How Many Hours are Too Many On A Used Inboard Boat?

When it comes to used Inboard boats (like MasterCraft, Supra, Or Moomba) after price, the second most common questions is, "How Many Hours Does It Have?"  Everyone asks about hours but most people don't know what the number of hours really means. 

Most buyers are probably much more comfortable answering the question, "how many miles are too many on a used vehicle?"  The final answer of this question will vary with experience and budget as will the ultimate answer to the same question on a boat.  We all have more automotive experience to draw our opinions from so lets start there.

It is safe to say most people will feel that a used vehicle with 60,000 miles has a lot of life left in it?  It is very common for vehicles to go three or four times that distance.  How about a 1000 hours on a boat?  Many people we talk to think that 1000 hour boat is something to be avoided.

What we need to do is find a common link from automotive to the marine world and the easiest way to do this is by using oil change intervals.  A 60,000 mile vehicle having its oil changed every 3,000 miles will have had 20 oil changes.

Most marine engine manufacturers recommend an oil change every 50 engine hours.  Our 1000 hour boat serviced every 50 hours would have had the same 20 oil changes.  Similar levels of wear can be assumed in this example.

Some newer vehicles have an engine hour meter.  Here is a picture of the hour meter on one of our shop trucks.


Notice that this truck has traveled 26,132 miles which virtually everyone will agree is not "Too Many" but has 793.6 hours which is a number many boat buyers would seek to avoid!

It is not bad to have fewer hours on a used boat.  However, if we have to pick between a used high hour boat in amazing condition with a strong service record and a lower hour boat with questionable service history and/or condition issues, we would recommend the higher boat every time.

Boat owners have drastically varied use patterns.  If you are like many users that put 50-75 hours per summer, it will be virtually impossible to "wear out" a boat unless it is not cared for properly.

We have purchased boats from MasterCraft that had been used at Cypress Gardens in Florida and had over 7000 hours on the original engine.  They were still pulling ski shows every day!

The intention of this article its to help educate people to not rule out some good used boat options before they do a bit of research.  Engine hours on a boat are not as bad as many buyers assume!