Used boat-buying quiz

It’s probably safe to say that not everyone is cut out for the rigors of used-boat ownership. Before you let your boat-buying fever get ahead of you and your wallet, it might be helpful to take the used-boat buying quiz below to see if buying a used boat is right for you.

This not to talk you out of chasing your boat dreams — it’s just to suggest pausing to make some realistic assessments of what you may be facing when that boat is yours to keep and maintain.

Are you comfortable with risk?

Let’s face it, buying a used boat involves some degree of risk. Yes, there’s less risk involved than there used to be, but still, it’s not as safe as buying a brand-new boat. Or a brand-new anything. That cream-puff you bought might have a cracked exhaust manifold that didn’t present itself because the engine was already warm. Or it might be that a manifold bolt has broken off in the cylinder head, and naturally it’s in the hardest place to get to. That means you have put in some bilge time or pay someone else. Yes, the quality of boats and marine propulsion systems have risen greatly over the last decade, so even used boats are better than they ever have been. But they’re not without risk. You need to ask yourself how comfortable you are with that.

Are you handy with boat repairs?

If something breaks on your new-to-you boat, are you handy enough to fix it? Can you put a bellows boot on a stern drive? They have a given service interval and they often get overlooked, then split with age and exposure — and they will sink a boat. Most repairs won’t involve the risk of a sinking, but boats aren’t cars. The environment in which they’re used is much harsher. They get bounced around on the water, and things do break. If you are handy and have an awesome set of tools, you’re good to go, and you’ll find that working on your boat will give you a real sense of satisfaction. If you’re not handy with tools, you have to ask yourself the next question.

Do you mind paying for repairs on a boat you just bought?

The hourly labor rate for a marine technician varies, but if you can’t make the repairs yourself, you may need to pay someone for their time, plus parts. It’s one thing if you’re aware of problems when you agree to buy the boat. You can negotiate against them and get enough of a reduction in price to compensate for the repairs you’ll have to make later. It’ll be the unknowns that get you. In fact, it’s a good idea to budget for unforeseen repairs. That way, if something comes up, you’re not caught with an empty wallet early in the boating season.

Do you have the finances to buy new?

If you have enough financial wherewithal to buy new, that might be the way to go, and every boat manufacturer on the planet agrees with that statement. Just ask them. If you’re not new to boating or you have a lot of money to put down on the boat, or can pay cash, new boats have their obvious benefits. However, if this is your first boat, and you’re just trying to get your feet wet, “gently used” might be the best way to go.

Does everything on your boat need to be ship-shape?

If you’re as fastidious about the condition of your boat, everything needs to be ship-shape. But meticulous owners are hard to find, and so are used boats that have been meticulously cared for. If you have looked at enough used boats over the years, you know exactly what I’m talking about. But you want to keep looking until you find that one boat that strikes the balance between the right price and the right state of repair. There’s one in every price range. They’re just not easy to find. So the next question is especially critical.

Are you patient?

Finding a good used boat takes time. Even if you miss out on a boat, one you know you should have bought, but for whatever reason did not, keep looking. There are more out there. You just have to be patient and stay vigilant. When the next one comes along, you won’t hesitate. And that will be one of the two best days in your life.

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Boat buying blunders

Read more about these top four boat buying blunders to ensure your next purchase is smooth sailing.

1. Don’t shop until you drop

Everyone wants a good deal and to spend the least amount of money possible, but “overshopping” is a great way to miss out on the perfect boat. Many of us may shop around to the point where great deals slip right out from under our noses. This means you never end up finding a boat and get frustrated.

Being successful in buying a boat requires realistic expectations about how much a particular boat is going to cost with the options you want. This means knowing as much as you can about the boat you want, including its availability, popularity, and pricing. Popular and fast-selling boats typically command higher prices, so if you go hopping from dealer to dealer looking to save a thousand bucks, you may never end up being able to buy what you’re looking for—others will scoop up the boat before you do.

Additionally, consider the service and maintenance department component when you buy a boat. While lots of folks think their relationship with the dealer ends at the sale, you’ll always want a good service and warranty department in your corner for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Sometimes it’s worth waiting for a good local dealer to have the boat you want, knowing they’ll be invested in keeping you happy after the sale closes.

2. Understanding your finance options

Don’t assume that you can get financing. Buying a boat is not like buying a car, and the loan underwriting for a recreational craft can sometimes be far more stringent than a vehicle loan.The best thing you can do before you start your boat search is to go online and pull your credit report . Then you can look at your outstanding debts, your overall credit score, and figure how much money you can afford to put down. That way you’ll know where you stand before you find your dream boat.

3. Confusing used for new

When it comes to buying a previously loved boat, check your expectations at the door; they can often mislead you. We typically find that a lot of used boat buyers get aggravated when a used boat isn’t as perfect as a new one.When looking at used boats, remember that they’re just that: used. While you shouldn’t expect to buy a used boat that is falling apart or un-seaworthy (unless that’s exactly what you’re looking for) you should expect some imperfections. Gelcoat may not shine like it used to; vinyl seating and canvas covers may have faded; hatch gasketing may need replacing; etc. Know that these cosmetic items have little to do with how well the boat runs or how safe it is. But don’t expect that new boat smell when the one you’re buying is four years old. And if you’re worried about hidden defects, consider hiring a surveyor before buying.

4. Separating your wants from your needs

Another mistake boat buyers make is not being able to separate their wants from their needs, and that means they miss out on lots of boats that would suit them just fine.Before you start your boat shopping (new or used) sit down and figure out what features you’ll actually use, and ones that’d be nice to have. Just like when you buy a house, everything is a compromise of one sort or another. For example, you may want a boat with joystick steering, but an old-fashioned wheel would work just fine. And if you can’t sort out your must-haves from your wants, a good dealer like Silver Lake Marine can probably help figure out what’s right for you.



Introducing the Lowrance Elite 9 Ti

The best-selling series of 2016 just got bigger.

Introducing the Lowrance Elite 9 Ti – bigger and better for only R21 750.

Features specific to the Elite 9 Ti include:

  • Lowrance-exclusive, high-resolution, 9-inch, LED-backlit colour display.
  • Easy-to-use touchscreen.
  • Touchscreen provides fast, fingertip access to all Elite-9 Ti features.
  • CHIRP Sonar, StructureScan®HD and DownScan Imaging™.
  • Top-of-the line sonar technologies provide the best possible view of the environment beneath your boat. StructureScan® HD requires optional TotalScan™ transducer.
  • TrackBack™.
  • Scroll back through your sonar, SideScan or DownScan history to review structure or fish targets and mark the location with a waypoint.
  • Internal GPS antenna.
  • Highly accurate, built-in GPS antenna.
  • Built-in wireless connectivity.
  • Access to the GoFree™ Cloud where you can shop, purchase, download and immediately use Insight maps, and third-party maps from GoFree partners.
  • Boat Integration and System Control.
  • Bluetooth® control of Power-Pole® shallow water anchors and SmartSteer™ control of Motorguide® Xi5 Trolling Motors
    microSD card slot.

About the Elite Ti Series

With more viewing options than any competitor, Elite Ti models come standard with CHIRP sonar across more frequencies, exclusive and instant TrackBack™ sonar history recall and compatibility with the TotalScan™ all-in-one Skimmer® transducer, providing CHIRP and StructureScan® HD with SideScan and DownScan Imaging™.

All Elite Ti models use proven high-resolution imaging frequencies — both 455 and 800 kHz — for StructureScan HD, DownScan Imaging and DownScan Overlay™ for super-fine, incomparable detail. Only StructureScan HD imaging makes available the widest side-scan range in fishing. With a max range of 300 ft. to each side of the boat, Elite-Ti is easier to use, eliminating multiple passes.

You will spend less time idling and more time fishing with Elite Ti.

Superior networking features including NMEA 2000® (excluding Elite-5 Ti) and wireless connectivity that not only delivers notifications about new software updates, but allows you to download new software directly to the display, for the Elite Ti and all connected NMEA 2000 devices. Elite Ti features onboard Service Assistant and Network Analyzer Wi-Fi service tools, enabling you to send system reports, screenshots and software version information directly to Lowrance Customer Service. Wi-Fi also connects you to the GoFree® Shop, allowing you to upload sonar data or download custom maps from your Insight Genesis™ account. Bluetooth® wireless capability enables control of C-Monster® controlled single- or dual- Power-Pole® installations directly from the Elite-Ti touchscreen.

The Elite Ti Series features a clean, rugged design. Just what you would expect from Lowrance. Matching great performance and exceptional features with easy-to-use operation.

Order yours from us today. Just complete the form below.

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Lowrance ski boat bundle special

You can get an awesome Lowrance ski boat bundle for only R49 999. This means you save an incredible R11 821.

The bundle includes:

  • An HDS 9 GEN3 networkable unit – including CHIRP sonar and GPS chartplotter.
  • An Outboard Pilot (autopilot for hydraulic outboard motors)
  • An HST-DFSBL transducer (transom mounted dual frequency 600 watt)

Lowrance ski boat bundle special - Silver Lake Marine

It’s the ideal electronic setup for avid deep sea anglers.

Optional extras include:

  • Lowrance VHF radio and VHF antenna
  • Navionics Platinum Plus chart
  • Sonic Hub audio marine system
  • Radar system
  • Engine management

This offer is for a limited time only and is only available while stocks last.

Contact us today to get yours!

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Boat storage checklist

Once you have retrieved your boat, it’s important to spend some time running through a standard check list to ensure your boat is ready for storage.


Ensure that your licences and certificates are up-to-date. If these are expected to lapse before your next time out on the water, schedule some time in your calendar to have them renewed. In St Francis Bay, river and canal licences are renewable annually in June. Your Certificate of Fitness is also renewable annually – the date varies depending on when last you had your vessel certified.


Look out for anything that might need repairs, replacements or modifications. Make sure that all the electronics are working properly and the holding tank is free of any leaks. Be sure to check things like your fire extinguisher/s, life jackets, navigation lights, flares, anchors, fuel tanks, etc.


After you’ve run through the checklist of repairs and replacements, clean the inside of your boat.

  • Remove any and all traces of garbage.
  • Clear out any lockers or cabinets in the cabin.
  • Scrub the decks with some lemon oil. Clean your boat’s carpets.
  • Empty out your bilge, but don’t pump the bilge water out if you see an oily film – you don’t want to pollute the water you’ll be swimming in later. You can clear out the bilge using a bucket or an electric pump.
  • Remove any extra gear that’s lying around on the deck and in the cabin.


After you’re done playing boat custodian, head over to the engine bay.

  • Top off the fuel tank with gas and add fuel stabiliser to keep your gas fresh.
  • Change the oil filter and replace the engine oil.
  • Check all the hoses, belts and clamps to make sure there aren’t any holes, leaks or frays.
  • Flush out the coolant system with water.


  • Flush out the head with clean water.
  • Pump out whatever remains in your holding tank. You’ll want to take a quick look at the Y-valve, macerator and discharge hose to see if anything needs fixing.
  • Store your boat stern-down so that rain drains through the scuppers.
  • Give your vessel some structural support under boat covers and tarps.


At Silver Lake Marine, we provide comprehensive boat storage services to ensure that your vessel remains in tip-top shape, even while it is in storage. For your obligation-free quote, please pop us an email using the contact form below.

Get your quote now!

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