Boats in a Marina

The Boat Buying Process

The Boat Buying Process

This guide gives you a quick overview of the Boat Buying Process - for a more detailed information, see the guide to buying guide to new boats and used boats.

Which Boat?

Decide what you want your boat for before you start looking. Cruising/racing? Do you have a young family? Crossing the Solent or crossing the Atlantic? Read our key questions.

Set a Budget

Establish what your budget is - be realistic and don't forget additional costs such as mooring and marina fees, fuel, slipping fees, winter storage fees, life jackets.


Take your time. Collect information before viewing - Talk to several brokers, private sellers, people at sailing clubs, friends who sail, etc about the types of boats you are considering. Read reviews from boating and watersport magazines and view online boating forums.

Arrange Viewings

Contact the vendor (boat dealer/broker or private seller) to arrange a viewing. Take someone along who knows a little a bit about boating or take along our list.

The Contract

If purchasing through a broker, they will provide a contract (Sale & Purchase Agreement), which must be signed by both parties - this is a legally binding document.

The Deposit

You will need to leave a deposit (usually 10%).

The Survey

Arrange a survey with a registered yacht surveyor. The survey will detail the current condition of the boat and is required to arrange the boat’s insurance.

The Survey Report

Read the survey report carefully - you may consider withdrawing under the terms of the contract, revising the price to complete the sale, or request that the vendor provides a repair or piece of equipment.


If you require finance, make sure that you allow enough time to contact a finance house - the money needs to be available when you reach completion stage. Click here to find out how to finance your new boat

Sea Trial

If you want to test the boat on the water, you need to advise the broker early so they have enough time to set this up. You will be responsible for any slipway lifting or skipper's fees.

Final Checks

Check that the inventory is complete and the broker has received the title documentation including the VAT documentation. This will save any problems later.


Allow enough time to set up the electronic transfer to the Broker's Client Account. Once the funds have cleared, completion can take place. The broker will give you the documentation, including the Bill of Sale transferring title from the vendor to you, and the keys to the boat.


Don't forget to insure the boat before you take possession (You will need a survey for this, so don't be tempted to skip the pre-purchase survey).

For advice on insuring your boat, contact the Insurance, Financial & Legal Services Association (IFLSA). IFLSA is an association of British Marine, representing members from the insurance, financial and legal fields of the marine industry.


If you haven't sailed or driven a boat before, we strongly recommend that you get some training before heading off. It is essential you know the 'Rules of the Road' and have adequate safety equipment.

Click here for a list of training providers. All these companies are members of British Marine Leisure Boating. This is an association of British Marine, representing members from the training, charter and holiday sectors of the boating industry.

To see more detailed information on buying a boat click on one of the links below:

New Boat

Used Boat

British Marine Boat Retailers & Brokers represents all companies and individuals involved in the sale of new and second-hand craft.

Members of the association, which includes over 200 marine businesses, include boat brokers and retailers, all of whom must adhere to the British Marine Boat Retailers & Brokers Code of Practice.

The code was enforced to heighten consumer confidence by providing a set of comprehensive regulations for brokers and retailers.

If you have any questions, please email us

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