Sunday, 8 April 2012

Buying a Boat Ten Top Tips

As well as making an assessment of my skills (or lack of them) as a boat builder, restorer, etc, and completing a checklist of what I want the boat to actually do for me, I’ve also been reading and researching the essential information I might need in order to arrive at the right decision. I’m assuming here that my new vessel will have had a previous owner and if this is the case, the advice, from various sources, seems to be consistent.

To an innocent soul like me it was also quite disturbing. Generally speaking I’m a trusting soul and I tend to take people and boats on their face value – but with a decision as important as this I need to be more careful. 

So here, in summary, is the advice I’ve been given – Ten Top Tips for buying a boat:

  1. What make is she? If you know the make you can read up about her reputed strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Has she had a recent survey? If she has, it might encourage you to pursue the sale and get you own survey done or walk away before you encounter any expense.

  1. How old is the boat? An idea of her age helps you to estimate whether she has been well looked after or whether she looks ‘old’ for her years. It’s an indication of condition.

  1. Have the engines been regularly serviced? If so, you should be able to see the service history – another good clue to her condition.

  1. Is she a local boat? If so, ask around, someone may know her. She may have a history.

  1. What exactly is being sold? The bare boat or the boat and all her gear. Ask for an inventory of what is for sale and check all main items.

  1. Why is she for sale? Sounds cruel this, but if you know why she’s for sale you might be able to negotiate a better price. Who knows? The current owner might need a quick sale to pay for the new cruiser he’s already ordered.

  1. Who are you dealing with? Is the seller the real owner of the boat, is he legally entitled to sell her?

  1. Are all the dues paid? Check that VAT (or other local taxes) have been paid and that there are no outstanding loan payments, harbour dues etc. If you’re working through a broker you should have less to worry about in this respect.

  1. What’s the lowest price he’ll take? Sounds like a silly question but boat owners have a great deal of pride in their vessels. The initial asking price can be very optimistic.