This last summer, you might have been looking at everyone out on the water and wishing you had your own boat to enjoy the warm days. But owning a boat is expensive, and maybe this is why you’ve been putting it off. Or is it expensive? If you stop by Norfolk Marine to check out our selection of used boats, you might just find the right vessel for you. This way, you won’t break the bank and you can still enjoy some of the last days of the summer (or even head out on some of the frigid mornings in winter).

Buying a used boat is going to require some special considerations, so to help you out, we’ve provided a guide to navigating the market. You can also stop by our location in Norfolk, Virginia, for more help. We proudly serve Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

Establish a Budget

Even though you’ll be saving money by buying a used boat, you’ll still need to establish a budget. Your options will vary widely in price, and some pre-owned models might still be out of your price range. Figure out what your limit is so you can still comfortably pay off your vessel. Don’t forget your budget should consider other expenses, like fuel, boat slip rentals, insurance, maintenance, and so on.


Once you’ve got the budget nailed down, it’s time to start searching your options. You’ll quickly realize you have an overwhelming number of options. To help narrow things down, think about the kind of boat you’ll want. Maybe you want a fishing boat or a speed boat or something to simply help you relax on the water with family.

Also consider some of your limitations outside of budget. This might include how many people you’ll need to accommodate or other features you might want to include. Gathering a list of needs and wants can help you more efficiently narrow down your options.

Gather Historical Information

When it comes to used boats, you’ll have a little more information available to you than just the spec sheet. As you start to pick out some top contenders, look up reviews from other owners of a particular model year. They’ll give you an idea of how much they enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) their experience on their craft.

You’ll also want to ask for maintenance records and accident reports. This will give you more specific information about a particular boat you’re looking at and how well the previous owners cared for it, or if you should look elsewhere.

Inspect the Boat

Even if everything seems okay so far, you’ll want to perform a thorough inspection and look for signs of excessive wear and tear or damage. Look at the exterior, all wood and metal surfaces, the seats, and the flooring. Test the electrical equipment and search for mechanical concerns. Some problems will be fairly minor and you can probably live with them, but there’s no point in investing in a less expensive model if you have to spend more money repairing it.

Take a Test Drive

Just like you would a car, ask to take the boat for a test drive. This might be easier for some than others, but this is an important piece of consideration to check off your list. Being able to feel how the boat handles isn’t just about making sure it performs well, it’s about making sure you actually feel comfortable behind the controls. Even if it’s just a matter of personal preference, don’t buy a boat you don’t actually want to navigate.

Ready to check out some used boats for sale? Stop by Norfolk Marine in Norfolk, Virginia and let one of our experienced staff give you the complete tour. We welcome all patrons from Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.