Buying a used boat?

Often I have customers coming to me thinking they got a great deal!

However in most cases you have bought someone’s issues, hence they sold it on.

Like anything used if it’s not been maintained the issues often cost you more in the long run than just buying new from the start. Plus the added frustration of the kit letting you down when you just want to enjoy your session at the water.

This being said, let me highlight what to look out for when thinking of buying  a used boat.

Key points:

  • Batteries

Honestly 9 out 10 people don’t look after their batteries so take it as you will be replacing the batteries regardless of their condition. Especially if it runs off a Lipo, not only is it a safety issue your investment could go up in smoke! Have seen this many a time. If the Lipo is fully charged and swollen this already tells you it was not looked after and should be discarded. So when looking at the price of the boat in question, consider what batteries would cost you. Often you would be close to buying a new boat that comes with them and a warranty with latest spec electronics.

Used Lipo going up in flames!!! Came with used boat.


  • Radio

Most cheap boats have a very basic radio with average range, most customers have to replace this from the start. The radio should be 2.4 hz with FHSS

Read up more about FHSS here:

Things to look for when checking the boat out

  1. Check all on/off switches function
  2. Check for water damage and white rust on electronics, normally due to water or damp
  3. Check for leaks if possible
  4. If the shaft is noisy or the motor, normally the first sign that shaft would need replacement
  5. Does the ESC (Speed controller) have a smooth throttle response, if its erratic the ESC might need replacement or is failing
  6. Check the lights
  7. Check if receiver antenna is not damaged
  8. Check that all servos work and have full range of movement and are not erratic too
  9. If a fish finder is installed check that transducer surface is in ok condition and all is in working order, most fish finders will only work once in water so keep this in mind.

After sale service

Can the boat in question be maintained and is there support for it locally?

Hopefully this helps you make and informed decision that will bring you many happy hours at the water.