FAQ - Buying a boat

Taking the decision to buy a boat is a major step for anybody whether its buying a small launch for day fishing or a cruising yacht for round the world adventures. It pays in the long run to take time in the beginning to get the best understanding of your requirements for the boat and your future aspirations. The roll of a Yacht Broker is complex, engaged by and paid by the seller of the boat however, with a duty to both the buyer and seller in every transaction. Buyers can of course appoint their own broker to act as a consultee during the selection and buying process; representing you in your enquires and transactions. Below we have detailed the buying process, noting various matters that require consideration to make sure you are fully aware of what’s involved.

What type of boat do you want?
It may sound like a rather obvious question however one worthy of serious consideration. Changing boats is an expensive and time consuming process so time spent considering your personal requirements for a boat at the beginning is a worthwhile investment. A few simple questions to get you started are listed below.

What type of boating do you enjoy?
Motor Boating – Day trips/extended cruising? Sailing – Cruising / Racing.
What number of crew do you expect to sail with and what is their level of competence?
What are your aspirations for your sailing in the future?

What's your Budget?
Again it may seem fairly obvious however have you considered all costs involved with the purchase of the boat and those relating to the on-going running costs of the boat.

Purchase costs
Purchase Price, Hauling for Survey, Survey and any required small remedial works.

On going costs
Insurance, Berthing/Mooring costs, Winter Storage Costs, Safety Equipment purchase/replacement/servicing etc

Researching your choice
Once you have an idea of what you require and the available budget its time to start looking for suitable boats. Talk to friends, brokers and make use of the internet lots of online forums provide a very active environment in which you can gain huge amounts of knowledge in a very short space of time. There is also a wide range of historic test sail reports on-line with many magazines also looking at boats from the perspective of the 2nd hand buyer, providing tips on common faults and other owners sensible upgrades.

Arranging Viewings
Rather than turning up on spec to view a boat try to contact the selling broker in advance of your viewing, make sure the boat will be available along with somebody to answer any questions you may have. Try to view the boat along with some of your intended crew, they will spot issues which you miss.

The Purchase Process
Following a successful viewing and discussions with the broker an offer would be made to the owner which becomes a legally binding agreement signed by both parties. Take time to discuss the purchase with your broker and make sure all details are covered before you sign. Upon completion of the agreement the buyer will be required to place a deposit with the broker (normally 10% of the purchase price) the monies must be placed in the brokers Client Account and not his normal business trading account.

Subject to Survey
Any offer can be made subject to a survey, the purchaser is responsible for the cost of the survey and any others relating to the survey such as haul out fees etc. A broker may not recommend a surveyor however may supply a list of surveyors whom operate in the local area. The sister association to ABYA, Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association’s website also lists its members by area, as with ABYA all members are assessed before membership and have to complete continual personal development programs to remain a member.

Following the survey take time to read and digest its contents thoroughly, both the surveyor and broker will be able to discuss the implications of the findings. In the case of major defects you may wish to withdraw from the purchase, revise the price or require the seller to make good the defect. There are time clauses in the purchase agreement relating to all these issues and you should make the surveyor aware of these when commissioning the survey.

Sea Trial
As with the survey any offer can also be made subject to Sea Trial. It can be sensible for the surveyor to accompany you on the sea trial if the boat is fitted with complex systems which can only be tested while underway. Sea trials should be arranged in advance and you must allow for changes due to weather, all costs relating to sea trail are at the buyers expense.

Completion & Hand Over
Once satisfied with the survey and sea trial the process of purchasing the boat needs to be completed. Once the broker is in receipt of the ships papers arrange payment of the balance into the Brokers client account, when the funds have cleared the broker may arrange to undertake the final completion aboard the boat where the following may be done.
Check inventory against that agreed with the purchase agreement.

Check the ships paperwork; making sure there is evidence of VAT payment, RCD compliance (post 1998 boats), unencumbered title, bill of sale in favour of the buyer.
Insure the boat from the agreed date of hand over.

Enjoy It!