Buyer Beware?

-- Last Updated: Aug-05-09 9:36 PM EST --

Hey folks,

I just got on craigslist and someone had posted a 16' Mohawk for sale for $100. I called, he said that it is in pretty good shape but that it had been out of the water for about 3 years, sitting outside. Is it likely that it would still be in good working condition or should I just keep looking? I posted another thread about looking for something on the cheap.. I was wanting something Inflatable but if this looks like a good deal I'd totally go for it.

edit: I know this isn't the kind of thing that anyone can really just say.. "YEA GO FOR IT!" I'm mostly wondering if a Canoe that has been sitting outside, upside down, in the sun for a couple years would be worth buying at all. He's going to send pictures tomorrow.

I just saw the same listing -
it’s probably a fiberglass Blazer, which isn’t a bad boat at all. If it’s been stored upside down I don’t think three years exposure would have damaged it enough to pass up at that price. Fading of the gel coat isn’t that big of a deal.

Be more concerned with ownership records
Lots of canoes & kayaks sit hull-up in the sun, used & unused. Unless it’s 20+ years old, shouldn’t make a diff. Not like a sailboat that’s been out of the water.

The thing I would insist on is seeing ownership records. A bunch of kayaks got stolen in our area this spring and sold on craigslist. Including an Eddyline Equinox bought from us, red deck over white hull, SN EDY09234K506.

As far as i’m concerned that soured craigslist for me. I will never do business through that site.

what would
I ask to see? Is there typically a title or something associated with ownership that should be transferred to me upon sale?

Bill of sale
As kayaking becomes more popular, it attracts the whole spectrum of human beings including thieves. Kayak thefts are becoming more and more common. When we sell a boat, we include the buyer’s name & address as well as the serial number, color, make & model.

Find out from the manufacturer where serial numbers are on that make & model, and what their structure is, e.g. EDY is manufacturer, 09234K is the boat, 506 is the month and year it was made. Look for the serial number on the boat and see if it’s consistent with the manufacturer.

It’s called due diligence. Even if you unknowingly buy stolen property, it can still be confiscated with no compensation and you may risk criminal charges if you didn’t exercise due diligence to establish provenance. check the laws in your state, but there are also federal laws if the property was transported across state lines, used in a federal crime, etc.

This doesn’t mean sit quaking in fear in your basement, it means recognize kayaks are entering the world of theft-worthy property. End of sermon. Everybody awake?

notwithstanding the below advice
which is good from a dealers standpoint most private sales are without paperwork. If it looks like a bargain price for something that looks new…run however. Trust your gut.

Not knowing your state I would not want to comment about title. I have not run into that with thirty boats though.

if it looks old and used I would not worry much about its history.

Structurally sound…? Go by some rubbing compond and make it look pretty.

Go for a test paddle if it’s close
enough to do so. Even if it’s a pool or a small pond.


If it was sitting outside in the …
southern sun for three years, I would be worried, and wouldn’t buy it without seeing it.

On the paper work: I have bought and sold boats on P-net without changing any paper work.



of course
not, This one is close enough to go have a look at it. I was just wondering in general what kind of damage I should be on the look out for. He says it still floats great, but I’m sure there must be more to it than that.

I’m struggling with a decision to even go look at it. I’m really not trying to get into this big time, I just want to be able to get out on a lake and go paddling around a bit… I have nowhere to keep a 16’ Canoe. I just built a storage building but it’s only 12’ long. Plus I have no idea how to transport such an item. But if it’s in good enough shape $100 seems like quite a deal.

Too good of a deal for almost any shape
If it is in poor enough shape to be worth only $100, it would need major restoring or some transport to a transfer station.

I’d think stolen !

At $100, I would expect it to be very rough (not usable for long, if at all)- but repairable. Repairable means the hull is mostly sound (not brittle and “crackly” when you push hard on it) but maybe with localized damage. Any wood can be easily replaced (aluminum, not so easy, but possible) and seats can be re-webbed. If it’s ready to go without need of repair or reinforcement - I’d start wondering about it’s origin.

well I waited
too long anyway… someone already either got a great deal or just got suckered.

I would have been worried to buy it so quick without someone with experience looking it over.

Thanks for the input on it anyway, folks.

lots of canoes on CL here for under $300, many include a small OB motor.

$100 boats are there too - I opted for a $280 17’ grumman over a $100 15’ grumman as I wanted/needed a larger boat.

Times are tough, or so many people believe (depending on where you live) so $100 may be more important to them than a canoe that’s been sitting unused. Mine was sitting since 96, outside upside down. Aluminum won’t rot though, sun or no sun.

As for moving it, Dick’s sporting goods has Thule cartopper kits for under $50 (several types). Basically 4 foam pads and the straps and s hooks needed to cartop (canoe or kayak). You can cut off a bit of a strap and using a propane torch or your kitchen stove make straps to go under you hood (seach here on them).

Now whether you can get a 17’ boat up on the roof I can’t say - I have a minivan and I slide it up from the back using a 2x4 across the roof and roof rack (so not to scratch the hell out of the roof rack).

Don’t Worry…
…there will always be another deal on a boat.

My Moawk has been
sitting out side, upside down, braced carefully on 2X4s on concrete blocks for over ten years. When winter comes, it takes SUV from all sides. Plus usually has a foot or two of snow weighing it down all winter, on and off. Rain storms, bird poop, plant resins from leaves falling on it. It is a bit faded each spring but cleans up well with Armour All. Absolutely no problems what so ever.