Top 10 Signs You Need a New-to-You Boat

When even Asian carp won't jump in for a ride, you know it's time for a change. (Photo: WikiMedia Commons)
When even Asian carp won’t jump in for a ride, you know it’s time for a change. (Photo: WikiMedia Commons)

Before you can fix a problem, you must first recognize you have one. Everyone knows that, but knowing something and doing something about it are two entirely different matters. Take boats, for example.

We love them. We love researching and shopping for them even when we’re not thinking of buying. We love buying them and owning them and we love it when they’re finally paid for. However, there comes a time in the life of a paid-for boat when it has just outlived its usefulness. It’s at that point when some people don’t know when to let go. These people often can be characterized as “careful with money.” Cynics call them cheap, but there really is a point at which a boat becomes more trouble than it’s worth.

You probably know someone like that. He just won’t get a new boat no matter how knackered his old one is. You might even stare at him in the mirror every morning while you’re brushing your teeth. So… maybe it’s time to recognize the problem and do something about it.

Just for fun, and with all due respect to David Letterman, we offer you our Top 10 signs it’s time for a new — to you — boat.

10. You know where every repair shop is on your local river.

Not only do you know where all the shops are, but you make it a point never to be boating too far away from any of them, just in case trouble arises. You even use their boat ramps to put in, just in case your boat won’t start.

9. You can remove your engine cover in seconds.

In the event you do experience engine trouble, you have become an expert on removing the engine cover without falling into the water, and that includes that hard-to-reach latch all the way at the back of the outboard. In fact, sometimes you leave that one undone for the next time the engine acts up.

8. You often leave the engine cover in the truck.

This is the next step after No. 9. Your engine has become so troublesome and unreliable that you don’t even bother to put the engine cover on any more. You’re under the cowl so often that it doesn’t make sense to put it back on, and it takes up too much room in the boat. So you leave it on shore.

7. You bring more tools than water toys.

This is often easy to spot. When you go boating, look into the back of the tow vehicle. What’s in there? Tubes, wakeboards and skis or toolboxes and tow rope? If it’s the latter, it might be time for a new-to-you boat.

6. You can pull-start your 70-horse outboard in a pinch.

You have that length of rope under the bench seat for a reason. Lots of people think it’s for helping swimmers get back on board or some other sort of homemade safety device. But you know what it’s for. It’s for wrapping around the flywheel a couple of times to pull start the engine the next inevitable time the starter goes on the fritz. Seriously, when it gets to that point, you and the boat have issues.

 5. Friends no longer want to come boating with you.

Next time you go boating, look around. Those other boats, the ones loaded with friends and family? That’s how to go boating. Solo “me time” on a boat  can be valuable, but if it’s always encouraged — or insisted on — by everyone else, you might want to rethink your priorities.

 4. Your children know why the expression “swears like a sailor” exists.

Remember that last time you pull-started your outboard and the knot on the rope flung around and whipped you in the back like a recalcitrant mule? You do? Then you probably remember the string of obscenities you let fly in reaction to it. Your kids remember it, too, because it’s the last time they went boating with you.

3. Your anchor is a viable means of propulsion.

You won’t leave shore without your anchor. It’s not because you need it  for your favorite spot for rafting up with other boaters. It’s because it’s often the only way to get your boat back to shore. You know the drill. You throw the anchor as far as you can, then pull yourself and the boat forward. Throw. Pull. Throw. Pull. That’s not boating. That’s torture.

2. Asian carp jump out of your boat.

We’ve all seen the YouTube videos of Asian carp jumping out of a river and into a boat. You wonder how this is possible — because it’s never happened to you, even though you go boating on that same river. That’s because the carp know something you don’t. Your boat’s a jalopy. Upgrade if you want to get in on the fun.

1. You don’t want to go boating any more.

This is the kicker, and a sure sign it’s time for a new boat. If you don’t want to go boating because you can’t be bothered to pack all the tools and face whatever mechanical malaise you know is waiting for you out there, you need to recognize you have a problem and do something about it.


Boat Trader has plenty of  Buying and Selling advice, but also check out the hundreds of articles in the Boating section, with tips on everything from seamanship to maintenance, how-to, where to find replacement parts, and much more.