A Boat Buyer’s Guide

Whether you want to sail or cruise, owning a boat can be a good investment.

Have you always fantasised about sailing over the horizon, dropping anchor in a secret bolthole or drinking sundowners on deck on a summer’s evening? Then you’re not alone. The latest figures from British Marine, the membership organisation for the boating world, show that it’s a booming leisure industry, with over 3.2 million UK adults taking to the water each year, and over one million boats and watersports crafts owned by UK households.

If you want to share in the fun, then with these steps and a bit of savvy thinking, your purchase could turn into a sensible investment.

  1. Choosing the right type of boat

Before you start to look, ask yourself a few questions: what do you want to use the boat for? Do you want to stay on the river or go to sea? Want to pootle along the coast or cruise across the English Channel? How often will you use your boat? Will you want to stay on board and bring friends and children, or cruise solo?

Once you have a clear idea of the type of boating you want to do then you should visit TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, where you can inspect hundreds of boats and get a taste for what lies ahead. In addition, websites such as Yachting & Boating World are a fount of information, as are magazines such as Motor Boat & Yachting, Sailing Today and Practical Boat Owner.

  1. Set a budget

When deciding how much you want to spend, alongside the initial outlay for the boat, you need to factor in other costs, such as mooring fees, maintenance and fuel (even most sailboats use some diesel), and for a 30ft motor boat based in a sought-after marina on England’s south coast, this will cost in the region of £10,000 a year.

A brand-new 30ft – 40ft motor boat will cost you anywhere from £200,000 – £400,000 (sailing boats tend to be a bit cheaper) and within a year many will dip in value. However, consider buying a boat that’s three to four years old and you may find it holds its value better.

If you need finance, marine mortgages are available for up to 80% of the value of the boat and typically last a maximum of 10 years. It is also possible to fund your purchase with a loan.

  1. Get a broker

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the type of boat you want to buy, it’s time to talk to a broker (a person who lists boats for sale and does all the conveyancing) to help you through the buying process. The Yacht Brokers, Designers and Surveyors Association (YBDSA) recommends using a professional broker who has undertaken some training. The best option is to check if the broker/dealer a member of an association which operates a Code of Practice/Conduct that its members must adhere to such as:

  • British Marine (BM)
  • Boat Retailers and Brokers Association (BRBA) – (a group association within the BMF)
  • Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents (ABYA)
  1. Paperwork

Once you’ve chosen your boat, you’ll want to check all the paperwork is in order and a good broker will know what to look for. You’ll need a bill of sale, an engine service history, and proof of VAT paid, and you may need to check if it needs to be Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) compliant – if so it should have a Hull/Craft Identification Number that matches the CE plate attached to the boat. Often this compliance certificate is found at the back of the owner’s manual.

  1. Make an offer

When it comes to agreeing a price, be sure to negotiate – for new boats you’ll need to factor in optional extras such as electronics, delivery costs and commissioning. Once you’ve agreed on a price, you will need to pay a 10% deposit.

  1. Get a survey

It is paramount that you find out the condition of the boat so that you know whether any problems can be easily rectified or if something more serious is at play. The YBDSA says: “Use a member of a professional organisation as they will have professional indemnity (PI) insurance. Don’t be tempted to skip the survey – you will likely need one for insurance anyway. Most surveyors are not marine engineers, so consider having a specialist marine engineer look at the engine, especially if it’s a motor boat. But most of all – be realistic in your expectations.” The association also strongly recommends taking the boat out for a test run or sea trial.

  1. Get insured

Although there is no specific requirement for insuring your boat, most marinas do require £2m public liability and third-party liability. If you’ve had to take out finance, your lender will usually require insurance too. According to boat insurer Haven Knox-Johnston, all-risks insurance can protect you against the major costs of recovering a boat that sinks, while you may need to take out additional insurance if you wish to tow your boat or take it abroad.

  1. Learn how to use your boat

Strictly speaking, you don’t need qualifications to skipper a leisure boat in the UK. If you’re using the inland waterways you will need to purchase a boat licence from the relevant navigation authority (eg the Environment Agency if you’re keeping your boat on the Thames, or the Canal & River Trust for most other waterways) and to do this you need a valid Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate – similar to an MOT. While there is no registration requirement for taking your boat to sea, a little training will go a long way in confidence-building and help you get out of the marina. The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) runs a number of courses, from motor cruising lessons to sailing – and the RYA Day Skipper shore-based course teaching navigation and seamanship, followed by the RYA Day Skipper practical course will cover both the theory and the practice of helming a boat.

Why not visit Lombard at TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show 2018 on stand E046. This spectacular world class event, feature’s one of the worlds largest purpose-built marina, and provides authentic experiences both on and off the water for a fun-filled day out for boaters, trade and the whole family. You can meet our dedicated and experienced exhibitors Lombard who will assist you with finding the right finance solution for you.

How to get in touch:

Email: Joe Dalton, Relationship Director at Lombard Marine – Joe.Dalton@lombard.co.uk
Follow Lombard on Twitter: @LombardAF
Visit their website at: Lombard Marine
Stand number: E046