From the Forums: Common Problems For First-Time Buyers

January 2015

Do you have any questions, want to cash in on some advice, or just have fun chatting with fellow houseboaters? If you haven't checked out our forum page yet, you simply must. Seasoned houseboaters can warn you of mistakes to avoid and innovative do-it-yourselfers want to share their latest project ideas. To get a taste for it, here are some excerpts started by Wyatt, who wanted to know what to an eye out for when buying a houseboat for the first time:

Wyatt I am looking at a 1989 Gibson 36 that from what I can tell is in good condition. I've been on it several times and never noticed any problems. The owners told me that they have taken good care of it and have even had some recent upgrades done to the electrical wiring, prop and engine. What are some of the most common problems that I should look for when buying a new houseboat?

Ike It may be as the owners claim and it may not. The best thing to do is get a Condition and Value survey (C&V). Hire a certified marine surveyor. It will cost you some bucks, but it will save you a whole lot more than it will cost to have it surveyed. Under no circumstances hire a surveyor recommended by the seller. Find your own. Check with SAMS (Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors at and make sure you get both an in-water (so they can run everything) and an out-of-water survey.

DitchRider Watch the windows and doors, especially the rear sliders, for water damage and rot. Also pay attention to the front hatches for rot.

Do you have any advice for a first-time buyer? Do you need advice for your next big project? Check out our forum at We'd love to have you join us!

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