Buying a Boat

Buying a boat is possibly one of the largest financial outlays you are ever likely to make, so it’s important that you understand the legal aspects of any purchase.

Most boat sales, whether new or second hand, go through without any problems, however it’s wise to make a few basic checks before parting with your money.


Buying a Second Hand Boat


  1. Are you buying from a reputable dealer? 

  2. Is the dealer a member of the British Marine Federation (BMF)? 

  3. Is your offer ‘subject to survey’ and a sea trial if required? 

  4. Is the dealer using a BMF / RYA approved contract? 

  5. Have you agreed a deposit (usually up to 10% of purchase price)? 

  6. Has the dealer provided ownership documents:–CE Certificate if the boat was built after 1998V AT invoice (if applicable) Registration certificate Bill of Sale 

  7. Does the dealer guarantee clear title ownership and, if so, how? 

  8. Have you employed the services of a qualified marine surveyor to confirm that the boat and its engine / equipment are sound and seaworthy? 

  9. Have you seen and agreed all the equipment included in the sale? 

  10. Will you arrange insurance prior to completion? 

  11. Is the boat mortgaged? (If Part I Registered check with the Registrar in Cardiff; if Part III or unregistered seek advice from the dealer, finance company or RYA Legal Department. 

  12. If mortgaged, how will the debt be paid off prior to completion?


In addition to the actual cost of purchasing your boat, don’t forget to take into account the following extra expenditure associated with running it.


  1. Insurance 

  2. Boat and trailer registration 

  3. Taxes 

  4. Fuel 

  5. Docking and mooring fees 

  6. Storage 

  7. Equipment such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, flares, marine radio, anchor and dock lines 

  8. Maintenance 

  9. Trailer 

  10. Survey