Buying a second-hand boat

New boats can be expensive and the value depreciates as soon as you take delivery, thanks to dealer’s margin, delivery costs and so on. In terms of straight value buying second-hand can sometimes be a better bet, especially if you buy privately and do not have to pay broker fees usually charged on brokerage sales.

The popularity of used boats is not just a question of price: almost as important is the fact that a boat with a season or two’s use is a more mature product with the inevitable teething problems having been already sorted and extra equipment fitted. There may be other tweaks and improvements you want to make to tailor the boat to your needs, but this can be done for a fraction of the price compared to a new craft.

However, it is important to be careful with expenditure. On some older boats it is likely that you will not see a return on your investment, and the standards of design and construction will generally be a far cry from those of today. 

The website is an online database of stolen boats and marine equipment. All the information on the website is provided by the marine insurance industry and the Police and is cross-checked with the Police National Computer. Information about boat thefts is circulated to the Police and the general public by means of a theft alert mailing list. Before buying a boat or any marine equipment it is always worth checking the site to ensure it is not a stolen item.

The RYA Top 10 questions to ask when buying a second-hand boat 

1) Is your offer subject to survey or sea trial?

2) Has the deposit been agreed?

3) Has the seller been established as the owner and provided ownership documents?

4) Does the seller guarantee clear title?

5) Have you agreed and seen all the equipment included in the sale?

6) Have you found a suitable marine surveyor to check the boat, its engine and equipment included in the sale?

7) Have you arranged insurance?

8) Is the boat currently mortgaged and if so how will that be paid off before completion?

9) Are you using an appropriate contract?

10) Does the sale sound too good to be true? It probably is!


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