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Fishing Report - Issue 1013

This week’s report will come in three parts. Parts Two and Three to follow over the next couple of issues of The Informer

Part One: Buying a used boat – what to watch out for.

When considering a used, or new, boat, there are a few things to look out for. What is the boat going to be used for - occasional fishing trips with a mate or two, family outings, lake, river or ocean locations? It’s a bit like buying a car, you would not buy a two-seater sports car for a family of four or five, you wouldn’t buy a 4X4 for a run around town car, you wouldn’t buy a 900hp performance sports car for a new driver. The same rules apply to buying a boat. Look for the boat that serves your purpose in buying the boat and future purposes.

Often, the excitement of buying your boat can cloud your better judgement. Take time to really decide if what you are considering is the best option. You should always sea trail a boat the same way you would test drive a car. Sea trial the boat on a moderate weather day.

Buying from a boat dealership provides protection by means of New Zealand consumer law and the deals are usually straight forward. Normally a dealer will have the full history of the boat. When buying a secondhand boat from a private individual, in an auction or by tender, under New Zealand law, there is no warranty and any issues will be your responsibility.

A quick checklist. Have you:

Decided which type of boat meets yours and your family’s needs?

Considered where you’ll be going boating on a regular basis?

Chosen a boat based on your lifestyle, activities and the places you want to go?

Determined how or where you will store your boat?

Looked into financing, insurance and licensing needs?

Worked with a budget to make sure you can afford to both buy and operate your boat?

Taken a boat education course?

Joined Coastguard?

Decided on a boat?

Pay a reasonable price for the boat. Beware of paying a cheap price for a boat that is obviously worth a lot more. "Have I got a deal for you mate", might indicate that the boat is stolen. If you purchase a stolen boat that is eventually recovered by the police, the boat will be confiscated and you may be charged with a criminal offence.

Locate the serial number of the outboard motor. All outboard motors should have the serial number on an aluminium tag or sticker that is attached to the transom-mounting bracket. Your suspicions should be aroused if the sticker or the tag has been removed. Don't accept an explanation that the tag or sticker has fallen off. The serial number may also be stamped into the engine frost plug that is located in the block of the motor. You will need to take off the engine cowling to see it. Confirm the details of the seller.

Locate the serial number of the boat. Some boat manufacturers attach an aluminium tag with the serial number onto the boat. It can sometimes be located on the dashboard or outboard well or on the transom. Not all boats have this tag.

Has the trailer been registered recently? Does the registration date of the trailer match the manufacturing date of the boat? If the boat is being sold on an unregistered trailer or a recently re-registered trailer, ask why. It may be that the boat and trailer are stolen, and the offenders have re-registered the stolen trailer in an attempt to disguise it.How long have they had the boat and why are they selling it? If they have only had the boat for a short while, it may indicate that there is something wrong with it or that it is stolen. Check if the trailer is stolen by contacting your local police station with the registration number of the trailer. They will tell you if the trailer has been reported stolen.

Trace the boat ownership history. You should establish the previous owner's details. Contact them to confirm that they sold the boat to the person selling it. The further back you can trace the people who have owned the boat the better. Ideally you want to go right back to the original dealer who sold the boat new. That way you can confirm that the boat has not been stolen; where the sellers live and the vehicle they drive. Don't meet the seller in a public place or deal over a cell phone.

Check if money is owed on the boat.

The seller may have secured a loan from a bank or finance company to buy the boat. The bank or finance company will then have a financial interest in the boat. This could affect you as the new owner. You can contact MotorWeb, Phone 0900843847 or 0800843847 or visit their web site (link is external) This is not a free service. You will need the registration number of the trailer. They will be able to tell you if the trailer is stolen and if money is owed on it. They may not be able to say if money is owed on the boat, as most boats don't have any permanent form of identification. For this reason banks and finance company's use the trailer as an identifiable object.

Tony Marsters

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