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Boat Buying

3: Finance and surveys

Although many lower-value boats are funded by cash standard high street loans, it’s worth investigating marine mortgages for vessels of a higher value. These are loans secured on the boat and tend to offer more flexibility than standard ‘high street’ packages. In addition, marine finance companies will help to smooth the process for boat buyers as they have just as much interest in checking clean title, valuation and tax status as the purchaser.

Most marine mortgages are over a 10-year period, although five and 15-year terms are also available, and there are few, if any, penalties for early repayment of the loan.

Once you’ve decided on a short list of type or class of boat to look for, if buying second-hand research any typical faults found on second-hand boats — the class association website is a good place to start. Doing this before you even start viewing boats will enable you to distinguish a sound boat from one that needs work more easily.

Try to systematically investigate the condition of any boats you look at. Start by checking the cosmetic condition of hull and deck, including gel coat, paint or other coating. Also look for evidence of structural damage such as impact damage, or significant cracks in high stress areas, including chainplates, deck fittings, the hull-deck joint and so on. It’s worth taking along someone who knows a lot more about boats than you if you’re inexperienced.

A trial sail will tell you whether the running rigging and deck gear works well — make sure you test them all out — as well as enabling you to make a good assessment of the condition of the sails.

In the case of larger boats a survey is also essential. This applies equally to both new and second-hand yachts — on a new boat it will give you peace of mind and ensure everything is how it should be at handover. For older yachts, especially those over 20 years old, it can be difficult to get comprehensive insurance without a recent survey.


Previous page:2 How much to budget

Most boat owners underestimate the total costs involved, some by a considerable margin

Next page:4 Shared ownership

Anyone who goes down this route should make certain they do so on a formal basis

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