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Buying a Boat

Before buying a boat, you need to ask yourself a few questions to make sure that the type of boat you are interested in, will fit your requirements and lifestyle. The questions may be looking at the type of boating you wish to do, how often you intend on using it, who will be using it.

Costs of Owning a Boat
Once you have decided on the type of boat, you will need to establish a budget. You will need to look at not just the initial outlay for the purchase, but also the additional costs such as: maintenance, mooring, marina and storage fees, fuel and insurance.

Boat Viewings
Once you know the type of boat you are looking for, you can contact a yacht broker to engage them to help find you a boat and arrange viewings, or contact vendors yourself directly if choosing a privately advertised listing. There are a variety of benefits and reduced risks in buying through a yacht brokers. Pictures may tell a thousand words but there is no substitute for getting close to the boat.

The Contract
When you find a boat you like, talk it through with the broker, who will provide a Sale & Purchase Agreement that both parties sign. Any amendments must be agreed by both parties. This is a binding contract so be sure before you sign. (NB A broker, as opposed to a dealer, is not a party to the contract – he is acting as the vendor’s agent.)

The Deposit
You will need to leave a deposit (usually 10%) – which the broker must put in his Client Account (not his usual business trading account). This is your money held by the broker as stakeholder.

The Survey
Before handing over any money, ensure you arrange a survey with a registered yacht surveyor who has indemnity insurance. The surveyor will provide a detailed report of the current condition of the boat, which you should read carefully. Please note that for smaller boats, such as dinghies, a survey is not necessary, but you should ensure you research whether you’re paying the right price given the condition.

Finance
If you require finance, make sure that you allow enough time to contact a finance house – the money needs to be available when you reach completion stage. Westwater Yacht Sales is partnered with a few different marine finance providers to offer your finance.

Sea Trial
If you want to test the boat on the water, you need to advise the broker early so they have enough time to set this up. You will be responsible for any slipway lifting or skipper’s fees. The broker will be able to help you if you’re not sure how everything works onboard and answer any questions about running and maintenance costs. A better option may be to charter a boat, that way you’ll really get a feel for what owning a boat will be like and if you go with family and friends, get an idea of how much space you need.

Final Checks
Check that the inventory is complete and the broker has received the title documentation including the VAT documentation. This will save any problems later.

Completion
Allow enough time to set up the electronic transfer to the Broker’s Client Account. Once the funds have cleared, completion can take place. The broker will give you the documentation, including the Bill of Sale transferring title from the vendor to you, and the keys to the boat.

Insure it!
Don’t forget to insure the boat before you take possession. You will almost certainly need a survey for this, so don’t be tempted to skip the pre-purchase survey, which can be used for this purpose too.

Training
If you haven’t sailed or driven a powerboat before do get some training before heading off. It is essential you know the ‘Rules of the Road’ and have adequate safety equipment. The RYA has a wide range of courses to assist you.

View a range of new boats and used boats for sale.