Boats are an expensive investment no matter how you look at it. And while they can be loads of fun and a great way to spend time on the water, no one actually looks forward to paying extra for a boat. So when you shop for a boat you want to know that you're getting your money's worth and not a penny more. This is even more important when you're looking to purchase a pre-owned vessel. Here are a few ways you can find reliable used boat values before you make a decision.

The Value Check Service:

If you are a member of BoatUS, you can take advantage of the Value Check Service, which will provide you with free estimate of the value of the boat you are considering. They base their estimates on a number of factors including the purchase history of the boat, their unique body of knowledge, and an estimation of used boat values based on the manufacturer, model, and year. This service is not just paperwork though, it will require an estimator to make an in-person visit to inspect and evaluate the boat you're considering. This way the estimation you receive will be based on hands on knowledge of the vessel.

Determining Its Condition:

If you're not a member of BoatUS or you cannot wait until their inspector arrives, it is possible to determine the condition of the boat yourself. One of the first things you need to do is to conduct a visual inspection. If you don't feel confident in making a personal examination then consider hiring a professional to do it. If you are planning on putting down several thousands of dollars, the professional's fee would be well worth it to keep you from making a mistake you might later regret.

Get A Marine Survey:

Another way to determine used boat values is to get a marine survey done. It will give you a snapshot of the overall condition and value of the boat. An independent and neutral party that has neither the buyer nor the seller's interests at heart conducts this. It can give a potential buyer a pretty clear picture of the condition the boat and provide you with a fair market value that will point out the various problems you may face after the sale. It's an excellent tool for negotiating the price for the sale based on any recommendations the survey may list as repairs needed. Just make sure that you find a qualified surveyor to do the inspection. Since such professionals are neither regulated nor licensed it will be up to you to make sure that the person you choose is knowledgeable enough to give you a fair market value for the boat you're considering.

Owning a boat can be an exciting venture and it may very well take a long time for you to find the exact boat you need. Still, just like with purchasing anything else that is used, if you exercise caution and are willing to take the extra steps in finding the right match, you should have no problem determining the value of the boat you want and how it will fit in with your budget.