Buying a previously owned boat is a good way to get more features for your money. As well as saving money, you can get afloat within days, without waiting for your ideal boat to be built. The price of a boat will reflect its condition and specification. Unless you are adept at DIY work, you should buy the best-maintained boat you can afford. You should also check that spares are still available for the engine
and other key components. Whatever you choose, maintenance costs will inevitably be higher than with a new boat. Unlike cars, boats don’t come with log books or registration documents, though some may come with proof of ownership in the form of a bill of sale. Research carefully to ensure you are buying from the legal owner. There are no published price guides for secondhand boats, but adverts in the waterways press will give you a good indication of current prices. These vary according to the age and size of the boat, the hull-builder’s reputation and quality of interior and exterior fittings.
Buying from a Broker:
Many secondhand boats are sold by marinas or other brokers, who will often exhibit them together in one place. They produce detailed reports on each boat, much like an estate agent would. They can often arrange insurance, finance, transport and surveys for you. A good broker will ask the vendor for a detailed craft background, including its financial situation, but they cannot guarantee the information
supplied by the vendor is accurate. Therefore it is important you check all details.
When a sale is agreed between the broker and the buyer, a deposit is paid by the buyer. This is typically around 10% ‘subject to survey’. If your survey suggests that the boat is materially unsatisfactory, the deposit will normally be refunded. The boat should have a recent Boat Safety Certificate. If it does not have one, make sure you know the extent of the work required.
Getting a Survey:
If you are serious about buying a particular boat, you should not just accept the vendor’s survey, but commission your own from a professional surveyor. The information they provide may help you to negotiate a lower purchase price and save you a lot more expense and heartache in the future. You can also request an engine survey to be carried out by a qualified engineer. Your insurance and finance company may insist on a full structural survey of an older boat.