Never had a boat, going to look at a Sea Ray 440 AC tomorrow. What should I pay attention to?

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by Texican1911, May 8, 2021.

  1. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    F4314F38-F9D8-4ED4-B516-E1161D07044E.jpeg
    Ever heard of Bristol condition? Boats like that exist. We replaced things on a regular basis.
     
  2. Phil S

    Phil S Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2020
    Taxachusetts
    2004 300DA
    5.0 Merc B3
    I think the fact that you're on a boating forum asking for advice -- plus you've already committed to getting a captain -- means you're at least somewhat of a planner which is good! It's more boat than I would be willing to take on as my first but to each his own. Please don't tell me you'll be trailering it too :eek:
     
    northshore and Chris-380 like this.
  3. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Trailering? That would probably take an F450!
    We looked at it today and it needs some cosmetic work (compounding and waxing, for one). Going to get hull survey and see if everything is good before scheduling the engine survey. D56634EA-5390-4AA5-8D9F-52A39D572B0C.jpeg
     
  4. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    This was a fun thread to catch up on! Being compared to THT, however, that hurts.

    Texican - Put me into the camp of believing bigger boats are generally far easier to drive/operate than smaller boats. Get some training, get your boaters license and get the biggest boat you can afford. You won't regret it. Go slow around the docks. Painfully slow. You'll be good to go...
     
  5. Jus the two of us

    Jus the two of us Active Member

    278
    Dec 7, 2015
    United States Lake Cumberland
    1998 Sundancer 450
    2009 Sundancer 55
    3116 Cats
    MAN 900
    My first boat was a 18' jet boat, Went to a 1998 450, Now have a 2009 55. The 55 is by far the easiest one to run of them all. 18' wide slip, 15' 11" beam, My wife and I go out all the time by our-self. Get a survey, Get a Capt. to show you the ropes and enjoy the Hell out of it. Buy your last boat first, I like it !!!!
     
    Texican1911 likes this.
  6. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Before spending money on this one, going to look at a 87 410 With 68 hour Mercruisers tomorrow.
     
  7. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    03B5289E-E6B7-4832-B21D-E98431C215B9.jpeg
    Very different experience. Nice design, but not as livable. Will handle better. Make sure the hours are for brand new motors. If those are on rebuilt engines, find out exactly what is new vs. original.
     
    Texican1911 likes this.
  8. yobub

    yobub Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    831
    Jul 29, 2016
    Northern Illinois
    1998 400 Sundancer
    Cat 3116's
    OK, I'll try to address the original question - what should you look for:
    • Do you like the layout of the boat? Look for all of the basic things, and don't write them off as "that's just what boats are like". If you don't like them now, you won't like them 2 years from now.
    • Can you stand up in the cockpit, the cabin, and the heads? If not, move on.
    • Does the boat smell bad - mold, anything else? A clean boat won't smell like anything. A boat that smells has some kind of underlying problem.
    • Do the cabin and the cockpit give you a view that you like? Do you have comfortable places to sit for hours on end, because you can't replace the furniture?
    • Stand in the kitchen - does it seem like the kind of place where you could cook? Is there room in the fridge? Does the stove look large enough for you to cook on? Do you usually cook with 1 pan or 3? Do you have a microwave that is big enough?
    • Do you fit in the bed? Can you sit up without hitting your head? Can you get in and out easily?
    • Go into the bathrooms? Don't "test drive" but can you comfortably sit on the toilet? Can you stand up in the shower?
    • Can you comfortably stand at the steering wheel, and see out the front, the sides, and the back easily? When you are standing at the steering wheel, can you see each part of the boat that would hit the dock?
    • Go down into the engine compartment. It will look unfamiliar, but look and see if there is water sitting down there, or is it dry? If there is water, does it seem oily? Dip your fingers in it, or dip a paper towel in it. Does it seem old and stagnant, or does it seem fresh? Can you move around between the engines and easily touch every single part of the engine? Are the engines oily?
    • Does the boat seemed well maintained (not perfect) or does it seem like everything is worn or weathered?
    I'm listing the items above because I think those are the types of things that a complete novice boat buyer could evaluate on their first boat purchase. The group here could give you endless suggestions for how to evaluate the systems, but honestly, you are going to leave that to a professional surveyor.

    Here's what you need to understand:
    • You will look at the boat and decide whether you want to make an offer. You will ask whether all of the systems, electronics, and engines are in good working order. The seller/broker may or may not tell you, and most certainly won't tell you honestly, but they may note obvious things that are wrong. Based on this information you will make an offer and agree to a price, and agree to known defects (seats ripped, known required repairs, electronics not working, etc.)
    • Your offer has to be subject to a survey (inspection) and a sea trial. You will pay for all of the costs associated with the survey and sea trial. This will cost you a couple thousand dollars - let's say $1500-2,000, but your geography will dictate. If you don't end up buying, you are out this money. Then you find another boat and start the process over. You avoid this cost by knowing what you are doing when you look at boats.
    • You will hire one person to survey the hull and all of the systems on the boat, and someone else to survey the engines, including the generator. You will attend this to learn about the boat, but you also have to let them do their job. This is an inspection, not a "test drive" to see if you like it. The surveyors will generate detailed, written reports.
    • The surveyors will require someone else to operate the boat during the sea trial. This person will be liable for the operation of the boat, and shouldn't be you, because you don't know how to drive a boat yet. Either the owner can operate the boat if they are willing, or you will hire a captain to operate it during the sea trial. You pay for this.
    • You are buying a used boat, not a boat that isn't going to break. You need to have money set aside to fix things that break right after you buy the boat. It happens to everyone.

    Here's the reality:
    • You are stepping into a big boat that has a steeper learning curve than other boats its size, because of the design. Plenty of people learn how to drive them just fine. Others don't and sell at a loss after a couple of years.
    • A boat like this has all of the systems of a house AND all of the systems of a boat, and typically 2 or 3 of each. They all break, and they all break more frequently because they bounce around all the time. As soon as you put the word "marine" in front of a part, the price goes up 4x. For example, a midsized (small) marine refrigerator is about $1800, not including installation, and sometimes you have to take the boat apart to get it in. A home fridge that is much larger is about $800 and can be replaced in 15 min.
    • Water can destroy a boat quickly. This seems counterintuitive, but it is true. A single screw that isn't sealed correctly can let water in that can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
    • If you learn to fix things yourself you will spend a bunch of money maintaining this boat. If you don't learn to fix things yourself you will spend a sh*t ton of money, and you will probably resent the boat pretty quickly.
    • The people on this board who are giving you advice all LOVE boats and boating. All of us. Most of us started small and made small mistakes with small costs, and learned our lessons. I've owned boats for over 40 years and I'm still making mistakes and still learning.
    • The reason you are getting the feedback you are is because the experienced people know how hard it is to pick a good used boat, and you are starting with a high degree of difficulty. What I would really recommend is to tell us where you are located, and see if there is a CSR member in that area who would be willing to look at a couple of boats with you, to help you get a feel for what to look for.
    • Ask questions as you go and we will be happy to help. The more specific the question, the better we can answer it. Pictures will help as well.
     
  9. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Actually, on day one of this post I was contacted directly by a local member. We are meeting tomorrow to look at the 410. I’m in the Houston area.

    and thanks for the detailed response.
     
    wyrman likes this.
  10. CaptRonn

    CaptRonn Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2016
    on a large body of water
    1999 Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge
    Convert fuel into noise
    Check your PM's.
     
  11. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    My credit union is dragging their feet answering me. I am familiar with US Bank, work with them daily but they have no local branches. Where is a good place to look for marine financing?
     
  12. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    2002 410DA
    Caterpillar 350HP 3126
    lightstream if you’ve got the credit score. No lien and you’ll have the cash in account in 24 hours or less
     
    Pirate Lady likes this.
  13. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    No lien? How does that happen? Basically a signature loan?
     
  14. Texican1911

    Texican1911 Member

    13
    May 7, 2021
    Boatless
    Boatless
    Their website says 5.99% minimum for over $50k. That’s insane.
     
  15. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    '91 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    Yes.
     
  16. Pirate Lady

    Pirate Lady Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2020
    Chesapeake Bay, Middle River
    '91 250 Sundancer
    7.4 Bravo 1
    Too high or too low?
     
  17. northshore

    northshore Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    1989 340 Sundancer
    Raymarine E90W Radar/Chartplotter
    Twin 454 Mercruiser 340's
    It sounds like you are asking all the right questions and considering all the right things. This might be one more...

    My first boat is the 340 that I currently have now and one decision that I made early on due to my rookie status was to keep the boat for the first year at a club we had no intention of staying at. Don't get me wrong, If I wanted to drink round the clock, discard any morals I had and get what appeared to be the mandatory nipple piercing, the place would have been awesome! So why did we go there for half a year? - protected slip. With almost no wind ever and no current to deal with, it made learning to handle the boat a lot easier. If you have a similar option, might be worth looking in to.
     
  18. ttmott

    ttmott PhD in OCD TECHNICAL Contributor GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Best advice right here!
    I would add only - If you bought a condo the utilities (power, water, sewer, etc) are infrastructures provided, owned and maintained by others; a boat, on the other hand, the infrastructures are a part of the boat and you will own and maintain. This needs to be part of the calculus....
     
  19. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I've always found the best rates and terms to be with Credit Unions. I'm a "low low payment" kind of guy and don't mind having a lien or two hanging around...
     
  20. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    Back Cove 37
    AB Ventus 9VL
    Cummins QSC 8.3 600
    I used a local rep for Intercoastal Finance Group. Boatloan.com. They find the bank with the best rate for your situation, then handle all the paperwork including title searches, USCG documentation, etc. Have used them twice and was very pleased. They have reps in Texas.
     

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