Montauk 17 purchase, owner doesn't want to demo in the water?

John Rite

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Sep 23, 2022
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John Charles Cyr
Should I buy a Montauk 17 without test on water? Seems like very nice clean well maintained boat but seems the water test is not convenient for the seller. He has no problem with running motor with cooling earmuffs... Not adjacent to water but I've never bought a boat without demo. Can I check it out well without demo ride? Or am I being too cautious...
 
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clevel

Skipper
  • Jun 4, 2011
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    If you are willing to gamble or seller is willing to provide a 30 day money back guarantee in writing, sure. If you cannot afford a project boat, definitely perform a sea trial.

    Definitely check for swollen, soft, bubbled deck and hull. Don't know the year of your boat but I have heard some older Whalers soaking water into the foam.
     
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    hbouldin1216

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    May 10, 2012
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    how far are you from water? what year is the hull? What model/year is the motor?

    Sometimes the back pressure on the exhaust from real water will show engine issues that the muff will hide...

    I'd tell him my offer was contingent upon a successful sea trial, and maybe offer a $500 deposit to make it worth his time. Everything could be on the up and up and he's tired of tire kickers looking for a boat ride, or he could have something to hide
     
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    bob311

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  • Dec 7, 2018
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    huntington beach
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    bob
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    23' sanger alleycat, 24 skipjack open
    I feel for both buyers and sellers on this. I sold a boat and wasted 4 Saturdays and 2 short days off work all due to tire kickers and low ball offers at the ramp. I ended up posting a video of it running wot, idling, shifting, ect and said i wouldnt do a water trial unless they gave me full asking price up front. If anything happens we can work out a price of what its worth to fix.

    when it comes to buying a boat, yeah i get it some people wont want to do a water test, especially if they feel it is already under market value. If you don't know what to look for ask them if they can take it to a local mechanic that has a dyno to do a motor test, tell them you will pay for it up front to the shop. Then not only can you be assured the motor is healthy on a dyno, but the mechanic will most likely be kind enough to give you a few recommendations of needed service. In my experience, that has always been a win win.

    The seller gets a free health report incase you back out of the deal, and you get a list of recommended service from a mechanic.

    I forgot to mention, i did this for a baja i bought years ago. We were both pretty far from the lake to trial it and i was kinda on the fence about the deal (more than i wanted to spend at the time). I paid to have a shop that was local to him check it out, the report showed that engine was cutting out and running hot. The mechanic recommended cleaning the fuel system, new filters, impellor and thermostat. We (the seller and myself) split the cost of this and it ended up running perfectly for me for the 3 years of ownership. Now if we had both sacrificed a full day going to the lake only to launch the boat and have it run rough and overheat I would have walked away and missed out on one of the boats I really enjoyed. He (the seller) would have also been kicking him self wondering why it ran fine on the hose.
     
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    sickcat

    Silverback
  • Aug 5, 2003
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    Devil is in the details. What the boats condition really is, price, how much you want THAT boat and how well versed you are in assessing the value of the boat.

    Without testing the engine under load your taking on some additional risk. If the boat checks out really well and your serious about making a good offer on it then do talk to the seller about a non refundable deposit for a 15 minute sea trial. If the boat passes a sea trial your good - if it doesn't its worth the $200 (or so) non refundable deposit to find out a problem so you can adjust the offer your going to make. If the problem is so serious that they don't accept your lower offer its' still worth losing your deposit as opposed to being stuck with an expensive repair to start.
     
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    Danthefishman

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    Oct 30, 2006
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    Dan
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    2 stroke or 4? Many 2 strokes act great on muffs and terrible under load. 4 strokes are much easier to get a feel for in the driveway IMO. I've bought and sold many low priced boats and honestly don't want to spend the time to sea trial anything under 10k unless the buyer has cash ready to buy as soon as we get back. I've dealt with way too many time wasters. You're almost always gonna find something on the water that you don't in the driveway. I would press him to trial, but if it's a smoking deal maybe he just doesn't want to deal with it.
     
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    strackle99

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 20, 2008
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    Would you buy a car without a test drive?

    Probably only if your mechanic inspected it first.

    Ask him for a full survey, or at least a sea trial.

    Smells fishy to me. If he wanted to sell a good running boat, he shouldn't be afraid of either a survey or sea trial
     
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    Tesoro

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  • Sep 5, 2015
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    shit I've bought dozens of boats ( that I was familiar with) and never did 'seatrial' once. You meet the owner and figure out if he is a slob or the type that takes care of his stuff, inspect boat and motor condition, hrs and thats all the clues you need to walk or buy it. Muff test of course. I am talking single engine small boats like a montauk. If you dont know boats then have someone check it out who knows them. Totally understandable to not want to do a pita water run unless the deal is sealed and cash is on the table. if seller is a boat flipper then i'll walk unless it is cherry and 100% unmolested.
     
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    Tesoro

    Member
  • Sep 5, 2015
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    Brookings, Southern Oregon
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    Chris
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    Would you buy a car without a test drive?

    Probably only if your mechanic inspected it first.

    Ask him for a full survey, or at least a sea trial.

    Smells fishy to me. If he wanted to sell a good running boat, he shouldn't be afraid of either a survey or sea trial

    'full survey/ on a 17th skiff??!!
     
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    First-light

    Liquid Therapy
    Aug 29, 2005
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    Marcus
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    speaking from somebody who has sold 7 boats, and am on number 8 I can attest to the following:

    Selling boats sucks ass

    Take it or leave it, no warranty implied or given under any circumstances unless seller explicitly contracts one.

    It's your responsibility to make the assessment of boat condition prior to purchase, buyer beware all sales are final.

    In all my boat dealings i've never done a sea trial when purchasing, I'm mechanically inclined enough to be able to make the assessment out of the water. Buying used vehicles is always a gamble, you are always taking a leap of faith, sometimes you get screwed, In my experience, it's been more good than bad. If you like the boat and it's below market value, then factor in the saving for potential issues that lie hidden. If you are at or above market value and seller won't sea trial, then F that guy, if it's way below market value, sorry, no sea trial.

    Selling boats I've almost every time had to give a sea trial for the final buyer before selling the boat, but they have to be very serious about buying and prove they can buy before I consider sea trialing the boat, have had many lookieloos and they suck, like major suck, lots of people with no regard of the time they waste for the seller.

    I love buying boats, I hate selling them.

    My 2 cents
     
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    First-light

    Liquid Therapy
    Aug 29, 2005
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    Marcus
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    Why? What are you going to not learn about a skiff you examined on shore vs running it in the driveway with muffs to check engine?
    My first boat I ever bought back in 1999 was a 17' sea swirl with a old merc 115 hp, ran perfect in the driveway, once you put it in the water the pinholes in the water jacket separating the exsaust and cooling water would pressurize, spraying water into the exsaust ports and essentially putting out the fire. Sea trial would have found that. That was the beginning boating adventures and mechanical nightmares that continue to this day. But that one great day on the water makes it all worth it.
     
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    Tesoro

    Member
  • Sep 5, 2015
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    Chris
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    21 Arima Ranger 'HogFish'
    Well if I bought a montauk with an old merc 90 then I would sea trial the motor at the dump. But as OP has given us no specs on motor or age and disappeared then we are just b'sing passing time.
     
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