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How to buy a second-hand boat

You can purchase a boat privately or through a boat broker. Buying through a broker means you get the benefit of the broker's experience and facilities, and they will act as an intermediary in the payment and transfer of ownership process.

A good broker will have written procedures and agreements for both the selling and buying of a boat which can avoid a number of pitfalls or disappointment. We use documents and processes recommended by the British Marine Federation of which we are a Member.

Once you have decided you would like to purchase a second-hand boat on brokerage, you will be asked to sign an "Agreement to Purchase" and pay a deposit of at least 10% of the purchase price.

You will also need to decide whether you wish to arrange for an independent survey of the vessel. (Brokers do not carry out a detailed survey or warranty a boat). It is your responsibility to contract with and pay the costs of a surveyor to carry this out on your behalf. You can find details of surveyors listed in the Waterway Press. The average cost of a full survey is approximately £350 - £600 dependent on the boat size and type. You will need to ask the surveyor and marina to liaise regarding any lifting or dry-docking required to carry out the survey. The costs of this are again the purchasers' responsibility and are approximately £500 dependent on the boat and facilities provided.

If you decide to make an offer, the broker will contact the vendor to ascertain if the offer is acceptable to them. If the offer is accepted the sale will proceed as above.

Deposits may be paid by cheque, bank draft or direct transfer to a 'Clients Account'. If you wish to pay by cash you will normally be given details of a bank account and asked to pay the money directly into that account which can be done over the counter at any Bank.

The agreement to purchase sets out the timescales required to complete the sale dependent on whether or not a survey is to be carried out.

Most brokers are also introducers and can provide you with information on arranging finance from several specialist marine finance companies.

Once the survey is complete negotiations can take place regarding any remedial work that might be required. It is best to discuss these with the marina as soon as possible after the survey. Once agreement is reached on this matter the sale must complete as set out in the agreement to purchase.

Ownership of the boat can only pass to you once the total agreed price of the boat has cleared through the broker's Client Bank Account, and the owner has signed the Bill of Sale. The boat can't be removed or altered in any way until all funds can be identified as being cleared.

Once the Bill of Sale has been signed you will be responsible for all costs regarding the boat such as insurance, licence and mooring fees. You can find information regarding boat insurance which can be arranged with a specialist inland waterways insurer.

If you are interested in purchasing one of the boats on our brokerage, or need more information please don't hesitate to contact the marina where the boat is currently lying or our Central  Office on 03303 330593 or use our online enquiry form.

See what is currently available for sale