Thinking about buying a second-hand boat? Go through the Marine Services checklist first


Posted on: 13 March 2019 by Tom Clark

Right now, you are thinking of buying a boat and sailing into the deep with your family or probably just yourself for your next holiday.

Or you just got back from a long sailing holiday in the Greek islands and you are thinking intensifying your experience by getting your own boat.

Whatever your reason for wanting to buy a vessel, it is worthwhile to understand all it entails to get a boat. Buying a boat is a big investment. It does not matter if you are new to sailing or an experienced Seafarer, buying a boat is a big deal especially if you are planning on investing in a used boat.

Aside from the expenses and the legal agreements it comes with, buying a boat can be quite simple, especially if you understand the process.

To help you make the right decision, follow the basic tips below before you make the final commitment.

1. What exactly do you want to buy?

You will be surprised at the variety of second hand boats that are available for sale. It is not enough to want to buy a boat, you have to be sure of what you want and check through different types of boats before you finally settle for one.

Knowing what you want to use the boat for will aid you in choosing the right vessel. Will the boat be used to fish? Will you be taking the boat to the deep ocean or a river? Or will it be used for water sport, or for basic family moments?

Whatever you will be using the boat for, you have to look through diverse types of boats like a fishing boat, motor yacht boats, cabin cruiser, deck boat, party boat, mono-hull boat, catamaran boats and lots more.

And if you're looking for a potential supplier before you buy your second-hand boat, check out the boats for sale section on Marine Services.

2. Check Your Budget

Although you don’t have to be a millionaire to own a boat, you have to choose a boat within your price range. No matter how much you have (mostly a reasonable amount) there is always a boat for you. Unlike cars, vessels do not depreciate slowly, so buying a boat at an affordable price does not mean you will get a bad boat.

Always consider the purchase price as the first half of your budget, the things you fix in the vessel to make it seaworthy and deem for travel is the other half of your financial plan. You are likely going to spend money on Battery bank replacement, plumbing, Hull repairs, Engine overhaul, Standing rigging, Running rigging and other things.

 So if you are looking to spend £60,000 on a second-hand boat, purchase a £30,000 boat and use the other half for the repair. Be cautious of buying older vessels especially those that still have their original gears. A boat like this can be cosmetically upgraded, but can be pretty expensive to upgrade its equipment.

3. Inspect and test the boat

You have seen the boat, you think it’s magnificent and the money is burning through your pocket. Don’t get too excited about your purchase, make sure you survey the boat and its gears.

Check the condition of the deck and hull and the cosmetic condition of the boat. Also, check for mechanical damage and significant cracks and corrosion around the joints in the chainplates, deck fittings and other places. Some Important things to look out for are the battery connections, the safety of the steering, lower unit lubricant, and bellows.

To be 100% sure of the state of the vessel, you can get a professional boat surveyor or a more experienced friend to check the engine for the necessary things a boat should or should not have.

Go a little further by testing the boat on the water. Sea trial allows you to experience the boat first hand and can help you decide if you are making the right purchase. During the trial, position the boat through different paces, make sure the engine works well and doesn’t overheat, the boat steers well, the hull is not leaking and the navigational instruments and electronics are functioning properly.

You can also ask other boat owners about their experience and opinions. Seafarers are always ready to share their knowledge and sea experience.

5. Ask Questions

It is okay to be inquisitive about what you want to purchase, especially if a lot of money is involved. Don’t be shy to ask the seller questions. Here are 7 main questions to ask before the final commitment to buying a second-hand boat.

  • Ask where the boat has been stored (during summer and winter).
  • Ask if the current owner is the original owner and ask for the boat’s provenance.
  • Ask why the boat is being sold.
  • Inquire about other problem the boat has had in the past
  • Ask if the boat has a warranty
  • How long has the boat been in use?
  • How consistent the previous owner has serviced he boat.

This questions are not exhaustive, but they will help you to make your final decision.

4. Get Legal Advice

The law has limited protection for individuals purchasing a second-hand vessel that is why you need to seek legal advice before you make the final purchase. If you have fully committed to buying the vessel, it might be impossible to get your money back, if you a sense foul play or a breach.

With a legal expert, you can sue the seller if there is a breach of contract. The legal expert will also help to check whether the boat has a marine mortgage and how long it will last.

5. Make the deal

You should have a contract for the sales and purchase of the boat. This is a binding document that shows the transfer of title to you and that warranties that the boat was sold to you legally. Make sure the owner transfers all the necessary documents to you.

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