Buying a Ski Boat

Relax on your new boat

What is a Ski Boat?

A ski boat is a small, recreational powerboat designed for towing water skiers, often seen pulling people along dams and lakes on a hot day.

Ski boats aren’t restricted to water sports though, with many ski boat owners also using them as rather fast fishing boats with good manoeuvrability.

What to look for when buying a ski boat

Ski BoatAppearance – You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, if the current owner hasn’t taken the care to look after the basics, it can be a sign there has been neglect elsewhere. Look for things like brittle upholstery, oxidised gel coating, and general uncleanliness. These may be easy things to fix but they could be signs of more to come.

Hull – Check the hull for scuffs, scratches, spider cracks or blistering. Your general scuffs and scratches are normal, minor blemishes that can be used to bring the price down, but take heed of blistering and cracks. If the boat is in the water when you inspect it, make sure you turn the engine off and run your hand below the water line to feel for cracks and blistering.

Upholstery – This seems like a rather superficial check, most boat manufacturers stop making replacement skins after a few years. The older the boat the more likely you’ll need to get expensive, aftermarket reupholstering work. So check the upholstery for holes or torn seams. Feel the seats to check for moisture, brittle material that will tear, decolouration or even signs of rot. Not necessarily deal breakers but something to consider when you factor in the price.

Canvas – put the cover on the ski boat and check that it fits, then look for holes, tears, ripped straps or discolouration.

Boat featuresFeatures – If you’re planning to use your boat for the fishing, check for casting platforms, seats, rod storage and other fishing gear. For water skiing obviously, the brackets and attachment points should be in good working order, as well as a floor locker or storage area for things like life jackets, skis, rope and other equipment.

Interior & electronics – Walk the floor and feel for soft spots, inspect all storage areas, dash, covers, controls, speakers, radio and other electronics. Take this opportunity to make sure the owner still has the keys to all locked areas.

Engine – Unless you’re a mechanic or have a lot of experience with engines, this is the part you could do with an experienced friend coming along too. There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for. Consider the overall cleanliness and smell of the engine. Grime, leaking oil, the smell of gas, cracks or worn through seals are a warning sign to walk away or at least get someone else to take a look. Also, check the condition of the battery and make sure the transmission fluid is clear and not milky in colour.

Trailer – Trailers can often be neglected so you need to make sure everything is in order here too. Check the winch, locking pins, tires, trailer lights and the rollers. Also, make sure it is currently registered; if not you’ll have to sort that out before you can pick up the boat.

Records – This may not always be available but if the owner has had any work done on the boat ask to see records. Even if they have records of the service history it can give you some idea of the condition it’s likely to be in.

Test drive – This is obviously the most fun part of buying a boat, but try not to take it too lightly. Test out the performance of the engine, the boat’s manoeuvrability and fuel consumption. Take it through all speeds from full throttle all the way back to idle, all the while listening to the engine sounds and any other rattles throughout the boat.

Once you’ve returned to shore re-check the engine for any fresh leaks or other issues. You can also use this time to test out the trailer as you load the boat up with the winch, making sure all the rollers are turning.

If you’re in doubt about anything above you can always get a boat mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection on your behalf (for a fee).

If everything looks good though you should talk to us at BoatLoans to organise boat finance. We offer a range of finance options including pre-approved loans, extended warranties and insurance for your boat.

Talk to us today so you can get out on the water and make the most of the summer.