I'm baaack..... and unless you wanna end up like This
, Listen Up!
First off, what the people above me is great advice on selecting what "kind" of boat you want to go after. Heed their advice, especially Firefox. It's always good to go look at a few things, regardless of item, and get a feel for what fits you the best. That way you avoid the kind of knee jerk purchase that you end up regretting later.
Now that that's out of the way.
Do NOT under any circumstance buy a boat by "looking" at it. EVER. Get in it!
Put your feet everywhere they can go, on every little inch that you can put them. And where you can't use your feet, check with your hands and eyes. You're checking for soft spots in the floor. And I'd be amazed if a 20 year old boat didn't a at least a small soft spot or 2. Pull up storage compartments and check in there too. Looks like you have your eye on the "bass boat" style, which are largely fiberglass, which adds a huge huge huge amount of time to the repair, if there is any needed. If you want me to get into super detail, I will, but not right now.
Then, after you've concluded the floor is solid everywhere you can get to, check the transom. Now, the proper way to check this is to take core samples....but for some reason, sellers get really cranky when you start drilling holes in there boat. I dunno.
So you have to use a little investigation, a little assumption and some really good judgement. Look all over the transom for any signs of water leakage, look where any thing might have been silicone sealed in the past. Wiggle the motor up and down and observe if there is any movement in the transom.
Electronics and engines are easy to fix. Floors and transoms are not.
Which brings me to another point. Engines...
If you are going to go a little bit older like what you're looking at, I personally Love the Johnson/Evinrude/OMC line. Parts are still very available and relatively cheap. And, in my opinion, easy to work on. I also very much like any Yamaha, old or new and if I got a good deal on one, I would slap 'er on the back and never think twice.
Also, older 2 strokes are mostly
idiot proof. Chances are if it starts, it's good. So make sure you can hear it run. If not, walk away. If you walk into a dealer, and you look at the break down of the cost of a new boat, the motor makes up almost half
of the entire cost of the vessel. No joke.
Now, if you decide to forgo my advice and by some jalopy anyway, I Boats
is where you'll find anything/everything to know about marine life.
Have fun hunting, make the right choice and mostly, HAVE FUN ON THE WATER!