Become a Savvy Boat Buyer

TheYachtMarket Launches #HowToBuyaBoat Campaign

Top Tips: Become a savvy boat buyer

90 per cent of first time boat buyers buy pre-owned boats, and many of these first-time buyers will buy through an online marketplace due to ease and convenience of researching online.

However, buying a boat can have its challenges and often buyers face uncertainty when knowing what to look for. provides tips for boat buyers through its new campaign #HowToBuyaBoat.

  • Know your needs – identify exactly what you will be using your boat for and seek advice on what boat might suit your needs, don’t buy bigger than you need to.

  • Survey – as a first-time buyer, you may be able to have a cursory look over a boat and see if it is clean and well-kept with no obvious damage. However, a surveyor is an expert who will be able to identify any issues that the craft may have or potentially have.  You can find qualified, experienced, professional surveyors on the Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association website:

  • Sea trial – you wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive so why not take your boat for a ‘test drive’ and make sure you’re happy with how she performs.

  • Know the arrangements for completion – knowing precisely when you will exchange the balance of monies for keys and title documentation and when exactly you will take responsibility for the boat and its associated fees.

  • Get registered - Your broker/dealer may arrange for transfer of the registration to your name, but you need to check this, and the broker can advise you if the boat is not registered at all.

  • Does the Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) affect you? - Is there evidence of RCD compliance at build/entry to the EU? Recreational boats under 24m built after June 1998 should have a CE plate and a 14-digit Hull Identification Number (HIN) or Craft Identification Number (CIN). Boats built before June 1998 are exempt.

  • Know where you stand on VAT and duty - Get proper evidence on VAT status and ask your broker whether the price include or excludes it. On completion of your purchase, you should receive the original or copy VAT invoice.

Click the button below to download the full guide in PDF format.

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