Over the winter/spring of 2017 (okay, for the last 10 years...) I was searching pretty extensively for a new-to-me boat. Specifically a late 90's - early 00's Super Air Nautique. I’ve written about it on Oppo before, but this isn’t about my boat. This is about a Craigslist scam I came across in the process.

This one particular boat came up in a search, and I found it very intriguing. Low hours (no mileage on a boat), nice condition, pics were OK, and the price was on the low side of reasonable - not so low that I was sure it was a scam, but seemingly below market. The description was short, but accurate as far as I could tell. So I emailed the guy, I don’t remember the specifics but I never was able to set up a meeting. I knew it was sketchy, but wanted to pursue it just in case. Some people are just not internet savvy, or don’t know what they have, unlike every STi seller. I then saw the ad in multiple other regional Craigslist searches, and it became pretty clear it was a scam.

Months later, I’m on a forum and see a thread titled, “My 99 SAN (the craigslist scam boat)“ and sure enough, it’s that boat. As in, someone managed to find the actual boat and its owner and make a deal. But it still wasn’t even that simple.

I’ll let the new owner tell the story:

I was doing a google image search for 99 SAN because I was trying to remember the subtle differences from the 99 to the 00-01. So I click on this image linked to this stupid boats of the usa site and the ad was like over a year old, it did however happen to have a phone number. So the next day I called the number and this old guy answers, I ask for him by name and before I can even tell him what I’m calling about he interrupts me and says “I don’t know who the **** this is, call me back and leave me a voicemail telling me who you are!” and hangs up on me.

I was totally put off and was kinda like whatever FU in the back of my mind, but I called back and left a voicemail saying who I was and wanted to know if he happed to have the boat still for sale. About an hour later I get a call back and he says sorry I get like 30 calls per day from people trying to sell me drugs from online pharmacies lol. So we chat about the boat for a bit, he wasn’t that motivated to sell it and it’s just been sitting in storage for the last 3 years or so since his kids are grown up and none of his friends are interested in going out on the lake with him at their age.

So... long story short I had to wait anxiously two weeks to get the cash for my old boat, booked a flight to Vegas and went to close the deal. The boat was everything he said it was for the most part, 274 original hours, a few little very minor cosmetic things that need to be fixed but the boat overall looks like it’s maybe 3-4 years old. The trailer has a few rough spots but nothing too bad. He actually even had the Boat Trader from 2001 when he originally purchased the boat!

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I thought this was amazing, and figured I’d share it here. The guy did comment that it could be interesting when he tries to actually sell it again, some years down the road. And the forum thread is full of, “oh man I’ve flagged ads for that boat so many times!” or “I tried to buy it too!”

In fact, here it is, against all odds... still out there: