View Full Version : Buying a Boat off Internet

Scent of a mule
05-31-2014, 01:02 PM
Having trouble finding a boat in my location. Don't have to time to fly somewhere to look out of state. Has anyone ever bought a boat without laying eyes on it? Is this completely foolish? Could I have an independent mechanic go inspect it?

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Jeff d
05-31-2014, 01:20 PM
Based on some of your threads it sounds like you might be in a bit of a hurry. It's a big purchase so I'd calm down and make sure you do it right the first time and get a boat that will meet your expectations for several years. It took me a few months to find a boat that met my requirements within my budget in the condition I wanted it in.

I definitely wouldn't rule out an online purchase if I had a qualified marine surveyor give me a good report on it. Also, you could consider seeing if there's a forum member in the area with MasterCraft OCD that would check out the boat for you and give an impartial review. I know I'd be willing to do that in the Baton Rouge, LA area for anyone on here for the cost of my gas and maybe a hamburger. That said it's you're talking about a huge purchase for most people, everyone has a different perspective on things and their own pet peeves. I'd hate to give a positive review on a boat to someone and then they're disappointed by something that didn't even occur to me to take note of.

Condition and quality aside there can be legal/paperwork hurdles when transferring boats between states. It's almost always doable but make sure you have that figured out for the particular boat/state you're getting it from before you commit to buying something. Some states issue titles on boats, others don't. Some states issue titles on trailers and other don't, etc. Florida was pretty lax the last time I dealt with a boat from there so it might not be a big deal but it sure does suck to buy a boat and have trouble legally getting it on the water or the trailer on the road.

05-31-2014, 01:26 PM
Consider having a teamtalk member nearby check it out to give you some eyes on it. And if it seems to be as advertised, then be sure to get a mastercraft full owner transfer inspection before making payment (deposit + inspection fee paid direct to dealership w/purchase contingent on clean inspection).

Jeff d
05-31-2014, 01:27 PM
Here's what I would do if you are serious about a boat that's too far to travel to:
1) See if a forum member in the area can check it out for you.
2) If they give their approval get some idea what it would cost to ship and start negotiating price with the seller pending further inspection of the boat. Also figure out all potential title/registration hang ups.
3) If you come to a tentative agreement then try to get a pro in there for further inspection. I'd imagine it would cost at least $200 or so. A marine surveyor would be the best option here as this is exactly what they specialize in. A mastercraft dealer in the area may offer this service. A trusted independent marine mechanic if you can get a recommendation would be a good option too.

Black Hills MC
05-31-2014, 01:31 PM
Bought a prostar 190 last month from a guy in AZ. Talked to him several times and emailed him as much. Had a relative in the area go look at the boat, and most importantly meet the guy and get a feel as to what kind of person he was. Had the boat shipped to the midwest, all worked out alright. Very nervous until it arrived. Looked for six months to find the boat I was looking for. Also got all of the service records from the PO. Good luck but dont settle or be in a hurry.

05-31-2014, 01:33 PM
I was looking for something very specific and I did. I had the guy tow it to the local mastercraft dealer and paid for a full inspection. The dealer was honest and gave me the good the bad and the ugly. I was sure to ask them very specific questions above the mechanical i.e. tears in seams, scratches, etc.... In fact I had the guy on the phone while he was doing a cosmetic inspection after his mechanic did a mechanical inspection and a lake test. I dropped a name of a guy on this forum (Tex) that told me who to call and I think that helped since the dealer has a good relationship with a fellow Teamtalk member.

With all that said I would certainly prefer to lays eyes on it myself. Be careful with the shipping though. I got %&$#@!!! Took me over a month to get the boat. The POS hauler stopped left the boat in storage and took off. Wouldnt answer his phone etc. The guy I bought it off finally tracked him down the day the storage facility was going to take ownership of his "items" due to non payment. Long short he flew to where it was and we both drove 8 hours to meet so i could get the boat. It was a nightmare. Made 2 payments before i even saw the boat. :mad:

Scent of a mule
05-31-2014, 03:39 PM
Thanks all. Really appreciate the input. Been looking for about 6 months. Haven't found exactly what I am looking for but when buying used I came to grips with the fact that I can't have it all. I found a local Nautique 211 that is the cleanest boat I have seen. Reason of a lot of the posts is that I am gonna pull the trigger most likely on this thing and want to have a few questions answered before I do. My last supper before I dive in. Mastercraft was top on my list but Correct Craft not that far behind.

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05-31-2014, 04:06 PM
I looked for a year... bought in august of 2010 - patience is the key - you may not get this year - but you may find more offers in the later summer.

Table Rocker
05-31-2014, 05:20 PM
All I can say is be careful.


05-31-2014, 05:47 PM
211 is a great choice. Good luck!

05-31-2014, 05:58 PM
I just did in February ... My 1993 25th anniversary 190 ... Seller told me everything about it, the good and bad and what work it needs ... I drove 970 miles, looked at it and drove it home.

I've sold two MasterCrafts as well ... Just make sure you talk with the seller ... Do your homework and you'll be ok

05-31-2014, 06:07 PM
Ask for pictures of everything, trailer, tires, motor, interior, prop, rudder, bottom of boat. Once you decide you like the boat get in your truck and drive. I drove 12 hrs and turned around the same day and drove back with the boat another 12 hrs.

06-02-2014, 08:57 PM
i have done it several times with very good results. Communication is the key .Lots of pictures and with this board you are likely to find someone that would go look at it for you and I would highly recommend U-ship for getting it to you .

06-02-2014, 09:13 PM
Where is boat located there is usually someone in the area

Also thanks for the kind words R2LAKE

06-02-2014, 10:09 PM
I bought a 2012 X2 from a Ski Centurion dealer in FL (I'm in WA) in January. I did not fly down there. I had him take a ton of pictures and do a video walkthrough of the boat. We had an itemized bill of sale and everything went smoothly. Got the boat and... everything was as pictured and everything is great. Had two issues: 1) boat was listed as having Zero Off and didn't. The dealer stood by the bill of sale and paid for the transponder and install 2) boat had a check engine light and service soon on it but the dealer in town here cleared it and said it was fine. Condition of the boat was great and I'm very happy with the deal that I got. All that said: Can it be done? Yes. But like with everything else in life: your mileage may vary. Do your homework and know what to ask for and as the other members have said: try and get a TT member to check it out for you. Might cost you a 6-pack or a thank you.

06-03-2014, 08:48 AM
I am going to be on the other side of the spectrum. If you are willing to spend 30/40K on a boat, I would find the time to go check it out in person. Pictures can be extremely deceiving and unfortunately there are a lot of inherently bad people out there that are just trying to make a quick buck (this is by no means a reflection of the people on this forum).

I feel like we have a great Mastercraft community here and if you could get a well-respected member from Teamtalk to check it out for you, then that would probably be a little more comforting. But by all means, people have different levels of what is acceptable and what is not. I know I was looking for something that was immaculate. What that means to one person may not mean the same as it does to me; I felt like I had to see the boats in person before purchasing. Sure, I spend another few grand on a flight and shipping, but in the end, I feel like I ended on top.

For the amount of money you're spending, I think it would be wise to make time to check out the boat in person prior to purchasing, unless you are buying new of course.

east tx skier
06-03-2014, 10:12 AM
Look, I know it's a MC forum, but if you found a CC 211 locally that's "the cleanest boat [you've] ever seen," go for it. CC makes a fine boat and buying locally is tough to beat.

That said, I sold my MC sight unseen to a Canadian buyer with purchase price in full in hand before I left the driveway to deliver it half way. This involved a signed purchase agreement and a lot of time on the phone before we got it done. In the end, everyone was happy though.

I have never bought a ski boat sight unseen.

06-03-2014, 10:18 AM
Pretty much, what Eastie said. If you found a local boat, you may have a local dealer, who has knowledge/history of the boat. A great plus.

Your always, welcome here.

06-03-2014, 10:20 AM
Call Seth Bloom - he's got alot of good high quality boats for sale

06-03-2014, 10:24 AM
I agreed to buy my boat after a lot of back and forth by emails and then by phone. Eventually it was officially purchased through Ebay so I would have their protections in place. We drove down the 750 miles to the seller, gave it a thorough test, paid the money and drove home. Even though I knew what to look for two issues still popped up. #1 The brand new tires were Walmart junk and one blew. Not the seller's fault but it could have torn up the fender if I did not catch it as fast as I did (a lot of skuffs and mess on the fender). Also the trip home shook loose a knock sensor which I did not know about what they were or how they worked at the time. So I had to take it in for a service check to fix that engine code and my local MC guys went over everything and gave me a full report and fixed the knock sensor. At that time the front ballast tank pump was found to be bad and it was bad because it was mounted in a poor location. This spring I paid to have that moved per MC's suggestion and all is well. Did I get a 100% "perfect" boat, not totally, but I got a good deal that I am happy with. By going to an area where the seller did not have many people interested in the boat, I save many $thousand off what I would have paid locally.

06-03-2014, 10:37 AM
Call Seth Bloom - he's got alot of good high quality boats for sale

Pretty sure Seth's already used up his one phone call!:D