Buying a Boat
You’ve made the decision to leap into boat ownership – exciting times but where are the best places to find the boat of your dreams? If you’re not sure what you’re looking for the options can be overwhelming. Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for it can still take some time to find the perfect boat. Having bought and sold a few boats we’re going to share a few of our experiences here. This post is aimed at the fun side of searching for your boat initially. After that you need to check the boat out and advice can be sought from the RYA with their RYA Buying a Boat Advice. If you’re not a RYA member you’ll need to join to access much of the information –RYA Membership
What to buy?
The first question is what sort of boat are you looking for? Ask yourself a few questions to help narrow down the search:
- Who are you planning to boat with? How big does the boat need to be to accommodate this and still be manageable? What facilities need to be on board for your differing crew requirements? Do you need shelter, does it need a toilet? Do you need overnight accommodation?
- Where are you planning to boat and what conditions are you likely to be boating in? Boats have many different types of hull shapes designed for differing conditions. Some boats may be designed for flat and inland waters. Others are designed with seakeeping capabilities in mind.
- How much experience do you have? If you trained on a 4m RIB & then buy a 29ft motor cruiser, you might require some additional training?
- How long are you expecting to keep the boat for – are you buying a lifelong boat or are you happy to change again in a few years as your boating develops?
- Where are you planning to keep your boat? Are you planning to launch and recover it on a trailer each time or keep it on a drystack facility. These choices may limit the size of the boat you purchase.
- Perhaps the biggest question of all — what does your budget allow for!
Where to find information on different types of boats:
There are many owner associations for different boats and these are a fantastic source of information. For very new boats the association may be run by the manufacturer but often class associations are run by enthusiasts who want to share information. These groups can provide information on where is the nearest owner who will talk to me about the genuine pros and cons of a boat. Alternatively, advice of little tweaks people have made to enjoy their boat more or ideas on where to launch your boat. For some reason (and don’t ask me why!) my experience is that the associations for sailing boats often have dedicated websites whilst powerboats and motor boats are often on social media such as Facebook.
We have gained really useful information in relation to our sailing yacht which is no longer in production. The advice means for example we now have a way of lowering the mast single handedly. With our RIBs we have sourced parts that were seemingly unavailable. Rather than reinventing the wheel there is usually someone out there happy to advise. As well as bespoke groups there are also many forums and Facebook groups dedicated to types of boats such as RIBs or types of boating such as fishing.
- F-ribsandsibs.com is a fabulous source of information for people just starting to get afloat in smaller inflatable boats with owners happy to advice on their boat setups,
- Facebook – RHIBs Group great source of information for those using RIBs
- Faecbook – Ribcraft Owners great example of a boat specific group
- Facebook – Small Boat Coastal Fishing Group example of a group dedicated to a particular type of boating eg fishing but others for diving and similar
- Moody Owners – sailing yacht owners association
And finally where to start the search?
If you’ve decided on the type of boat you’re looking for, do look around a few and get an idea of what is available on the market. If you’re after a particular brand of boat then start putting wanted ads out on owners association websites. Talk to brokers and tell them what you are looking for. We boat owners are a funny lot not liking to sell our boat until we find the right buyer! If you look keen then its amazing what boats you’ll find that aren’t openly advertised.
There are lots of brokers out there but why not talk to our friends at Network Yacht Brokers – Poole as a starting point? Similarly put messages out on Facebook groups that are aimed at boaters like the one you wish to become, people are keen to share their knowledge and welcome others onto the water so will be keen to help you look and again boats will materialise that haven’t been advertised.
We strongly advocate this approach, I think all our boats have been bought through contacts in this way. The first RIB we bought via a contact on the RHIBs Facebook page who knew I was looking. He mentioned one he’d heard of & she’s been a fab purchase. The second RIB came about after telling Nigel and Lucy at Network Yacht Brokers that we were looking for a specific boat. Within a month they’d found us one which is now our main training boat. Our sailing yacht was found via the owners association website as we knew what we were looking for. My sailing dinghies have all come via links from friends on social media. It really is important to spread the word that you’re looking and be patient to see what turns up.
Hopefully that has given you an idea of how and where to start the search. If you’re looking for something specific feel free to let us know. We often hear of boat owners looking to upsize but who haven’t yet placed their boat on the market. Don’t forget to make sure you carry out proper checks as explained on the RYA site before the final purchase. Do think about employing a surveyor and/or marine engineer if appropriate.
Now go have fun in the search for the perfect boats- don’t forget to let us know how you’re getting on. When you find it call us to arrange some bespoke training so you get the most from your boating. Thanks for reading and keep us updated!