Used Boats, New Engines

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.

This old Mako has been fitted out with a modern Yamaha four-stroke. New power on an old boat can mean a good deal. Doug Logan photo.

This old Mako has been fitted out with a modern Yamaha four-stroke. New power on an old boat can mean a good deal. Doug Logan photo.

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.

 

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