there are long patches running the length of the floor, then an ibeam has likely been blown in the past. run away. A new floor can cost around $2000. If there are regular patches for small tears, this could also mean the water has gotten into the floor and damaged the ibeams.

4. Inspect the material to see it appears to be worn out, or sundamaged... this was a tough one for a new boat buyer because you wont have a good frame of reference for what is acceptable wear.

5. Most importantly... I have found most people in the river community to be very honest and trustworthy. If there are any major problems then I would hope they would be honest with you about them. If the guy selling it does not seem to be fully trustworthy, or seems like they might be holding something back then I would also just walk away.
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Old 02-10-2015   #5
 
InflatableSteve's Avatar
 
Cave Creek, Arizona
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Also, if you plan on buying an Aire, check the zippers.

If you plan on buying a glued boat, check all or the seams to see if the glue is starting to separate anywhere along the boat.
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Old 02-10-2015   #6
 
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Cave Creek, Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPG87 View Post
So let's say I find a used boat with patches, is that necessarily a bad thing? I've seen a few used boats in the classifieds on this site with patches that are tempting.
Like I said, it really just depends. I suggest you watch videos on how to patch a boat. NRS has a few of them. Make sure you watch videos on patching both rubber and PVC boats. This will give you an idea of what the finished product should look like and the posses that needs to be done. Then ask them what materials and glues they used to patch the boat. This should give you an idea of weather or not it was done properly.
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Old 02-10-2015   #7
 
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
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One note on patches... For large tears, then a patch needs to be placed on the inside. this is the air hold patch. The patch on the outside is just for cosmetic reasons. If it is just a small holes, tears or leaks, Ive been told one small patch on the outside is fine. So if you see a large patch, ask if there was an inside patch installed.
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Old 02-10-2015   #8
 
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Cave Creek, Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdf48 View Post
One note on patches... For large tears, then a patch needs to be placed on the inside. this is the air hold patch. The patch on the outside is just for cosmetic reasons. If it is just a small holes, tears or leaks, Ive been told one small patch on the outside is fine. So if you see a large patch, ask if there was an inside patch installed.
To OP. General rule of thumb from what I heard is a tear under 3" is small and over 3" is big. Keep in mind the patch should be at least an inch bigger all around than the tear.
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Old 02-10-2015   #9
 
Rainy Northwest, Washington
Paddling Since: 1980
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If you look at hypalon boats, and you should, deflate the boat and rub the tube material against itself so the inside drags against itself. If it feels slick, move on. That means it has had water in the tubes. That's a deal breaker for hypalon as it causes the glue to degrade. It should feel like dry rubber on dry rubber.

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Old 02-10-2015   #10
 
New Castle, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Thanks for all the great answers, I have been looking for used hypalon, although the 12 foot maravia in the classifieds looks tempting, albeit faded and patched.
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