Home TRAVEL TIPS Lifestyle A Beginners Guide to Buying & Repairing an Old Boat

A Beginners Guide to Buying & Repairing an Old Boat

classic wooden sailboat sailing in the Atlantic Ocean

Owning a boat means many things; one thing it means, in general, is the freedom to roam where a car would not take you. This freedom conveys style and status; being a boat owner carries a certain level of prestige. But to achieve the status you desire, it is essential to have the best boat possible. Here is our beginner’s guide to buying and repairing a boat to give you the most pleasing experience your budget will allow.

Consider Your Boating Skills

What is your level of experience on boats? Some have barely been a passenger on a boat yet still have ambitions towards boat ownership; this is entirely understandable and shows the lifestyle’s draw. If you have limited boating skills, it may be helpful to take a boating course to learn the basics. Simply taking part in one of these courses or joining a club will also benefit from trying out different types of boats.

What Type of Boat

Following on from getting a little experience on the water, we must turn our attention to what type of boat we are interested in. Our purpose for owning the boat will be central to this decision? Is it to be on a lake, a river or in the sea? Are we going fishing, looking for excitement, or relaxation? We might want a sailboat if we are interested in sailing, or a small motorboat for fishing.


Now, knowing what we want, we must purchase the boat. There are thousands of boats for sale online. Take your time and compare similar boats; if you feel one is more expensive than another, ask if there is any reason why? The boat might be in a better state or have additional features. Always try to negotiate on price, as there are so many boats available you may be able to get some discount. It’s important to consider any work needed to the boat and keep this in mind if buying a budget boat.

Assess, Prepare & Budget

Once you have the boat, you should already know what work might need doing. Make a list of what needs completing, including what cost is estimated for each job. Once we know what needs completing, we must schedule it; be realistic with what time you have available, and consider where the work will be done. It is wise to keep some budget in reserve should we uncover any unexpected issues requiring attention.

Check Timber (& Other Parts) for Rot

While we are in restoration mode, it is essential to check all parts to assess for damage. It will not do to have any rot or corrosion on a boat. Replace any timber sections in their entirety as once rot sets in; it is futile to try and save the section. For other surfaces, such as metal, we can strip it back, treat it and apply powder coating paint to protect it fully.

Choose Paint & Color

Choosing a color scheme is important; we want our boat to look good and visible on the water. Selecting the correct type of paint or coating will depend on what the boat is made of. While painting, we may wish to consider the most critical decision a boat owner will make; what to name the vessel.

Name the Boat

A boat must have a name; there is no argument there, but what should it be? A boat name should mean something to you; it should be short and not be a rude or profane word. A name from your life or an animal are great examples of good names.

Empty Fuel Tank & Turn Everything Off

While working on the boat, be sure to empty the fuel tank and ensure all electrical components are turned off. This will ensure no unexpected starts, and if the work is to take a long time will ensure the fuel doesn’t go bad. Similarly with the electrics, we don’t want any batteries going flat.

Keep Track of Progress & Costs

As any project progresses, it is essential to keep track of progress and its cost. We can easily do this with a simple notebook or a spreadsheet. But if we want to be a little more technologically advanced, there are many apps we can use for this purpose. No matter the method, we must be vigilant to know when we are going over budget and what we do. Either add extra budget or decide what are the most essential jobs to concentrate on.