Boat parts & accessories for Johnson, Evinrude, Mercury, Mariner, Force, or Yamaha outboard motor, & Mercruiser, OMC stern drive. 

  Buying Your First Boat

So you want to buy a boat huh? Where do I start? What kind of boat should I buy? What should I expect to pay? Following are some basic answers to these commonly asked questions.

First, you need to decide exactly what it is you are going to use your boat for. There are many boats that can be used for multiple applications. After you determine what type of boat you want, the second consideration, is to determine how many people you will have in the boat at a given time. This is very important to think about due to capacity restrictions. Be sure to allow room for a couple of neighbors, as this commonly occurs when they find out you bought a new boat. The following are common examples of boat types, length, and capacity of persons:

Fishing boats: Jon boat, deep V aluminum, bass boat, etc. range from 12` to 20` (Main purpose for fishing, and normally accommodate 1 to 3 persons comfortably.)
Fish&Ski boats: Available in aluminum or fiberglass and range from 15` to 20` (Used for fishing, skiing, and pleasure. Great choice for those with family members or friends that don't care to strictly fish. Usually for 1 to 6 persons.)
Ski boats: Available in aluminum and fiberglass and range from 15` to 24` (Used mainly for skiing and pleasure. Can hold 1 to 8 persons.)
Pontoon boats: Available in aluminum and fiberglass and range from 18` to 32` (Used for fishing, skiing, and pleasure. Great for 1 to 12 people.)
Cruisers: Available mostly in fiberglass and range from 25` and up (Used mainly for pleasure. Person capacity depends on length but can hold a lot of people.)

Now that you have an idea of what type and size of boat you need, what about the power question?

This can be a tough question to answer. Lets look at what s available.

Outboards: Available in 2 horsepower to 300 horsepower, 2 stroke and 4 stroke, and several different brands. Just that fact can have you spending ages on a decision. Whoa, wait a minute, 2 stroke and 4 stroke? Ok lets back up a sec. 2 stroke motors are available in the previously mentioned horsepower ranges, and require oil to be mixed with the gas, whether it be premixed in the gas tank, or via oil injection (newer motors). 4 stroke motors are limited in horsepower only available up to about 90 horsepower (maybe a couple of brands with larger) in todays current production, but do not require an oil mix. What else is different in the two you ask? Well for starters, a 2 stroke will out perform a 4 stroke, but is less economical to operate. A 4 stroke is quieter and a little cheaper to operate, not to mention being a little less harsh on mother natures creations. Outboards are commonly used on fishing, fish&ski, small ski, and pontoon boats, although inboard/outboards are also available in some types. Brand is not terribly critical, except it is wise to consider a brand that has an authorized dealer and parts readily available in your area in case of warranty claim or breakdown. All brands are well built. The only real difference is in how they are maintained. All brands of motors are good ones as long as you take care of them properly.

Inboard/Outboards: These motors are used mostly in larger ski boats and cruisers. They are available in many different sizes and horsepower. You can get an economical low power 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder, all the way up to a full blown 8 cylinder 800 horsepower or more race engine. Diesel engines are also available, and sometimes the best choice for large cruisers, as they are more economical for those applications. Again, there are many different brands available, and care should be taken on the service and parts availability in your area, and regular maintenance makes all brands equal on quality.

Whether you choose an inboard or an outboard, the most important thing to remember is choose wisely when it comes to power. More power eats into the pocketbook when you buy, but theres nothing more aggravating than purchasing a new boat, and find that it turns out to be underpowered for the intended use. If you have an opportunity to attend a boat show that is staged on the water, it would be an ideal situation to help you in making a choice. Otherwise, a good test run before you hand over the cash on a used boat is definitely in order.

What should I expect to pay for my new boat and motor?

This is a question that I am sorry, not able to answer accurately, due to the fact that there are so many combinations out there. Boat and motor values range dramatically due to options, horsepower, year model, etc. Just use common sense and shop around, but DO NOT settle on the cheapest thing you can buy.

If you are looking to purchase a used boat, there are some VERY important things to consider. Let's say ol Bill across town has a real good deal on ol Betsy (a 1956 vintage outboard boat and motor). Ol Bill hates to sell her since shes been so good and trouble free to him over the years, but is willin to let her go for a mere $300 or $400. "Wow!", you say. "I can buy this sucker cheap and have a good ol time fishin and takin my family and friends out on the lake. I'll take it!" Now ol Bill may or may not be happy that ol Betsy left the yard and is gone for good, but one thing is for just purchased something that very few if any parts are available for. I can't tell you how many phone calls are received looking for parts such as lower units, starters, even common simple parts for 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, etc., and 95% of the parts requested have not been available for 30 years or longer. Now if you are a collector attempting to restore older motors for collectors purpose, then that's one thing, but if you are looking to use this boat and motor for regular recreation activities expecting it to be good dependable transportation on the water, you are going to create your own worst nightmare by even considering such a dumb move. If you can't afford a newer model boat (roughly mid 80s or newer) in which parts are readily available most anywhere, then save your money and just rent a boat occasionally. You'll be much better off preventing a severe beating from the wife's rolling pin when you refrain from stranding her and the kids in the hot sun in the middle of no where.

Next, stay away from brands such as Sears/Elgin, Montgomery Wards, McCullough/Scott-Atwater, JC Penny's, and all those ancient history motors. Those companies haven't produced those motors or parts for them for decades. Why would you think that anyone could supply them to you these days? "Oh darn, I didn't think of that before I bought this 1936 Elgin motor". Sigh!!!!!!! Use your brain people!

Now if your off to purchase a new or newer model (you did heed the last paragraphs did you not?), then your best bet is purchasing from a reputable dealer. You will get a warranty or at least something standing behind the sale, and can make a huge difference in the end. Most dealers offer what they sell as new in a package purchase (boat, motor, and trailer in one bundle) with upgrades in horsepower available (much like a computer), but sometimes a good deal can be had if you buy the boat you crave at one place, and the motor at another (outboards only with this method). You might also find a carryover motor that did not sell the previous year to get a better price on. When purchasing your boat and motor (whether new or used), ask the salesman if you could have permission to talk to the head mechanic or service manager. This is a better way to gain accurate specifications on your proposed purchase. If you have ever dealt with the salesmen that say anything for a sale, you will understand what I am talking about. For the sake of any further explanation, trust in what the mechanic tells you. Don't be afraid to ask "dumb" questions. Get the answers to what you need to know before you sign on the dotted line!

Wrapping it all up.

We would like to conclude this section with a couple of things. A boat is a luxury item and can be pricey to own and operate. Please keep that in mind along with the fact of if your new to boating, please take time to attend a boating course by a certified source. This will make your boating life much more enjoyable for everyone. If there are things that you would like info on that are not mentioned here, send us an email and we will do our very best to get you an accurate answer.


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