Buying a Boat – A Comprehensive Guide
Everything you need to know before you buy a boat
Buying a boat is often a big commitment and significant investment, so careful preparation and planning are key to a smooth buying experience. This is especially so when buying a boat for the first time.
From appointing a boat broker and planning your finance options to advice on how to pick the right boat, making an offer and preparing for hassle-free boat ownership, this is our comprehensive guide to buying a boat.
Our trained and experienced yacht brokers are also here to help you through the process and answer any extra questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to contact your local Ancasta Office to discuss your requirements.
Use a Professional Yacht Broker
We highly recommend buying a boat through a professionally accredited yacht broker. Certified yacht boat agents will take time to understand all of your needs and wants and will run a customised search to find the best boat to match your requirements.
Benefits of Using a Professional Yacht Broker:
Custom Yacht Search
A professional yacht broker will work to find the best vessel for you. They have access to vast databases of yachts for sale and may know of boats due to be listed in the near future.
Advice on Price and Negotiation
Yacht Brokers are up to date with market movements and recent sale prices, so they can help you determine whether a yacht is good value and what kind of offers may be considered by the vendor.
Handle All Paperwork
Yacht brokers handle all of the paperwork that comes with buying a boat. They will check that the boat has a clean and unencumbered title and acquire VAT records where appropriate.
Arrange Finance Options
If you wish to explore finance options to help with the purchase of a boat, yacht brokers can help. They will present all of the options and help you decide on the best plan for your personal circumstances.
Act as an Intermediary
A yacht broker will act as an intermediary to keep the negotiations between you and the seller moving towards a successful conclusion.
A professional broker will use a client account to hold your funds during the transaction, ensuring that any existing loans or other encumbrances are settled on completion of the purchase. This safeguards both yourself and the vendor.
Set Your Budget and Plan Finance
Once you know what kind of boat you want to buy, you’ll need to set a budget. We are often asked how much it costs to buy a boat, but with so many options on the market, it will depend on what you are looking for.
Our professional yacht brokers can advise on what kind of budget you need to buy the boat you want. You can also use Ancasta’s Online Boat Search to get an idea of the quality of boat you can expect to get for your budget.
Buying a boat is a significant investment, so you may wish to consider various finance options to help manage the purchase and spread the payments. From borrowing money for part of the cost, or part exchanging your existing yacht, to investing in a charter scheme, there are many different plans to choose from.
The Ancasta Purchase Plan offers you flexible marine mortgages from experienced marine finance specialists with the reassurance of dealing with a lender of stature.
See how much you could borrow with our Marine Finance Calculator >
If you already own a boat, you might want to trade it in as a part-exchange arrangement. Here at Ancasta, we can purchase your yacht and put those funds towards the cost of your new boat, removing the hassle of having to sell before you buy. This can be especially helpful when a boat is in high demand, and a seller wants to exchange quickly.
Ancasta works with Navigare Yachting to offer several yacht charter investment programmes. This involves buying a new or used yacht that Navigare Yachting then charts out. Depending on your chosen program, you will receive an income from the yacht charter, or the proceeds will pay off any outstanding balance on the yacht’s value.
Make an Offer
When you find a boat that you would like to buy, consult with your yacht broker to come up with a suitable offer. Vendors are sometimes open to negotiating the price, but there’s a delicate balance between agreeing on a fair price and causing offence to the current owner. An experienced yacht agent will be able to help and advise on what a yacht is truly worth and what they think the vendor will be willing to accept.
Organise Boat Insurance
Insuring your new boat is an essential part of boat ownership. As well as insuring your boat for loss and accidental damage, you may also need legal liabilities cover for guests and crew, and emergency medical cover. Furthermore, a more comprehensive policy will be required for commercial vessels.
Ancasta can put you in contact with several Marine Insurance companies to help you find the best policy for your needs.
Prepare Paperwork and Pay the Deposit
Once you have an offer accepted, the boat buying transaction process begins. You’ll usually be asked to pay a 10% deposit into your broker’s Client Account. Then, your broker will ask for copies of all the original ownership paperwork to check that everything is in order.
If satisfied that everything is as it should be, you’ll be asked to pay the remaining purchase funds into your broker’s Client Account, ready for the final exchange. Upon completion, the previous owner will hand over all of the original paperwork going back at least five years.
Get a Marine Survey
When you make an offer on a used boat, we advise making it subject-to-survey and ensuring you have that survey carried out by a professional who is a member of the Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association (YDSA). A boat survey can highlight possible issues that may occur in the future and ensure peace of mind that the vessel is as the seller says it is.
Reasons to get a marine survey:
- Uncover any structural defects that may cause issues in the future
- Help establish the true value of a boat
- Ensure that a new-build boat is finished to the best standards possible
- Pre-delivery inspection and snagging lists for a new-build boat
- Provide an unbiased view of the condition of the boat
- Provide documentation for insurers, finance providers and commercial licenses
Organise Boat Maintenance
All boats require ongoing care and maintenance, so it’s worth considering this ahead of your purchase.
Regular jobs may include washing the decks and topsides, cleaning the interior, emptying bilges of rainwater, checking mooring lines, rigging checks, winch servicing, bilge pump servicing, seacocks checks, engine checks, battery charging, sail repairs, and more.
There will also be seasonal tasks to carry out, such as engine servicing, heads servicing, mast and standing rigging checks, through-hull fittings checks, keel checks, hull polishing, teak deck cleaning, anode replacement, antifouling and more. Refer to the Ancasta Yacht Services Boat Maintenance Checklist for a more comprehensive guide.
You may choose to look after your boat yourself, or many owners will enlist professional assistance to keep on top of everything. Our sister company, Ancasta Yacht Services, has a professional yacht care team who will ensure your boat performs at its best, giving you more time to enjoy time on the water.
New Boat Commissioning
When purchasing a new boat, you may have the opportunity to customise the final specifications. This could include things like the colour of the topsides, electronic systems, furniture veneers, upholstery fabrics, appliances, covers, passerelles, bow thrusters, and much more.
If you buy a new boat from Ancasta, we have a dedicated commissioning team to guide you through the process of specifying a boat to your exact requirements. We will also project manage the fit-out, as required, including ordering parts, booking specialist technicians and quality checks.
Plan Refits and Upgrades
If you are buying a used boat that needs a refit, or want to upgrade some of the systems, you may wish to plan this ahead of completion so the works can start immediately.
Most common yacht refit and repair projects:
- Teak deck restoration or replacement
- New boat covers
- New hatches or portlights
- Interior layout modifications
- Gelcoat repairs
- Topside painting
- Installation of bow and stern thrusters
- New davits, gangways and passerelles
- New engine and servicing
- Electronics upgrades
- Watermaker installation
- Underwater lighting installation
- Skin fitting replacement
- Air conditioning installation
You may wish to carry out some of these jobs yourself, but if you’re unsure, it’s worth hiring a professional yacht services company to complete the tasks and provide a warranty.