If you are looking to buy a used jon boat, there are some important things to look at. Here are some tips to help you make a good decision and end up with a boat that will last you many seasons.
How Much Time Do You Have?
The first thing to consider when purchasing a used boat is; how much work are you able to put into it, or how much work do you want to put into it? Like any restoration project, if you buy a “Fixer-Upper” and have time to work on it, you can get a real bargain.
Check For Leaks & Previous Repairs
Used jon boats can cost you quite a bit to prepare them for the water. The first tip is to examine the boat thoroughly and look for obvious leaks.
When examining a used jon boat for leaks, the very first thing you want to look for is areas that have been repaired. If you visually discover that the boat in question does have repairs, do the repairs look like they were done professionally or are they sloppy? Do they look bad enough that the boat might take on a lot of water?
How To Check Boat Leaks
There are a couple of different methods for checking boat repairs for leaks. The best, and most thorough way, is to move the boat onto a trailer or stands and actually fill the boat with several inches of water. You can focus on the bottom of the boat and see if it is leaking, and if it is, how fast is it leaking. This will give you an idea of what you can expect when you take it out on the water.
If it is leaking in several places and it is leaking quickly, you might want to pass on the boat. It will be hard to repair it and make it so that it does not leak.
Location of Leaks
Take notice where any leaks are coming from. Are they coming from cracks in a fiberglass jon boat? Or are they just simply dripping from an old bolt or rivet in an aluminum boat?
Oftentimes, if a fiberglass boat is leaking from cracks, the boat is damaged beyond repair. Maybe it fell off of a trailer and the entire hull is cracked. Or it ran into structure and caused a great deal of damage to the entire hull.
Make sure you evaluate the extent to which the used boat leaks before making a purchase. If an aluminum boat is leaking around bolts or rivets, it usually can be repaired easily.
Check For Peeling Paint
The second tip when you are deciding to purchase a used jon boat, is to look for areas of peeling paint. Peeling and chipped paint spots can accelerate corrosion on an aluminum jon boat that is used in saltwater.
If you plan on using an aluminum boat in saltwater, it is important to remove the peeling paint and repaint it so that galvanic corrosion does not occur. Fiberglass boats do not corrode in saltwater so this is not an issue with them.
Test Corroded Areas
If you are buying a boat that has visual signs of corrosion, make sure you test the corroded areas to determine how bad they are.
Most boat sellers are not going to let you try to kick a hole in the bottom of their boat, however; if you just use a finger and press on the corroded areas, you should be able to tell how bad it is. If the metal moves, or worse yet, if you do cause a small hole, you should examine how large of an area the corrosion encompasses.
All corroded areas can lead to leaks, which in turn can sink your boat if they leak too badly, so make sure that the corroded areas of the boat you are thinking of purchasing are superficial and can possibly be fixed.
Check The Transom
Another tip when buying a used jon boat is to check the transom really well. Inspect the wood for cracks and most of all, rotting.
If the transom needs replaced, it need not be a deal breaker, however; the cost of materials and your labor should come into play when you are negotiating a price for the boat.
If you can do the work yourself, it will cost around $25.00 for materials and a couple hours of your time. If you cannot fix the transom and have to pay someone to do it, it could be quite expensive so you might want to pass on the boat.
Check The Oar Sockets
When you are inspecting a used jon boat, another thing you want to look at are the oar sockets, if the boat has them.
Older boats have most likely had a lot of oar use. This use over time can cause the metal sockets to crack and the nuts and bolts to loosen. Another thing that can happen, overtime, is that the bolt holes can become too large, therefore causing the oar sockets to become loose or fall off.
Inspect the oar sockets because new ones will cost you $30.00 or so.
Ensure The Weight is Correct
Make sure before buying a used jon boat that you are satisfied with the weight of it.
If you are looking to buy a small jon boat for two people, you want to make sure that it is light enough to be moved by two people. A couple extra feet of boat can really add on to the weight and make it hard to move around.
Different makes of boats can vary quite a bit when it comes to weight. So when you are looking at a used boat, preferably have your fishing or hunting buddy with you so that you can pick up the boat and get a good feel for the weight. Look for handles on a used boat that make it easy to move.
Lastly, look for deals and shop around for a while. Many boat owners are upgrading and are just selling their boat. Others are selling their boat with all of the equipment included.
When comparing similar boats, it is a good idea to factor in the cost of all the included gear. Trolling motors, oars, life preservers, flashlights, batteries, air horns, and the anchor can really add to the cost of a jon boat.
If you find one that has all, or some of these things, and is a good solid boat, you have most likely found a good used jon boat.