When buying a used boat, check the boat for any damage, especially on the hull. Take the boat for a test drive to be sure it runs without problems.
Check the hull of the boat for pockets of moisture, which may appear as raised areas that look like blisters, and often can be felt with the hand. These pockets, which generally appear under the water level, decrease the value of a boat.
Look for cracks along the sides of the boat. Some cracks may be superficial and no cause for concern, but multiple cracks in one area of the boat could be a sign of damage.
Check the boat's steering system to make sure it is not worn out. Steering system replacements are one of the most expensive repairs to make, and boats that require this kind of repair should generally be avoided.
Check the battery connectors for any frayed wires or loose connections. Inquire about the age of the current battery, and check the battery for cracks or bulges. Always inspect the floor of the boat carefully for floor rot.
When taking a boat for a test drive, note any excessive vibrations, which could be a symptom of a bent propeller. Test the steering of the boat to make sure it responds adequately. A steering systems that takes too long to respond is probably worn out.