Buyer's Guide - Sailboats

Used Sailboats: A Buyer’s Guide

For many, buying a sailboat for the first time is a life-changing experience. Hitting the open water for the first time in your own sailboat is a magical experience. For most would-be sailors, this experience is not out of reach: used sailboats are surprisingly affordable. If you are looking to buy a used sailboat, there are some things you should be aware of. Here, we will highlight some things that everyone should look out for when buying a pre-owned sailboat for the first time.

Buyer Beware

You are likely familiar with at least some of the online classifieds sites that allow users to buy and sell nearly everything under the sun–including sailboats. While such sites do offer a convenient way for buyers to find sellers (and vice-versa) it is a “buyer beware” situation. These sites offer no guarantees as to the boat’s quality, and no recourse if the boat falls short of your expectations. It is much better to buy a used sailboat from a reputable dealer like Larsen Marine.

Assessing the Boat’s Safety Equipment

When assessing the merits of a boat, your top concern should be safety. That is why you need to ensure that your pre-owned sailboat has all the gear that you – and your crew/passengers – will need for a safe time on the water. At the very least, your boat should have bilge pumps (to pump water out of the boat), life rafts, life jackets, an Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB), and a VHF radio. While many of these items can be purchased separately, it will likely be a better deal if you are able to buy a boat that already includes this essential gear. You will certainly need all of these items before taking your sailboat out for the first time.

Choosing the Size of Your Boat

Choosing the right-sized sailboat takes vision. You need to picture how you intend to use the sailboat years later. You might be tempted to buy a small sailboat, thinking that you will be the only one who will use it, but what if your friends and family want to join you in your new hobby? The size, unfortunately, is the only aspect of the boat that can’t be altered. This is why we recommend leaving some room to grow into. One thing to be mindful of, however, is that larger boats are not only more expensive to purchase (generally); they are more expensive to outfit and maintain as well. Even just a few extra feet in length can greatly increase maintenance costs. That is why, when looking at a used sailboat, you need to project what your maintenance budget will be.  A dealer at Larsen Marine will be able to help you figure out potential maintenance costs. Another thing to consider when thinking about size is that longer, narrower sailboats tend to be faster, while wider sailboats tend to have more room for crew and passengers. Again, your decision will come down to how you envision using your boat and pursuing your new hobby.

For more information or help with your sailboat purchase click here.


Special Yard Hours

Hours for the yard will be Tuesday through Sunday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may call us at 847 336-5456 or email us at 

Please be advised that like many other communities, Waukegan has a requirement for face coverings. Please do not enter any building where you boat is not stored, especially our workshops and Service Departments.

Temporary Shut Down

By the order of the Governor of the State of Illinois, Larsen Marine Service is CLOSED from the end of the business day Saturday, March 21, 2020 until the end of the business day, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

We will inform you of any changes to this schedule or new developments as they arise.

Thank you for your understanding. Stay Well

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