Test Driving a Boat: What to Look for, What to Ask


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When you purchase a car or truck, you take it for a nice long test drive, making sure it has comfortable seating, a smooth ride, and all the right amenities. Shouldn’t you do the same for your boats?

When you properly test a boat, you are ensuring you take home a craft that accommodates your needs and provides excellent performance and safety. Before you purchase a boat, keep these handy tips in mind, and you’ll end up with a vessel that can keep you happy for years!

Consider How You Plan to Use the Boat

It’s important to always keep in mind why you want a boat in the first place. Do you want something that is large and spacious for cruising with a big group? Do you want to go fishing in shallow waters with one other person? Do you want something that is the perfect size for pulling skiers and wake-boarders? Will you boat on rivers or open seas? How much storage will you need? Remember these important points throughout your boat test drive.

Pay Attention to the Overall Size

Boat size is strongly related to your needs. Make sure you are paying attention to the overall length and width of the boat. This is not just for statistical measures, but also for the feel. Does it feel spacious or does it feel cramped? Can you walk comfortably from front to back? Can you store a cooler without creating a tripping hazard?

Look for Fast Acceleration with Minimal Bow Rise

Now it’s time for some fun! When you lower the throttle, how much rise is there in the bow? A well-designed boat will have minimal bow rise so you can maintain visibility during acceleration. In the same aspect, the boat should also plane quickly, meaning it will get to a state where it rides flat (or close to flat) in minimal time.

How Well Does it Turn?

Now that you’re moving, take some time to test the steering of the boat. For safety, make sure everyone riding with you knows you’re going to take a few turns, and never violently jerk the wheel. Instead, smoothly turn the wheel to one direction, then the other. Does it stay flat? Does it maintain stability and control? This is very important for handling and overall safety in your craft.

Test the Features

Before you’re done with your test drive, take the time to test all the accessory features and conveniences. This can include electronics, the bilge pump and the livewell aerator. Any mechanical or electronic system that is designed to increase convenience and boating pleasure should be tested for proper functionality.

Ask About Available Warranties

When purchasing a new boat, always ask about available warranties. Depending on the manufacturer, there may be warranties for the motor, hull, and electronics. Each boat will be different, however, so make sure you discuss this with a sales representative. For the record, Scout Boats come with fantastic warranties that make boating more affordable and less stressful!

Test Drive a Scout: You Won’t be Disappointed!

With a top-quality dealership network, Scout Boats can help you find the right craft for luxurious fishing and cruising! Contact us to set up a test drive of one of our world-class boats today.