Choosing a boat: New or used?
Deciding whether to buy a new or used boat is dependent upon your budget and personal needs, but there are other factors to take into account too.
Buying a new boat
A major benefit of buying a new boat is that you can choose the exact specification – layout, interior décor, colour, technology - to suit you. You’ll enjoy the very latest navigation and communication systems and get value for money as a new boat is likely to be more economical with fuel than an older model.
You have the benefit of the warranty protection that comes with new purchases, and have the peace of mind that you can return to the dealer or boatyard in the future for advice, training and assistance with boat maintenance. Also, if you choose to stick with the same brand and upgrade your boat next time, you'll probably be offered a very advantageous part-exchange price on your existing model.
The negatives of buying new are that your boat will depreciate significantly in the first few years' of ownership. So if your plan is to change or upgrade your boat within 2 to 4 years, you can expect to bear the brunt of your boat's depreciation.
Generally, unlike cars, boats are not assembled by computer-driven robots and with all the benefits of precision and reliability that comes with it. New boats will have faults inadvertently built in to them, either during the assembly process or in the supply of the components that are fitted to your boat. Times do change though and this advice is only offered as a warning rather than assuming all new boats carry faults.
Saying this, when you buy a new boat you may expect to use that warranty! But the upside is that once these initial fixes are carried out, it'll all settle down and you'll have the added confidence of knowing just what good shape your boat is now in and how to look after it in the future.
Buying a used boat
With a used boat the options to customize disappear, but you can get real value – more boat for your money.
Buy a model that's 5 years old and you could be paying half the price of a new one. Even if you buy a boat that's a year old, you could expect to pay up to 20-25% less than the new price. And, provided that the boat has been used by its previous owner, all the early fixes required from when the boat was new, will have been identified and carried out by the time you make the purchase.
So you’ll probably have to make some compromise on the specification of the boat that suits you best, even if it's just that the colour isn't your absolute favourite. You'll never know the full history of the boat, so you'll have to satisfy yourself that the boat you're buying is great value, is also in good condition and has been well maintained. Also you might receive a limited warranty from a Dealer or Broker that you buy from, but you'll certainly not receive a warranty from a private seller.
And unless you're lucky or you don't make a point of asking, you won't get the backup, advice and assistance during your period of ownership. This may not be a problem to you, especially if you're an experienced boater or a very practical DIY type. But if you feel you aren’t adept at the practicalities of boat care, its best to have the boat checked by a surveyor to satisfy yourself that it’s in good condition and has been well maintained by the previous owner.
Boat Retailers and Brokers Association
If you want to carry out more research about the boat buying process, it’s worth having a look at The Boat Retailers and Brokers Association (BRBA) website. This organization represents all companies and individuals involved in the sale of new and second-hand boats.
Members of the BRBA, which includes over 200 marine businesses, include boat brokers and retailers, all of whom must adhere to the BRBA Code of Practice.
The code was enforced to heighten consumer confidence by providing a set of comprehensive regulations for brokers and retailers.