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Surveys & Inspections

of GRP, Wood, Steel and Aluminium Vessels

Surveys and Inspections of GRP, Wood, Steel and Aluminium Vessels

Surveys & Inspections

of GRP, Wood, Steel and Aluminium Vessels

Surveys and Inspections of GRP, Wood, Steel and Aluminium Vessels

Buying a used boat

Marine Surveys can reveal serious defects

When you find a boat you like, do not be tempted to make an impulsive offer, take time to look around for other suitable boats. Do not offer the asking price unless you are satisfied that the boat is worth that amount, the vendor will expect to be offered a lower price and will either accept or reject your offer. It is usual for the buyer to place a deposit pending survey and completion of the purchase.

Try not to base your decision to buy solely on a boat being conveniently local to your area. You will have a greater chance of finding the boat that is right for you at the right price if you cast your net wider. If you are concerned about moving the boat to where you want it , there are professional boat transport companies that will organise it all for you.

If the Marine Survey reveals serious defects or omissions that have not been declared by the vendor the offer to purchase can be withdrawn or the purchase price re-negotiated. Alternatively, the vendor may agree to have the necessary rectification work carried out at his own expense.

It is important to remember that boats bought through a broker are normally still private sales with the broker acting as an agent of the vendor. Reputable brokers will however ensure to their satisfaction that the vendor has proper title to the boat and that the necessary documentation is in place, they will also be able to provide a list of local Marine Surveyors.

Note it is normally the buyers responsibility to pay for any necessary lifting out or dry docking for survey, hoist operators usually have a reduced rate for “lift and hold” where the boat is lifted out for a short time and surveyed whilst in the slings.

It is important to ascertain that the vendor has the legal right to sell the craft. This can be evidenced by seeing previous bills of sale or other documents indicating that the seller has owned the boat for a number of years and also make sure when you buy that you obtain a receipt or Bill of Sale for the boat.

If the boat is subject to a hire purchase agreement, it belongs to the finance company and they must give permission for the owner to sell it.

Confirm with the seller the inventory of equipment and gear that will be included in the sale.

Make every effort to have a trial run in the boat before you decide to buy.

Boats that are used on inland waterways in the UK are required to have a Boat Safety Certificate, this is renewed at 4 yearly intervals.

Since June 1998 it has been a legal requirement that all recreational craft between 2.5m and 24m, with very few exceptions, built or imported into the EU comply with the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD). This includes older boats brought into the EU privately.

Some craft may be registered as a British ship on the official register. Smaller boats are frequently registered on the Small Ships Register and will display a number preceded by the letters "SSR"..

If a boat is to be taken into another EU country it will be necessary to have evidence that VAT has been paid on the boat unless it was built before 31 December 1984. Customs and Excise will give advice in such cases. New boats will be subject to VAT and it is important to retain the VAT Receipt as evidence that the tax has been paid.

The RYA. (Royal Yachting Association) produces useful booklets on buying both new and second hand yachts and when you have bought your boat the RNLI. can organise a free SEA (Safety Equipment Advisory) Check to advise on the safety equipment suitable for your boat and its intended use. Both these organisations can be contacted via our links page.

Buying a new boat »