5 Questions you should always ask when buying a boat

Post by: Rob Paterson
03 September 2015

After your house buying a boat is likely to be the single biggest purchase you are likely to make. To avoid making a very expensive mistake make sure you’re well prepared and ask questions that can help you get the best deal possible and most importantly make a purchase that you are really happy with. 

What am I really going to be using this boat for?

Particularly if you’re a first time boat buyer its very easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a boat. Even for those who’ve owned a boat before it’s possible to lose sight of what you’re going to be using the boat for 90% of the time.

So before looking seriously at buying take some time to consider how you will be using your new boat – will you be a weekend sailor who needs something easy to learn with? Is this really just your boat or is this going to be a boat for the whole family to get involved with?

Although it seems almost too obvious, many people go into the process of buying a boat without a clear understanding of how they will spend time on their new purchase – even if its only for a few minutes, step back and think.

Can I really afford not to use a Marine Surveyor?

Unless you are making a very small purchase or perhaps buying a “project” then quite simply the answer is “No”.

Using the services of a qualified Yacht Surveyor at the very least gives you peace of mind and in the most extreme case might end up saving either your life or your life savings.

The detailed inspection of any boat you are looking to buy should reveal faults that the average boat buyer would never discover on their own. A good surveyor will have a broad knowledge of most boat models and will be aware of potential problems with them.

It’s also likely that insurance and finance for your boat is likely to be dependent on a marine survey. 

Here’s a selection of Yacht Surveyors http://www.theyachtmarket.com/services/marine-surveyors/

Why is the boat being sold?

Hopefully you’ve taken our advice above and employed a good surveyor but even if you have there’s no harm in asking a question that might reveal a lot about your prospective purchase. Be wary if the seller is evasive or if their answers seem too practiced.

It’s also useful to know the position the seller is in, if they need to sell before they can buy their next boat then that piece of information can be very useful in terms of negotiating a better deal.

How has the boat been used previously?

Whilst this question on its own can only tell you so much it can open the conversation to ask how the boat has been stored, whether it has ever been involved in any accidents, how often and where it has been serviced, whether its spent a long time in salt water, whether the previous owner was an experienced or novice sailor. The answers to all these questions may reveal issues and again could help in negotiating a better price.

Am I getting a good deal?

A little bit of research when you are buying a boat goes a long way. The boat marketplaces that exist online are not only a tool for finding a boat to buy they’re also a tool for comparing price.

You can use the advanced search option on TheYachtMarket.com as a price comparison tool. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by making the search detailed enough to return results that are near identical to boat you’re looking to buy. Take time to read the descriptions to ensure all the extras are the same.

It also makes sense to make more than one enquiry, unless you’re looking for something very bespoke with so many boats for sale around the globe you are likely to find more than one option to buy.

Finally don’t be afraid to negotiate, if you asked the questions above you should be in a stronger position and there’s never any harm in asking.

Author - Rob Paterson