Before Buying a Used Bass Boat Check These Things Out

If you’re thinking of buying a used bass boat don’t rush in. Use this checklist to avoid costly repairs and ensure smooth sailing:

Engine & Performance:

  • Engine Hours: Less than 250 is ideal, 500-750 moderate, above 750 proceed with caution (check maintenance logs).
  • Compression Test: Inconsistent readings can indicate serious issues.
  • Prop & Lower Unit: Dings or leaks suggest potential damage. Check prop shaft for wobbliness.
  • Zinc Anodes: Look for corrosion, a sign of potential electrical problems.

Trailer & Electrical:

  • Trailer Rust & Springs: Check for rust and bearing issues.
  • Lights & Wiring: Ensure all lights and turn signals function properly.
  • Hanging Wires: Exposed wires indicate previous repairs, potentially causing future problems.

Interior & Safety:

  • Seats & Carpet: Ripped seats and faded carpet suggest poor storage and potential future issues.
  • Mildew & Rodent Damage: Check for leaks and chewed wires, both require repairs.
  • Gauges: Ensure tachometer and water pressure gauges work for engine monitoring.

Other Key Checks:

  • Steering: Turn the wheel in both directions, checking for tightness and smoothness.
  • Maintenance Logs: Detailed logs with oil changes, impeller replacements, etc. are a big plus.
  • Transom Corners: Inspect for stress cracks, a major repair cost.


  • Research Boat Value: Don’t get lured by deals that seem too good to be true.
  • No Killer Deals: Extremely low prices often indicate hidden problems.

Bonus Tip: Open all compartments and sniff for dead animal smells, another sign of potential wiring damage.

By following these steps, you can avoid buying a used bass boat that becomes a money pit. Happy fishing!

Image/Source: Wired2Fish

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