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Looking to buy used, how do I test one first, rentals?

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we are in the process of looking for a used Malibu for our family, 12,12,14 -  We live outside Chicago but road trips are not an issue. 


1. Anyone know a good place to test them out on the water , daily rentals ect ?

2. we are new to boating currently have a small 18Ft boat - we are looking to hold more people. Is this a boat easy to drive for newbies? We are looking at the 22 or the 24 with the wake setter?

3. Favorite lakes to take the boat for wakesurfing  also would be great. closer the better but really open


Any-feedback would be soo appreciated!


Edited by NotsoLoud
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Several years ago I upgraded from an 18' Bluewater to a 21' VDrive.  it is a whole different boating experience with  a steep learning curve.  it will take some time to get used to the handling.

July and August are the worst times to buy a used boat because demand is very high so you will pay a premium.  Also due to the shutdowns, there are many more people in the market for used boats which is also driving up the prices.   If you find a boat you like, buy it quick because it wont last.

I am on the west coast and high-end boat rentals are not a thing here.  when you find a boat you are interested in, take it for a test drive.  If you are not mechanically inclined, have the boat checked out by a 3rd party mechanic.   Also consider the capabilities of your tow vehicle as a 24' Malibu could weigh double what your 18' boat weighs. 


Good luck!

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They rent them up here - a thousand bucks a day and up.  Frankly, the OP should find a friend with one to get an idea of what  to look for, how to drive etc.  Dealers are, as said, very busy and they  may not be able to spend days with you.  Plus it becomes apparent very quickly when someone is new to inboards.

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