WHAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO TELL YOU
New boats may have older model outboard engines. If you're shopping for a new outboard-powered boat, the engine may not be the same model year as the boat. The U.S. Coast Guard has no model-year regulations for outboard engines, making it harder for you to determine the year in which they were built. In the mid-2000s, most engine manufacturers stopped designating model years for their outboard engines. Outboard manufacturers say that until they make a significant change to an engine, the year it was built is irrelevant. And while that's true, buyers are concerned they don't know if they're getting the newest technology. After discontinuing model years, engine manufacturers replaced the model-year designator on the engine's serial number with a code that signifies an "era" in which all engines are supposed to be the same, with similar upgrades.
HINs don't lie. Check the Hull Identification Number (HIN) on any boat you consider buying (new or used) to make sure that the age of the boat is correct. The last two digits indicate the boat's model year.
Boat brokers are not regulated like real estate agents. Only Florida and California brokers have to be licensed, and only California requires an exam. Elsewhere, anyone can call him-or herself a broker. One way to increase your chances of finding a good broker is to look for a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB). These brokers are members of the Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA), have taken a comprehensive exam, have pledged to abide by a code of ethics.
How many horsepower? Engine horsepower is allowed to vary by as much as 10% either way. Disappointed or thrilled with your engine's performance? Your 200-hp outboard could be making 180 or 220 hp.
A hull warranty is just that — it covers only the hull. A hull warranty is usually defined as the fiberglass shell, including transom, stringers, and related structural reinforcements, which are below the hull-to-deck joint. That means the deck is typically not part of the warranty. Also, hull warranties often include limited coverage for blisters and none for gelcoat crazing.
Some warranties can be transferred. But not all of them. And even if they can be, there may be a cost or some hoops to jump through. If you buy a boat with a transferable warranty, call the company to find out how to transfer the warranty and call back a few weeks later to verify that it was actually done. You don't want to find out later there was a snag and you have no coverage.
Rust doesn't sleep — and isn't covered. Damage caused by corrosion is almost never covered under warranty — or by insurance.