Choose the right boat
You’ll also have to decide where and how you’re going to use her – for family weekends, sailing along the coast, sports, long journeys or even living on board. Regardless what your intentions are, these few lines should help you choose the right model.
New or used?
This largely depends on you purchase and maintenance budget.
New vessels come with warrantees and maintenance services, and you could also save some money on discounts or some free additional services.
When buying a new boat, make sure you know what the price is and what exactly is and isn’t included.
A used boat on which a complete check up has been done and which comes with a warrantee can be quite a good deal. You’d still have to inspect her yourself or pay a professional to inspect her, and to make all necessary smaller repairs. You should also carefully examine what is and what isn’t included in price – if the seller is a private person who is selling this boat to buy another one, he might want to keep some equipment (fenders, ropes…).
Diesel or gasoline?
This depends on how you’re planning to use her. Sport boats usually run on gasoline because it allows them better manoeuvrability. Boats with outboard engine also run on lead-free petrol.
The best fishing boats, cruisers and larger motor yachts run on diesel – they are bigger and heavier and diesel engines allow easier and more effective manoeuvring.
Private seller or broker?
There is no comparison in the quality of service you’ll get from a broker and from a private seller. On the other hand, you’ll have to pay for broker services more than you’d pay to a private seller, but at least you can rely on them to take care of the paperwork, negotiate with the owners, find you the best deals… It will save you a lot of time and the broker will find you more interesting offers than you could on your own.
Should I take the boat for a test drive?
Yes. You should definitely test the boat before buying her, although some owners might ask you to pay for the drive yourself. Have them show you that all elements are in working order.
Check all additional equipment for malfunctions – pumps, fish finder, lights, radio, running water… Also, try to do all things you normally would on board (starting, stopping, sailing…).
If you are buying a sailboat, ask the owner if you could set off with them the next time they go sailing so you could test the mast, rigging and other functions.
Like cars, boats also have their identity and there are many ways to confirm that the boat you are buying is actually the one that you are paying for.
RCD: all vessels built after June 15, 1998 have a manufacturer’s CE confirmation, proving that the vessel had been built in accordance with EU Recreational Craft Directive. This confirmation also shows the safety design category – A is the highest category, and C is standard small recreational vessel.
HIN (Hull Identification Number) contains 14 characters and should be printed on the hull. Letters and numbers state the country of manufacture, manufacturer’s code, unique vessel serial number, month and year of manufacture, and the year the particular model had been launched.
Declaration of Conformity: this document states that the vessel is manufactured in accordance with all EU regulations, and it is signed by the manufacturer.
Instructions and manuals: all new vessels must have instructions on functioning of basic operation and safety procedures, which is in accordance with General Safety Regulations from 2005. If these are not on board, calculate the price of their replacement in your initial offer.
Berth in the marina: if the private seller is offering the boat together with a marina berth, make sure you check what it’s about exactly.
How much is this going to cost me exactly?
Buying and maintaining a vessel is not a bargain, so organize your finance and stick to your determined budget so you don’t fall into some unexpected debts.
Berthing costs: the prices depend on the season and size of the boat. Marinas also have different prices among each other, so we recommend making contact with all marinas in the area and inquiring about the prices and available berths.
Maintenance costs: vessels must be maintained regularly, usually on seasonal basis, and the extent of works also depends on how much the vessel had been used. The costs include human labour, as well as some fixed costs such as lifting the boat, washing of underwater parts, fixing the mast…
Insurance: the law requires only charter boats to be insured, but it would be pretty foolish not to insure a vessel you just bought. Although boat crashes in the open are not a common occurrence, not having insurance might have catastrophic consequences. Boat insurance is not as expensive as car insurance, and it is worth every penny. In addition to insurance against theft, fire, crash and other accidents, make sure you also insure personal belongings on board.
Financing: a vessel is a valuable property. It would be best to seek professional advice on the matter of financing. Think well before choosing which bank to go to because not every bank has a special section specialised in vessel purchase. It would be ideal if you could find a lender that is flexible and willing to adjust the conditions to particular client.
- If you are buying a new vessel, make sure you ask for discount, especially if you are buying on a boat show.
- Get a complete equipment list in writing.
- Do your research! Buying a vessel is not a small thing, so make sure you examine the offer of dealers, brokers, manufacturers, boats and locations well.
- Before signing the sale contract, check the prices for insurance, marina, transport and maintenance – sale price is not the only thing you’ll have to pay.
- If you’re buying a used boat, check the prices for similar boats in the market, and real sale prices if possible.
- If you’re buying a boat from a private seller, make sure you get confirmations and receipts for all repair and check ups that had been done.