How to Sea Trial a Premium Salt-Water Boat the Right Way:

The Ultimate Sea Trial Guide

You’ve found the right boat for your boating needs. Now, it’s time to ensure the boat will perform and handle the way you expect when out on the water. Here is the 17-point On-Water Boat Sea Trial Checklist

17-Point Boat Sea Trial Checklist


  1. Check Engine wiring and harness, are they clean and neat?
  2. Check All Systems (Stereo, Water, Live Wells, Generator, etc)
  3. Open all compartments, hatches and doors…Are they solid or cheap?
  4. How does the boat accelerate?
  5. Does the bow rise up blocking your view when accelerating?
  6. How does the boat turn at normal cruising speeds?
  7. How does boat handle rough water (do not skip this step)?
  8. How does the boat “Feel” during each maneuver?
  9. How does the boat “Sound” during the entire demo?
  10. Does the boat “Rattle or Vibrate” during any portion of the demo?
  11. How comfortable is the boat for how you’ll use it?
  12. How comfortable are the seats for you and your family and guests?
  13. Is the boat easy to tie? Are there enough cleats in the right spots?
  14. Is there enough storage on the boat for your style of boating?
  15. How does the boat look on the water…will you turn heads?
  16. Did the boat provide a dry ride for you and your guests?
  17. Can dealer provide at least 20 testimonials or clients to talk with?