Things to remember when buying a boat

Before you make an offer on a boat

1st December 2018 by Martin

Having been through the boat buying process twice, and learned some lessons along the way, I compiled this short list of things to remember.

Once you get into the buying process after making an offer things things can move very quickly, so it’s important to ask questions and do checks before you make an offer. If I ever go through the process again it will be useful to go through this list again.

Questions to ask

  • How many engine hours ? Can you show me? (Look at the engine hours clock, is it the same as specified in advert? If not why not?)
  • Is there finance outstanding on the boat that will need to be repaid from the proceeds of the sale?
  • Can I see the service history and any invoices for work done?
  • Are there any known problems?
  • Has the boat been under offer before?
  • Has the boat been chartered ever before?
  • What would be the arrangements for a sea trial? Who would be responsible for what? Can I have that in writing as part of the agreement. (Ensure you don’t pay for skipper)
  • Where was the boat wintered?
  • Where has the boat been sailed?

Things to check

  • Is there a suitable and reasonable cost berth available? Length and depth and access at required states of tide.
  • What is the manufacturers service schedule for this Engine?
  • After the survey, you can walk away for whatever reason and at you sole discretion. (check the contract)
  • Engine hours are around 200 to 250 per year
  • That toilets flush into a holding t ank
  • Has the boat got two anchors
  • Has the boat got a generator?
  • Broker or owner will provide skipper for sea trial
  • Lift all the saloon cushions, does it look dirty or damaged?
  • Open every locker, look inside properly. Looks for signs of water or damage.
  • Request the surveyor get oil samples for engine and sail drive, they can reveal serious problems not picked up by visual inspection. If no sail drive, oil sample not necessary for gearbox.
  • Ensure there is sufficient time for results of oil samples to be returned after survey. Either two weeks from survey or 1 week after receipt of survey report.
  • Can you get the oil surveys taken and sent off in the week week before the survey?

Things to remember

  1. The broker works for the seller, don’t believe a single word they say without evidence.
  2. Absolutely do not get rushed into any decision.
  3. Remind the surveyor he is working for you and that he should not discuss his findings with the broker (or anyone else) until he has spoken to you.