Used Tempest Advice

I’ve decided to purchase a faster boat than my Jackson journey and found two WW Tempest 170s within reach. One is 12 yrs old, for 850 and the other is 10 years old for 1k. My question: How many years is a roto molded boat good for. A Current Designs rep told me 6 or 7. Besides the hull what things should I be looking at in a used boat?

I think those prices are high for OLD RM boats. The could last a long time if not abused or long term exposure.

Look for faded colors, deformation in the hull bottom, see if skeg works smooth, seat condition and good hatches…

varies, but 10 could still work

– Last Updated: Jul-20-15 5:24 PM EST –

I've had 10+ year old plastic boats without problems.

Look for signs of plastic aging. Compare the color on some spot that is protected from the sun (under straps, inside hull, etc.) to outside. You don't want to see a significant color differences.

Push on a spot where the plastic should flex (large flat area) and see if it feels stiff. Stiff is bad. As plastic ages, it gets more brittle (stiff being a sign of brittle). Perhaps go to a local dealer and check out how stiff a new Tempest would be so you have a comparison point.
(edit - note for those taking this for general consideration - this doesn't necessarily hold true for boats made in triple layer plastic, like some Valley and P&H boats. That manufacturing process makes a stiffer hull.)

That said, the $1k price seem a bit high, if it was in my area. I look for used boats between 1/3rd and 2/3rd of new price, with age and condition setting where it would fall in the range. That boat new is some $1600, so maybe $550-1050 range. But the age would automatically drop it away from the top of the 1/3-2/3 range.


– Last Updated: Jul-18-15 1:24 AM EST –

I agree that those prices are really high for old plastic 170's. I bought a 2008 on Craigslist for $500 a few months ago in essentially pristine condition. A new one goes for about $1600 so no way I'd pay $1,000 for one a decade old.

Way too much
The Tempest 170 RM sells for about $1650 new…

I would offer about $400 and go from there. Your seller is delusional. Don’t pay more than $600.

Older Tempest hatch cover problems…
FYI the older RM Tempests had concerns with the hatch covers coming off. There are plenty of reviews stating this, and probably just as many saying it’s a great boat so who knows how widespread it was.

I do know they fixed the problem around 2009 with a redesigned hatch. It’s a good idea to check the serial number on the hull, I find sellers always tend to underestimate the age of their boats.

I’ve owned and used over 10 year old
polyethylene whitewater kayaks with no problem. The main issue is, have they been kept out of the sun between trips? UV exposure will gradually degrade poly hulls.

Whitewater hulls are often worn and wavy under the seat, but one can still get more use out of them if the wear has not thinned the poly.

I agree that those prices seem high for the age of the boats.

Too much $$$
Off-season these often go for $1,200 brand new. Used price should be half that, IMO, given their age. The hull will probably be OK if not exposed to sun and abused, I’d worry about the rubber and other pieces on them, which sometimes degrade faster.

As I stated in another post, I have two poly boats and both are more than ten years old and are at least as good as new. They have always been stored indoors when not in use. At some point, maybe time eventually catches up with polyethylene, but I have absolutely no doubts about the serviceability of my two plastic boats.