First-time Trawler Buyer

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Senior Member
Oct 6, 2007
If youre a first-time trawler buyer the choice of used trawlers available for purchase can be overwhelming. How do you make sense of all the models and styles out there?
The first time trawler buyer needs to avoid buying on emotion and take a hard look at what they intend on doing with the boat.* Making the wrong choice will be a major disappointment in the long run and perhaps cost you thousands.
To start, are you a slow mover or a fast motor cruiser?* Some like the romance of a slow moving with the image of tropical islands in the picture; some dont want the hassle of the slow pace.* But slow-moving trawlers are very inexpensive to operate if your plans include traveling to far-away places.* *Generally trawlers come well designed with all of the creature comforts you could every need; generally more so than all but the largest of cruisers.
How often will you use your new trawler?* I always say that there are boaters and boat owners.* Boaters use their boats; boat owners just like to say they own a trawler as their boats rarely leave the dock.* Some boaters may be full-time liveaboards and cruisers using their boats as their home every day.* Others may just use their boats on nice weekends when time permits.
Next is the cost of trawler ownership.* You must take this into consideration.* The purchase price is almost like a down payment.* Boating has its costs that you need to be aware of.* If you are mechanically inclined, you will find that the costs are not substantial.* Most boat owners do the majority of work themselves.* I have posting at my Cruising Center website about the specifics of boating costs that breaks it down into each expense. Feel free to take a look.
So thus far we have determined what type of boater we are, so we know what style of trawler generally appeals to us, we know how much we expect to use it and about what to expect in the upkeep of her.* So far so good!
Now comes the hard part; how to choose just the right one?* Do you prefer a sundeck, a sedan or other models?* I have developed a purchase checklist that I use with my customers to let them specify the critical features of a boat.* This allows them to choose features that they can live without and those that are features that are <u>must-haves</u>.* That checklist then becomes the basis for the perfect boat search.* When I am working with customers, I then look for used trawlers that best meet the customers wants recognizing that boat purchases usually involve some compromise.* Rarely do I find a boat with all of the desired features.
In the looking phase, I always say that youll know it when the right boat comes along; it will talk to you.* Any potential boat will have the lines, the feel and the character that appeals to you.* Dont settle for anything less than that pleases you.
But what about the*purchase price of that used trawler?* How do you know you are getting a fair deal?* Borrowing from another posting at the Cruising Center about the True Value of Boats, good boats always command higher prices, always!* A newer boat in poor condition will bring less than an older boat in good condition always!* Never buy a trawler based upon the price alone or youll be selling it within 6 months.
And should you complete a survey, yes its always recommended.* Choose a knowledgeable surveyor that has experience with your desired boat.* Ask him for references too. If you are working with a reputable Broker, he will recommend several top-shelf surveyors but will insist you choose the one you want.
A very sound piece of advice we were given when we started exploring the notion of acquiring a trawler-type boat is once we narrowed our choices down to one, charter an identical make and model for a week or two to see if it really gave us what we wanted from the boating experience.* Which we did.

Also, being total newbies at the time to this kind of boating, when we went to look at a potential boat that had been recommended by the GB broker we were using we took a very good friend with decades of experience in the marine engine industry with us--- we paid his airfare to California and all his expenses for the two days we were there. Our friend could have cared less if we bought the boat or not--- he had no emotional involvment in the pending deal. So we figured that he could look at the boat and its systems and see things for what they were, not for what we thought they were or could be. Yes, we had very competent engine and hull surveyors going over the boat, but we wanted the totally objective opinion of someone we knew and trusted and who had more experience with engines and boats than probably the two surveyors together. It also took a lot of the pressure off my wife and I since we had a trusted person to answer the "what do you think?" questions that came up.

In the end, our friend's recommendation was that while the boat we were looking at was old and definitely had things that needed dealing with, it was physicallyi and mechanically sound and was a boat we could start using and enjoying right away rather than have to spend a lot of time, money, and effort getting into a condition we felt confident in. This proved to be the case, and the last ten years of using our boat year round have been terrific for both me and my wife.

The money we spent taking our friend to California and back was the best money we ever spent toward what continues to be a very successful and enjoyable boating experience.

-- Edited by Marin at 18:01, 2009-01-05
Mike,Your website is looking great- and is also very informative. Can you break down a sundeck, sedan, convertable, etc., for the average Joe? I have trouble wrapping my simple mind around what defines certain vessel types.
Go to his website, read many reviews and purchase Dave Pascoe's book.

Many low priced boats are JUNK , and endless work and expense.

SOME are not ,

Some high priced boats are JUNK ,

Its up to you to learn the difference.

First define the type cruising you are looking forward to doing.

FF rules for a great round turn.

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