As you browse through Boat Trader listings, keep a lookout for ads showing older boats with newer engines. You may not necessarily be looking for this combination, but it’s certainly something that used-boat shoppers should be aware of: the outsized advantage of new power.
Or, even better, higher power. I’m not just talking about outboards bolted to the back of a transom. I’m talking about new inboard propulsion systems that represent not only a huge investment in terms of parts, but also in terms of labor.
One of the benefits of new powerplants is that today’s engines are typically better than engines built as recently as 10 years ago. A lot better, in some cases. For outboards, people typically repower with four-stroke engine designs, which are usually quieter, more fuel-efficient, and gentler on the environment we’re out there to enjoy. In many cases the new four-strokes are heavier, but in an equal number of cases they’re more powerful. Call that a win.
Here’s the deal. In the boating marketplace, you don’t want to be the person who buys the boat that needs to be repowered — unless, of course, you relish the challenge of a project and get a screaming deal. No, you want to be the person who buys the boat that has just been repowered. That way you can get a factory warranty on the engines.
The boats are something of a mixed bag. You’ll have to perform your due diligence to see if the prospect of a new engine outshines the drawbacks of an old boat. But there are plenty of good ones are out there, and they can pay dividends for used-boat shoppers looking for something reliable, and at the right price.
Note: An earlier version of this article appeared in May, 2016.