Figures from British Marine show that in 2020, boat sales grew by 9% – and we would hazard a guess that the 2021 and 2022 figures will continue to show this upward rise! So if you’re thinking about buying a boat for the first time, or upgrading your current one, what do you need to know?
When thinking about what type of vessel is right for you, think about what you want to use the boat for, and what you’d like to get out of it. For example, do you want to take overnight trips? Will you have guests joining you on board? Children? All these factors can influence the best size and design of vessel to get. One ideal suggestion is to look into borrowing a friend’s boat, or chartering one in the local area. Go out for a day sail, ideally in a range of vessels, and get a feel for what is ideal for you and your companions!
In terms of whether you should choose a newer build vessel, or one with a bit of mileage, we would only suggest the latter if you are confident you can complete the work you will need to do (or can pay someone else to a high standard!) It is incredibly important to ensure that all work done on the vessel is of a good quality, and that all fixtures/repairs are designed to last, so there’s no good in cutting corners here.
Most importantly, ensure you hire a surveyor – it is probably the most informative and helpful part of the process! The yacht surveyor you choose will work for you, so take full advantage of all their advice and wisdom. You can get a pre-purchase survey which confirms the quality and seaworthiness of the boat, and you can also ask your surveyor for their thoughts on the vessel value too – to make sure you are paying a fair amount.
There are many different ways to purchase a boat; you could get a marine finance loan, look into partial ownership options, or of course, you could pay upfront if you are lucky enough to be able to! However, this is the most important thing – once you have decided a budget or a limit, make sure you stick to it rigidly and don’t be persuaded to spend more than you can afford.
A marine boat broker can provide really helpful advice on the boat buying process, what to look out for, and to advise you on your financing options. Marine brokers should be authorised by the appropriate authorities, so you can feel confident your money is safe and secure.
There are many options out there for sharing ownership of a boat. One is that you can arrange this with a yacht company, who will manage the boat and care for it in your absence, whilst you can reserve specific periods throughout the year to spend onboard. Alternatively you could enter into a more informal agreement with friends or family where the costs and responsibilities for the boat are split between you.
Don’t forget that, however you go about buying the boat, that isn’t where the costs end! You will find that the costs for your mooring, the maintenance on the vessel, and your insurance, just to name a few, do add up and you will be spending additional money every year. You will also probably want to do work on the vessel and improvements to make it your own – whilst this can be expensive, you can budget for potential future expenses by building up a pot of emergency funds.
Overall, buying a boat can be stressful, but after the purchase and the preparation, they can bring immense joy and adventure to your life. If you are sure of your decision and are well prepared, you can definitely make it work!