Buying anything as expensive as a boat can be stressful. If you are spending a large amount of money on something then you will want to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth. However, if you approach the situation with a level head and take your time over the key points of the purchase, then you should be able to enjoy shopping and buying a brand new vessel.
Here at BoatShop24.com, we know all about the stresses and strains that buying a boat can cause. So we have decided to write up a nice guide to help all of you avid boating enthusiasts make the purchase of your dreams with as little hassle as possible.
Remember, if at any point during the buying process you are unsure, just take a step back, reevaluate the situation and don’t sign on the dotted line until you are completely happy. So, here is our guide, hopefully after following this advice, your purchase can be as stress-free as possible...
Don’t rush into it
The first thing you should consider is the cost. It isn’t just the initial cost of the boat that you have to be able to afford, but all of the added payments that you, a boat owner, will be required to pay. You will have to find money to pay its insurance, its boat and trailer registration and all of its taxes. As well as these fees you will also be required to pay for fuel, and storage and or mooring. Not forgetting the essentials such equipment (including life jackets, fire extinguishers, dock lines and more), maintenance and a survey if necessary.
Once you have taken all of these added costs into account, you will then want to start thinking about what sort of boat you are after.
If you are looking to save money and aren’t too fussy about owning the latest model, then it is always wise to go boat shopping around the end of July. This is the period just before the new models come out, and it’s during this time period that dealers and brokers will be lowering their prices in order to clear out their old stock.
If you are struggling to decide which boat to go for then take your time. You can speak to brokers and dealers and you can also attend boat shows. Boat shows are great ways to compare a number of models and speak to real experts who may be able to guide you in making the right choice.
Choosing the right broker
You should take a look at the broker or dealer that you are considering buying your boat from. You will always want to ensure that the dealership you are using operates under a Code of Conduct that its members must adhere to. It would be good practice to use to use a member of the British Marine Federation (BMF) and ensure that the contract they are offering you is valid and recognisable. In fact, the BMF and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) www.rya.org.uk provide standardised contracts which you should use. You should also check to see if your desired dealership is associated with the Boat Retailers’ and Brokers’ Association and the Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents (ABYA) www.abya.co.uk.
Before you sign on the dotted line, you will want to take a look at the payment arrangements. You will need to place a deposit (usually 10% with a forward order) and when doing so you will want to ensure that your broker has a Client Account. This is a special, separate account where the broker will place your deposit as well as your balance payments. This account is not a part of your broker’s trading account as it is holding someone else’s money and your broker will only take their commission at completion.
You should check to see what, if any, stage payments are required and make sure that they suit your budget. It is also very important to find out exactly when the boat becomes yours. You will want to know this so you know exactly when you are responsible for mooring fees and insurance.
Make sure that you are 100% certain that you know exactly what you are getting for your money. Often when you see a boat advertised for sale, whether it be on the internet, in a magazine or at a boat show, it shows the base price. Add on bigger engines, canopies, leather seats, air con - and the price goes up, so you will want to ensure that you receive a formal quote before proceeding.
Make sure that you discuss delivery, your broker may be on the South Coast, but your mooring may lie in the South of France so you should always shop around for quotes and include this into your budget.
Do they have the documents?
Documentation is vitally important. There are a number of important documents that you will want to see copies of before you complete your new boat purchase. Ensure you receive original copies of the boat’s Hull/Craft Identification Number (HIN/CIN); Recreational Craft Directive (RCD); Builder’s Certificate; BIll of Sale; proof of VAT and its Owner’s Manual.
The HIN/CIN is a 14-digit code of letters and numbers which identifies the specific boat. It will contain the country code, manufacturer’s code, the serial number of the boat, the month of build, and the year of manufacture.
The RCD this is required by European law to prove that the build and safety of the boat can be evidenced by ISO standards or equivalent. The HIN requirement stemmed from the Recreational Craft Directive and this means you will often see that the boat is CE marked in the same way other products, such as toys, are. The manufacturer will have provided a CE Certificate and a list of the standards.
The Builder’s Certificate shows the details of the boat’s builder as well as the make and model of the boat and some other information. You will also want to collect a Bill of Sale, which is the legal title document and must be handed between each vendor and purchaser showing the history of the boat.
You should receive a full invoice showing the full amount you have paid as well as the amount of VAT you have paid and the VAT reference code of the seller. When you have paid for a brand new boat in installments then a completion invoice alone will suffice. As well as all of the above, you will also want the Owner’s Manual. These vary from boat to boat and they are important as the more information you have access to on your boat, the better.
You should also think about whether you require finance, what insurance you will be in need of and if you should register the vessel?
The Small Ships Register is the simplest option for registration for boats up to 24 metres, for private registration, and will form part of your essential boat buying process if finance is involved. This tells the boat’s nationality and will be required if the boat leaves UK waters. Your broker can help you with this.
For more information on buying a boat make contact with ABYA at www.abya.co.uk.