How to Buy a Used Sailing Boat

Some of the best buys for waterborne craft may come from the used boat market. Here are some general guidelines to keep your head above water.
  Find the right boat style, size, age and equipment for your needs and budget. Know what you're looking for before you start shopping.
Determine how far from home you're willing to travel to shop for a boat. Unlike real estate, boats can move almost anywhere. It isn't unusual for people to travel to other states to buy a boat.
  Contact a broker and search classifieds or the Internet for boats that fit the profile that you've developed. A yacht broker, like a real estate agent, can check listings of other brokers.
  Set up appointments to view boats. Save time by seeing boats at the dock before test sailing.
  Eliminate undesirable boats and schedule test sails on a short list of desirable boats.
  Contact a licensed marine surveyor to check out the boat. This is the equivalent of a home inspection, and it's worth the investment.
  Check classified ads and Internet listings for prices of comparable boats. Your surveyor may also have advice on price.
  Make an offer and be prepared financially and emotionally to become a boat owner.