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Would you buy a boat that was used in brackish water?


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I am in the market for a used VLX and found a well priced 2007 with 700 hours.  The seller is the second owner and the original owner used the boat in brackish water.  The pictures of the boat look immaculate, no rust, pitting, etc.  The interior is original and in amazing condition for a 10 year old boat.  Even the bolts on the power wedge appear to be original (non stainless) and are in good condition.  Any thoughts on if this is a bad idea?  Anything I should specifically inspect, or questions I should ask?

 

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I considered it once but after inspecting everything I found corrosion. It was really hard on the trailer as well. I was still considering the purchase but the guy wouldn't move on the price so I was out.  Don't forget to check the trailer. Put your finger in the drain holes. 

 

 

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Its selling for 27K which is less then what I can find elsewhere.  The trailer is in rough condition.... what do you mean about the drain holes?  The two for the hull or the ones for the ballasts?

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45 minutes ago, obaro15 said:

Its selling for 27K which is less then what I can find elsewhere.  The trailer is in rough condition.... what do you mean about the drain holes?  The two for the hull or the ones for the ballasts?

I would wait for all of the boats coming out of winter storage in a month or two.  There will be others.

Edited by Pra4sno
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I grew up on salt water, boating since 1962.  Pictures of my salt water boats which I still have and use, are in the general discussion sticky dated late Feb. 2016.  The only concerns I would have on a well maintained rig is exhaust manifolds and trailer. I am assuming the boat was used, and not kept in brackish.  Like I tell a lot of people, a little seasoning (salt) won't hurt anything.

Edited by electricjohn
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53 minutes ago, obaro15 said:

Its selling for 27K which is less then what I can find elsewhere.  The trailer is in rough condition.... what do you mean about the drain holes?  The two for the hull or the ones for the ballasts?

The low spot in each tube in the trailer, there will be a small hole that lets water out (and in) the tube.  Even on a freshwater trailer they should be checked, since if they clog they promote all sorts of rust inside the frame.

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I do not run mine in brackish water but I have friends that do... If it was well taken care of (washed after each outing), how brackish is the water (depending on where you are on some of the river systems here, it is very low to same as gulf) would help in my decision.. but I normally stay away from them... Is the boat a salt water series or not?

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If it needs a new trailer then it almost certainly needs new exhaust manifolds.  Maybe they've been replaced already?  If you have enough room in your budget to replace both then it may be worth it. Problem is they're expensive enough to usually just pay more for a nicer boat.  

It's not that the boat is trashed or worthless. It's that often, you can do better financially.  Salt and brackish boats will last a long time with proper care but that requires trusting the previous owner and they still won't last as long as freshwater boats.  

I was talking about the trailer drain holes earlier. If you put your finger inside you can feel the condition of the trailer frame and maybe find what the paint is hiding.  I did this once and started enlarging the hole with my finger. Since I'm not @The Hulkthat meant the trailer was pretty rotten.  You could also pop out a tail light and see inside the frame. 

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Depends on how well it was taken care of and if it was purchased with the options designed for the salt, ie; closed cooling, galvanized/painted trailer, zincs, etc. I know several boat owners in Seattle and Portland and their boats look as good or better than boats here in the Kan.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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I have also heard a wise member of this forum state that you never take a boat from a salt area to non-salt area and expect to ever be able to sell it.  If you try to sell a boat that has been used in salt in a place where nobody has any experience with salt, you may not be able to give it away.  In Utah, we would all just run as fast as we could away from it (nobody boats on the Great Salt Lake).  On the other hand, if you live in Florida, you have a chance.  

  • Like 2
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Totally agree^^^ 

resale will hate you.

I live and boat on an island and when I was trying to sell my boat the first thing everyone was considered about was salt even though it had never been in it. 

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Thanks for the input.  The exhaust manifolds have already been replaced.  From what I can tell the trailer only has rust near the rear lights, the rest remains intact.  Unfortunately I have no idea how the previous owner (prior to the current seller) maintained the boat.  Based on the condition of the hull, interior, etc it looks immaculate but maybe they wiped down the seats after each use and didn't flush the engine.  I am in the market for a 2006+ VLX and this boat is priced right with the fact I am rolling the dice....  

  • Like 1
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17 minutes ago, obaro15 said:

Thanks for the input.  The exhaust manifolds have already been replaced.  From what I can tell the trailer only has rust near the rear lights, the rest remains intact.  Unfortunately I have no idea how the previous owner (prior to the current seller) maintained the boat.  Based on the condition of the hull, interior, etc it looks immaculate but maybe they wiped down the seats after each use and didn't flush the engine.  I am in the market for a 2006+ VLX and this boat is priced right with the fact I am rolling the dice....  

So buy it... and post photos.  

Earlier you said the trailer was bad. What did you mean?

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I had a cabin cruiser years ago when I lived in florida, it was docked in brackish water. Other than the outdrive showed signs of heavy pitting, the thing ran fine for years. It did not have closed cooling, nothing special for salt water use. You could definitely tell it was a salt water boat due to rusty areas, but you just kept up with it and sprayed things down with WD40 or other petro based lubes to protect against the salt air. 

That said, I wouldn't want a boat like a Malibu that was in salt. If you are going to use the boat only as a tool, then it woudl suffice. But too often we look at the boat as a prized possession so we want it to be pristine. A salt boat will be more difficult to maintain that stature.

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I dont think all brackish water is the same. A buddy had his cool old jetboat with zero issues in brackish Texas water. Boat spent at least 15 years in that water, and 20'ish years in fresh water before that.  Miss that thing. Flat bottom hydro. Big block chevy, no wake !  

How easy is it to inspect the boat?

Steve B.

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Chances are if he is the second owner he fixed a lot of the corrosion it may have caused. I would check over the electrical connections look for green or white corrosion on wires. Also look at the buss bars for corrosion and if everything seems to be in good shape go for it. 

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Oh and you can get an aluminum trailer from Magic Tilt or a similar brand way cheaper than a new Malibu or Boatmate. They are designed to be used in salt so you won't have to worry about corrosion. The only downside is they sit higher on the trailer. 

 

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Thanks for the input on the trailer.  I only need the trailer to go 2 miles a year.  1 mile to the launch in the spring and 1 mile home in the fall (and those are round trip numbers).  My main concern is to ensure I can get the boat home safely.

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