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Buying Older Boston Whaler Boats
|Author||Topic: Buying Older Boston Whaler Boats|
posted 04-03-2015 08:02 AM ET (US)
Last summer I sold my Rage 15 Jet. I'm now in the market for another Boston Whaler boat. I see a lot of older hulls out there, from the 1970's and 1980's, and [their sellers are] asking a pretty penny for them. I know that Boston Whaler boats hold their value. What should I look for to ensure the hull of an older Boston Whaler boat is still in good shape? To buy a hull that is over 30-years old just scares me a little. Thanks
posted 04-03-2015 09:19 AM ET (US)
Here is a 15-year-old article I wrote about buying older Boston Whaler boats. When I wrote it, those c.1970 and c.1980 boats were only 15-year-old to 25-year-old boats:
When checking the hull of any Boston Whaler boat, no matter what age, test for soundness as explained in the FAQ. See
As you suggest, the essential component of the method is to look, to make a careful, close, visual inspection of the hull, looking for visible defects.
posted 04-04-2015 07:14 PM ET (US)
Along with Jim's articles, here's three easy ways that I've used to get a rough idea regarding encapsulated water in the hull especially in the transom, where most of the wood is.
First, at the stern, look for the dark green 1/4' wide strip where the outer hull mates to the inner hull. If you observe that strip being odd (help me here guys, it's kinda hard to describe), like lighter colored and "splayed" out wider, become a little suspicious, as water could over time start to penetrate.
Second, direct a flashlight into the brass drain pipe that runs from the stern into the bilge area. Look for significant corrosion, especially with salt water based boats. Good time to check to seek the condition of the o-rings at the end of the tube.
Third, if there's any transducers, speedometer tubing clamps, anything that uses screws to attach to the stern, take a screwdriver and remove a few screws. Check for water, dampness in the wood, or wood discoloration (indicating rot).
A professional stern repair will run around $4,800 and up, depending on the size of the transom.
Regards - Don
posted 04-05-2015 12:56 PM ET (US)
Here is a document I created and use as a "Go-By" for inspecting Whalers. It has things to look at for both Larger and Smaller Whalers.
I can say this though, if the boat looks to be VERY well cared for (close to showroom condition), there is a great likely hood there is little to worry about as far as problems with the hull. If it looks used / well used, then you really need to dig around it thoroughly.
Here is a short list of questions to ask when calling on a Whaler listed for sale:
What Model of Whaler is the boat? - If the seller states a model that is clearly not what the boat is, that is a clue to pay closer attention and be more skeptical of the info the sell may be giving you.
What Year is the boat? (If not listed)
How long has the seller owned the boat?
Where has the boat been used during it's life? Fresh, or saltwater
Where and how is it stored while not in use, as well as winters? In the water, or out of the water outside / out of the water inside?
What is the condition of the exterior gelcoat? Shinny, or dull? Are there any large scratches, or repairs on the hull? Any bottom paint?
What is the condition of the interior? Are there any areas of spider cracks or UV crazing? Any areas of repairs or unsealed holes?
What condition is the green line (17' and under) or transom cap in? Are there any cracks forming along the top edge?
Are there any cracks around or in the splashwell area?
What are the HIN and/or stencil numbers? This allows you to track down possible build info from Whaler as well as verify it is a Whaler. This is much more important on the smaller Whalers as there are of 13', 15', 16' and 17' clones out there listed as real Whalers.
Does the boat still have the OEM seating and helm/console?
Is the boat missing any OEM hardware and / or have any OEM parts been altered? If so what is missing / altered?
What condition is the wood in?
What condition are the brass thru hulls in? When were they last replaced?
Does the motor run? Is there any estimated hours, or an ECM reading of true hours on the motor? What overall condition is the motor in? Has it been compression tested? If so, what where the numbers? Has the Lower unit been vacuum tested recently? When was the last time the water pump was replaced?
What props came with the boat?
What does the boat have for fuel tanks? If plastic or fiberglass what is the tank's vintage?
Have the fuel filler lines been replaced? If so when? - For Outrages, Revenges and other Large whaler with internal tanks
What does the boat have for electronics and what are their vintages?
Does the boat still have the OEM lights? Do the running lights work?
Is there canvas? If so, what and how old is it? Is it Mills or Aftermarket?
Is the trailer Aluminum, galvanized, or painted? Year built? Bunk or roller? What is the overall condition of it?
posted 04-05-2015 02:27 PM ET (US)
dfmcintyre...I like point three its easy to do and is quite compelling in results.
Depending on the boat I think a bit outside the box. If the boat has bottom paint I take a closer look at where the paint line is. If you have seen enough of thee boats you can get a pretty good idea where it should be. If its too far up on the hull or it is oddly higher on one side then I ask myself why? Could it be just the weight of the motor? In addition to that look for where the actual water line from the water sits on the boat. If its higher then the paint line and the boat is lightly loaded and dry of rain water in the bilge(s) well something isn't right there either. It points towards a heavy boat for whatever reason. I will suspect water unless pointed out otherwise with further testing.
I have seen Whalers where the paint is more than half way up the hull with a sharp increase near the stern. Again a new engine thats over weight may cause this and the bottom pain is following that change, but typically is should not be that high and the boat should stay quite level with a bit of stationary trim showing only.
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